|This is where the carving really began. I was making wooden trucks, trains, and planes for all the kids in our family, and I wanted to smooth the edges. I had an old electric drill with a sanding disc attachment, and was trying to wield that thing with one hand while holding the pieces of toy with the other. I realized if I tied the sander down, I could have more control and less bleeding. So I was merrily smoothing the rough edges of a wood block up against the mounted disc, when the piece slipped and gouged. I suddenly saw an animate figure in the wood, chased it and found a calling.
Most of the images below are of carvings from the first few years. I sold hundreds of little critters on the street corner, but every once in a while we'd capture one and put it in the toy bag. When the bag got full, whenever we wanted to keep one, we'd have to choose which old creature to part with. By the 1980's I found it harder and harder to conjure these simple essences. Something about seeing too much detail, or knowing too much about anatomy. Now it's a major undertaking to find an animal in a handful of wood. Back then I could bring to life a dozen a day.