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Saturday, January 30, 2010

WAYNE'S FOLK CARVINGS

SELF PORTRAIT

"The animals are inside the wood -- I go in and find them and bring them out.” Folk artist Wayne Wolfinger was holding a large section of a cutoff tree limb as he spoke these words. Wayne carves with a chain-saw releasing from the wood full-bodied folksy animals. He also, for the past twenty years, has designed folk metal pieces but his true calling is his wood pieces. He began this interlude with wood when he retired from the auto industry in Lansing, Michigan.

PART OF WAYNE'S GALLERY OF CARVINGS

Now 74 years of age, Wayne has created a gallery of animals around his home. His spark came when he viewed a chainsaw carving at an art show. That influential carving has resulted in a yard full of exuberant animals roaming across and through his vegetable and flower gardens. He has absolutely no desire to sell his work. He has feelings wrapped up in each piece and would not part with any of them. He has plenty of wood available from tree stumps on his large urban yard. To Wayne, the stumps are just the thing to turn into a standing bear, turtle or other folk art animal.

PENGUIN

Perhaps his love of nature also influenced his work when he started ten years ago. He creates his animals in an outdoor area behind his home. Wayne succinctly says "the wood directs what is to be made - then look for a photo of an animal to fit it - sketch it on paper and start to work". So with walnut, cypress, ash, and maple Wayne has taken his chainsaw and released characters to play in his yard.

Wayne and his wife lived winters in Florida for a while when he retired. While there he brought home cypress to carve. Some of his animals are therefore Floridians at heart.

TURTLE CARVED AS ONE WHOLE PIECE FROM A STUMP

Wayne spoke gently as we rounded his yard filled with various types of gardens. There was obvious delight in his voice as he told me about what he had created here. "The first one I did was the hoot owl on top of the grape arbor,” and, “it turned out so good that I couldn't quit." He explained that once he started making the animals "he just couldn't stop". He paints them with spray paint or any paint he has laying about -- ever so often he repaints them as they weather.


WAYNE'S WATCH DOG

Wayne is right when he says he can't quit carving. He is now preparing for his next project. Wayne pointed out a tree stump about five feet high. With it he is planning to carve the upper part into a goshawk. And, of course, after that project he is already thinking about the next -- a nice totem for another tall stump on his property.


BEAVER FROM A STUMP

BEAR FROM A TALL STUMP




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