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In March 2005, a Connecticut art dealer listed on ebay a 1983 Pug Bank I had carved. Here are some of the photos. It is such fun to see my old friend again. It looks just as good as when i made it!

I carved this bank out of pine boards, laminated with yellow glue, carved inside with a rotary rasp, outside with sanding discs until it was very smooth.

The legs are made from big wooden dowels, carved with the rotary rasp into little feet. I woodburned the space between the toes.

The mouth is drilled, as is the rear end.

I woodburned "hairs" all over the body, then painted it with "paint markers" and flat oil paint, but used shiny black enamel on the nose, eyes, and ears.

I sold it for about 1k thru a gallery in Fairfield Ct. called "a Thousand Words," but that gallery has been out of business for years now.

My name is signed with a woodburning tool. "I was made by Marcia Wilson 83"

The photo on the right shows my woodcarving of a whirligig called "The American Spirit" that I sold this fall to the Noyes Museum in Oeanville,NJ. My boyfriend did the mechanism. The arm w/ the flag moves up and down and the dancer twirls three times for every time it hops up and down. I discuss more about my woodcarvings further down this web page.

My newest carvings are these two sisters, finished in February 2000. They are very small, only 12" high each. I made them for the Small Works Show at the Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest, NJ but they never got accepted into the show which just goes to show you can never predict what kind of things a judge will like. The piece that was accepted was a little mermaid carving.

These sisters are carved out of black walnut but their arms are mulberry because I have a mulberry tree in my back yard. I can buy the carving wood anyplace, but when it is time to make arms, I have to go into my back yard and cut some curved branches off of a tree. The arms are attached with rubber bands, by the way. The reason why my "dolls" are so often painted is because I can't have dark walnut heads and torsos with white mulberry arms. I painted these ladies with oil paints. I think I used enamel from cans-- Rustoleum is one of my favorite brands-- but sometimes I add paint from my oil painting pallate.

I photographed these little carvings on some table pads that I found on the curb in my town on trash day-- my favorite time to go "shopping." The bases of these little ladies are made from oval pieces of plexiglass screwed into the bottom of the wood.

I sold the sisters as a pair to a Philadelphia artist and her lawyer husband.

Below is a woodcarving of a mermaid mantle clock that took a long time to make, mostly because of its size. Little figures can be whittled on my lap but this one took a mallet and gouges and I had to stand a lot of the time.

The carving is made of glued up basswood boards. It is my fourth mantle clock in the shape of a woman. Each one has been larger than the one before; I plan to reverse the trend with the next clock, if i make another. By the way, I gave this clock a breast reduction recently and will replace this photo with a newer one soon. This mermaid has a tail with many scales that are not visible in this photograph. I used a combination of carving and woodburning to make them. I finished the clock for a two person show with a woodcarver named Susanna Bergtold whose work I admire and collect. Our show was held at the Old Church Cultural Center in Demarest NJ in February 1999. There are two links to her work at the bottom of my web page.

Here is a photograph of the mermaid clock in progress in my studio, which used to be my dining room. I look a little glassy eyed but that is because this photograph was taken at 11 p.m. and I like to retire at 10.

Another piece I finished for the show is a a whirligig called "the American Spirit" now owned by the Noyes Museum in Oceanville, NJ. The movement of this whirligig is very complicated and would not have been possible without the engineering of my boyfriend. The arm holding the flag moves up and down. The dancer on top of the woman's head rotates and jumps up and down.

There is a lot of gearing inside the piece because nothing rotates or jumps in the same sequence. The dancer, for example, jumps three times for each rotation. The arm holding the flag pumps up and down in a different tempo. I think the boyfriend said he had a lot of reduction gears. There are also a lot of counterbalances. My boyfriend made all the metal parts himself on a lathe and a milling machine. I told him to put lucite windows in the sides and in the middle of her back so people can see the mechanisms. The paddle wheel, by the way, is made of balsa wood because the boyfriend said it worked better when it was lightweight.

Here is a photo of me and the boyfriend taken at the opening of an art show in February 1999.

