Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 167, July 2019 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 Robert Paul
Lake, MI

I've had an interest in art since I was a small boy, but being in a family of 5 boys (my mother raised us, my father died when I was 11), we barely got by, so affording any extras, like carving or art, were out of the question.

I got my first chance at carving when I was in my 40's and am now a 71 year old woodcarver who has been carving for 30 odd years. I first took an interest in woodcarving after viewing the beautiful work of German master carver, George Kilhoffer in Frankenmuth, Michigan. I was extremely fortunate to be able to train under George prior to his passing. He will be missed by all and the world of carving will miss out on a truly great artist and master carver.

When I started carving I already had a family and had started a new heating and cooling business, so I had very little time to pursue my craft as my time was entirely directed toward my wife, children and a growing business. I was finally able to get back to my love for carving when the children and business grew enough to afford me some time to myself (here I have to thank my wife for her patience with me). I spent many hours in my shop (my second hobby is woodworking) both carving and building furniture.

My style, I guess you would have to say, is as varied as my choices of subjects, but I would have to admit my favorite are the works of Grinling Gibbons. I am partial to deep relief carvings with total or partial separations of undercutting, almost to a fault. The oak leaf and acorn cluster shown below was inspired by another fabulous carver, David Esterly. I can only hope to aspire to be half the carver of this master.

I have a passion for carving and would love to see young people take an interest in what appears to be a dying art. I try to inspire new artists, no matter what age, to pursue honing their talents. This is an art that knows no age boundaries, no gender boundaries and is only limited by one's determination. There is so much talent out there that is just waiting to be explored and discovered. I've introduced carving to several individuals whom I've had the pleasure of knowing and with a little instruction each has realized he has talent he didn't know he had. Which brings the invitation to everyone who has ever had any interest in wood carving: join us, try it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Robert can be reached directly via email at bnpaul1@frontier.com.

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