Monday, October 8, 2012

"Wonderful Wooden Waterfowl"...

Just a sample of the wooden carvings!

My mom is a 88 year old going on 8 and she loves being around people especially those folks that are involved in all kinds activities like art and sports. She loves baseball, she likes "Psycho Killer" and "Born in the USA" and she loved to dance. Unfortunately, her main partner passed away years ago.

She also likes birds. She will sit for hours color commentating on the daily actions at all my feeders especially the hummingbird feeder since it is so close to the breakfast nook window. It only seemed natural to get her out of the house and bring her to the Louisiana Wildfowl Carvers and Collectors Guild Show at the Castine Center in Mandeville, LA last Sunday.
With a coupon from the newspaper, we only had to pay two dollars a person to enter and the incredible and varied art that was displayed there was well with that price of admission. The vivacious and witty Mamere stopped and talked to all the artisans there as she "oooh-ed and ahhh-ed" her way from one display to another, teeter-tottering her way through the tables. Displayed were hundreds of actual decoys complete with tethered line and a lead anchor at the bottom. They were quite utilitarian in function and sparsely painted to resembled certain duck species native to the bayou. There were also others that also seemed functional as decoys but were quite detailed in their rendering of a specific species.

Mom stopped to "interview" an elder wood carver whose approach seemed really old school. He used a standard box cutter to do most of his carving from the tupelo gum blocks he had surrounding his station. When I asked him about its use, he said that he never could get his carving knives sharp enough to make the cuts he needed to make and a box cutter could have the blades easily replaced. Mom noticing the mess he was creating with all the wood shavings asked, "Do you have to clean all this up yourself?"

Looking up momentarily, he responded rather tersely, "Only at home!"

As she continued conversing with the man, I was sure it wouldn't take long before she had him trading carving secrets that he probably wouldn't divulge to anyone else. I slipped away quietly to check out some of the other displays secretly hoping that mom wouldn't accidentally knock over half a table of decoys. Upon my return, ten minutes later, they both were yucking it up pretty good and I was please to note that were no damaged decoys or destroyed tables.

We spent almost two hours cruising the auditorium amazed at all of the incredible works many of which were carved as dioramas. Here are a few samples:

There was also an auction on this day, but we came too late to experience that.

It's just as well... with these beauties, I might have been tempted to actively participate, ha!

Copyright 2012-13/ Ben Bensen III

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