Carv­ing Gallery

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - Fol­low me on Twit­ter @con­nie_s­tar­dem. By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­

— A bit of whim­sey, a sleek, styl­ized col­lec­tion and carv­ings so re­al­is­tic they in­vited wide-eyed ex­pres­sions of won­der awaited visi­tors in the Carv­ing Gallery at the Academy Art Mu­seum at 106 South St.

A steady stream of Water­fowl Fes­ti­val 2017 visi­tors min­gled and talked to the carvers who dis­played their work af­ter the ex­hibit opened at 10 a.m. Fri­day, Nov. 10.

2017 Mas­ter Carver Richard Jones of Kattskill Bay, N.Y., has been ex­hibit­ing for 12 years. He said he al­ready had sold pieces of his highly styl­ized art by noon.

“It’s a pretty good crowd,” Jones said. “It’s such an eclec­tic, unique show — it’s kind of fun.”

While Jones de­picted birds in his carv­ings, sub­ject mat­ter ranged from tra­di­tional water­fowl to North Amer­i­can song­birds, rap­tors, trop­i­cal birds, and even but­ter­flies and wild­flow­ers.

Fea­tured carver Pete Lupo of Lenoir, N.C., along with his wife Sherie, picked up their re­al­is­tic pieces and turned them so visi­tors could see the wood in what ap­peared to be a woven hat, a pair of boots, a metal cof­fee pot and a beer bot­tle as set­tings for his wildlife de­pic­tions.

Be­cause “ev­ery­thing is made of wood, we need to be able to talk to peo­ple. This is the per­fect venue to talk to peo­ple,” Sherie Lupo said.

The cou­ple vis­ited the Fes­ti­val 25 years ago, but this year was their first time ex­hibit­ing. They loaded their “Ta­hoe to the gills” and headed north, she said.

“I was a lit­tle sur­prised when I got ac­cepted” af­ter try­ing for five years, Pete Lupo said. “This is one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences we’ve ever had, and this is only the sec­ond day. Last night, at pre­mier night, was ex­cel­lent. What we get a kick out of is be­ing around like-minded peo­ple.”

Carver Doug Ma­son said he’s been com­ing down seven years. The Cana­dian said he “loves talk­ing to peo­ple” who visit his ex­hibit.

“Ev­ery bird has a story,” carver Tom Bald­win of Akron, Ohio, said. One of his carv­ings fea­tured an Amer­i­can kres­tel on the cor­ner of a thresh­ing ma­chine, all carved out of wood.

Com­pet­ing since 2005, Thomas Horn of Em­maus, Pa., said his fam­ily loves the Fes­ti­val. “The town is so great. It’s neat how they shut the town down for the Fes­ti­val.”

Gene He­bert of Louisiana has been ex­hibit­ing for 20 years.

“There’s an in­ter­est­ing bunch of char­ac­ters in this room,” he said. “It’s like a fam­ily re­union. If some­body makes a sale, we’re all happy for them.”


Mike Bon­ner of New Or­leans poses with a carved de­coy at the Carvers Gallery on Fri­day, Nov. 10.

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