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Here's My Woodcarving!

by Wilson Lee, Jr.
Nashville, TN

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

My work represents comments on the world in which I live. As an artist, my duty is to capture the world as it affects me. The works I create are inspirations that penetrate the consciousness so much that they are manifested in art. I try to express these feelings through the ancient art of woodcarving.


Spirits Soaring

I was told that my first steps as a child were toward a bowl of shellac in my father's woodworking shop. I grew up helping the family in refinishing and repairing antique furniture. A knowledge of woods such as oak, cedar, walnut, mahogany and other hardwoods was part of my childhood. Stripping a Duncan Phyfe dining room set, and giving it a satin sheen finish was my introduction to wood. At an early age, my creative sense combined with this knowledge of refinishing furniture lead me to woodcarving. I have always been sensitive to my surroundings. Woodcarving allows me to capture and express thought on a given subject. I am more interested in capturing artistic expression than in managing technique. My works are all carved by using a flat blade chisel, mallet, and a notion or thought in mind. The work results in the beauty of giving a second life to the wood.


Gumbo People

The goal of my work is to capture the naked reality, circumstance, and experience, for the purpose of documentation. As an artist I want to leave a record to represent my individual perception of "Now". The themes in the carvings run the gamut from religion and social justice, to blues, patriotism, and humanity. Such titles as Mississippi Blues , He Heard My Cry , Tree of Eternal Life , Brothers of the Square , and Gumbo People represent commentaries. I am moved by the political system, and how it touches the masses.

Every work has meaning. The wood speaks to me. The wood has lived. What are the stories that the trees tell? When in sync with the wood, it is my responsibility to bring those stories to life. Carving is a dance between the wood and me. It is as if we know each other.  Underlying the abstract is a conceptual message that is often religious and justice conscious.

Tree of Eternal Life

Kappa is the Key

He Heard Me Cry

Mississippi Blues

Brothers of the Square

You can email Wilson at .

You can also visit his website at .

Would you like to see your carvings in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodcarving projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodcarving. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your carving work in a future issue!

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