The feathers of a scissortail flycatcher emerge from a block of wood when Charles Wolfe gets busy carving birds at his garage-turned-studio in Fayetteville.
There's an American Kestrel perched on a branch, one of an array of birds that look alive enough to sing. Hawks, bluebirds and cardinals emerge when the wood chips fly.
Woodcarvers show, sale
The 38th annual Woodcarvers of Northwest Arkansas show and sale will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 17 at Frisco Station Mall in Rogers.
Carvings of wildlife, including birds, fish, bears and more will be on display, said Gerald Drogman, show chairman. There will also be carving demonstrations wood turnings and a whittling contest.
Source: Staff report
Wolfe's birds of art are even more beautiful in the natural settings he creates. Dogwood blossoms, wildflowers and the leaves of hardwood trees take shape at his skilled hands.
People are occasional subjects of Wolfe's carving, but birds are his specialty.
He's always like to carve in wood, and he's always liked birds. His love of wood came while working in a cabinet shop in California. A fondness for feathers grew when he moved to Fayetteville in 1975. The notion to carve hit around 1964 when he bought a book about carving waterfowl. Wolfe didn't rush into the craft. It was 1998 before he carved his first bird.
Woodcarving classes at the Jones Center for Families sent Wolfe on the carving journey that he enjoys today. He's mostly self taught. That includes learning the painting skills that put the finishing, lifelike touch on his works. A base coat of white goes on first, then Wolfe adds color after studying photos of the bird he's carving.
Hand tools and powered ones help Wolfe transform a block of wood into a bird. Tupelo is his favorite carving wood. The body of the bird is carved. Then Wolfe carves the bird's wings and attaches them later. He wields a small sanding tool or a woodburning pen tools to add feather detail.
Some of his projects take years. A hawk that Wolfe just finished took six years to complete. He enjoys every step that leads to a finished carving.
"I like the inventive process as much of the carving. It's a challenge to create the right display you want," he said.
Wolfe shares his carving prowess with others. He's a member of the Woodcarvers of Northwest Arkansas and teaches classes with the group. They meet three times a week in Rogers.
Birds aren't the easiest wildlife to carve, said Wolfe's friend and fellow carver Gerald Krogman.
"I've tried birds, but I'm not too good at them," Krogman said. "He's really developed a talent for doing that."
Both carvers will display their work at the 38th annual Woodcarvers of Northwest Arkansas competition, show and sale.
Krogman is chairman of the event. Nature is well represented in the show, he noted. Carving of critters large and small will be part of the event. Krogman specializes in carving fish.
The birds Wolfe brings only look like they'll fly off his table.
Flip Putthoff can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NWAFlip
Sports on 08/29/2017
Print Headline: A fondness for feathers