A Bit of Folk Art: Wood Sculpture

Charles E. Page, March 2006, Madison County, New York

These pages are to introduce you to a collection of woodcarvings and sculptures. All the wood sculptures are the output of one man, (myself), mostly in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Most are signed, dated and kind of wood indicated. Also, nearly all of them came from the trees and branches growing on our farm in the Town of Lincoln.

The picture at the left shows me cutting off part of a stump and is typical of places I find the wood. This picture and several others were copied from an article that appeared in the Utica Observer Dispatch of Nov.7, 1971. The "O.D." kindly gave me permission to use pictures and exerpts from that story which showcased my sculptures. Each of these I will notate as "From the O.D."

As you browse through the pictures I think you will find the sculptures unique and interesting, if kind of “odd”, even “weird”. You will never see anything exactly like them anywhere else, and even I, could never duplicate them. The appeal of this collection, if any, is in the imaginative shapes and wood textures rather than the craftsmanship and finishing.

I liked to wander through our woods, pasture, and hedgerows peering into the branches of wild apple and other trees and bushes. I looked for some likely appearing limb with unusual twists, or shoots coming out at odd angles , and tried to visualize what I could make of it. I preferred to work with live green wood. When green it was softer and easier to carve and shape. Many of these I treated with a compound called polyethylene glycol to reduce cracking and splitting as the wood seasoned.

Where possible, after the bark was removed, I left the natural “skin” of the wood without sanding or scraping, so that the original surface that grew there naturally, remained. So I did very little “finishing” (sanding, varnishing, etc), but often I applied a coat of floor wax for preservation and to make them easier to dust.

Click on the small picture to see it larger.

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Click here to go to Pagestories A collection of family stories from Madison County, New York

Or, to contact me send e-mail to cepage1@verizon.net