Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 160, December 2018 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Here's My Woodcarving!
By Gina French

I am a pediatrician and most of my hours are spent on that. My first job as a pediatrician was working for the Indian Health Service. As a result I wound up in northern Minnesota in the very small town of Bemidji in the late 80's. There wasn't a lot to do in my limited down time, so I decided to learn some woodworking. I give most of my carvings away to people, most of them have some story attached.

Woodworking in general has been a good place for me to destress from my day job where I am responsible for people's most precious children. I always know that the worst that will happen in the shop is that I will waste some wood or a present won't get finished in time.

I took a class and made a little loon
as one of my first projects.

My mother was collecting owls at the time I started woodcarving, so I decided to make her a snowy owl. I used to carry it back and forth to the hospital when I was on call and work on it in the call room. I told everyone I was working on a duck until it was done.

My sister wanted a heron to put in her living room next to a potted tree. So she got one.

I went through a bit of a santa claus phase. One year I made about 20 of them for all the staff in the pediatric clinic at Columbus Children's Hospital. They were of the style of the two little guys you see below. I started the bigger santa a long time ago and I finally finished it for my mother last year. I thought she might like to see an Hispanic santa for a change. She seemed to like it.

Larger Loon

I made a trout for my father-in-law who was an avid fisherman. This was my first attempt to actually put something in a mounting.

On New Year's Eve before 1998 began, my sister, a police officer was seriously wounded. I was snowed in in Columbus and couldn't get to her for several days and I started working on this relief carving of the Virgin Mary for her while saying rosaries all the time while I was doing it. It was in the old days so when I was finally able to fly out I was still carving it on the plane all the way across the country. It diverted my brain from the constant worry. I finished it as I arrived. I had never done a relief carving before.

I've also carved a few functional spoons and am currently working on a Buddha for a friend. I've learned all of my carving techniques from books after I carved that first little loon.

Gina can be reached directly via email at ginafrench@me.com.

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