When I first heard that the Noyes Museum had a call for entries for a whirligig show I had never made one before. I looked at folk art books and saw that some whirligigs were just standing figures with paddles for arms. So I took two of my unfinished doll carvings and told my engineer boyfriend that I would cook supper for a change if he would turn my dolls into whirligigs.

He attached paddles made from 1/8-inch 3-ply plywood to the ends of arms I had carved from branches of trees in my back yard. The arms are connected by a stainless steel rod that passes through teflon bushings in the shoulders. The arms are attached to the rod by brass fittings that have setscrews in them. My newest whirligig is a patriotic woman waving a flag up and down while a striped cheerleader twirls on her head. The boyfriend has made a series of pulleys and gears and counterweights and a little crankshaft inside the skirt of the woman.

I embrace a woodcarving of my boyfriend, carved from laminated pine boards. It sold in 1994 to a teacher at Columbia University and I still miss it. The head is hollow and opens up to reveal a mirror in the top half, and writing inside the lower half. The writing is every negative thing that I could remember my boyfriend saying during the first few years of our relationship. (Beware of saying negative things to an artist with a long memory.) The drawer in the lower half opens up to reveal a heart that says, in gold letters, "Mom." I thought I could carve another piece like this any time I liked but realize too late that certain sculptures can't be repeated.

note from 2010: When I had my NOYES MUSEUM show in 2002 I contacted the doctor who had purchased the carving of my boyfriend's head. Alas, he had given it away and forgotten the name of the person to whom he had given it. So this carving is perhaps lost forever.

Here is a photo of me and the boyfriend taken in February 1998. It shows what he really looks like.

Chest of Drawer shown with a second prize ribbon ($1,000 prize) won for the work in my booth at ARTSCAPE in Baltimore July 25-27 1997 and was in the 1998 NJ Crafts annual at the Noyes Museum in Oceanville NJ. I carved this box out of hemlock-- a poor source of wood because it split along the growth rings and I had to fill it with lots of marine epoxy. The drawer opens.

I got the idea of this bureau chest from the memory of a shape in an advertisement that looked like a circle on top and a square on the bottom. I grabbed a piece of hemlock wood that was 2" thick and 24" long and sawed it out on my bandsaw, quite crudely. Then I glued on a big nose from a piece of the same scrap lumber, using a knot hole near the top as the right eye. This shape amused me so much that I decided to make it three dimensional, and planned to glue three hemlock boards together. However, the chest seemed too boring, so I decided to cut out a rectangle from each board before I glued it together, to leave space for a drawer.

Making the drawer was quite tricky because I'm not much of a cabinetmaker, but i managed, using 3/4 inch plywood and a router table. Getting the drawer to fit in the cavity was an "impossible" task because I didn't have a straight line in the sculpture, but my boyfriend the engineer devoted a Saturday afternoon to straightening that out for me. The knobs invented themselves.

I finished the sculpture with a rotary rasp, powered by a large air compressor. I decorated the surface with deep woodburned patterns, executed with the "hot knife" from Colwood electronics. I painted it with cans of alkyd enamel from the hardware store, mixed with tubes of oil paint colors. I am quite pleased with the personality of this bureau box; if I had known she would turn out so nicely I would have used better wood.

Miss America carved from a section of a split log, wood unknown, but it carved nicely. Her arms are attached with a rubber band, so they move. She is mounted on a large turned base, part of an old porch pedestal, which i covered with white gold leaf. She is finished with my usual oil paint, mixed with house paints to speed drying time and add a nice sheen to the paint. She is owned by a Philadelphia lawyer and his artist wife and along with two of my other sculptures, the statue was in the Miss America exhibit at the Noyes Museum that ran through December, 1997 in Oceanville, NJ.

The other two sculptures of mine in the show are a little Miss America finished in 1996, and "My Mother as Miss America" finished this year, showing her in a two piece polka dot suit with open toed ankle strap shoes. Actually, my mother never wanted to be Miss America. I think she wanted to be Queen of England instead because you get more perks with the position.

Here is a photograph taken in November 2001 of a satisfied customer in North Salem NY holding a woodcarving I made in 1998. I don't think I ever titled the carving but it looks like a variation of my Aunt Louise.

Bathing Beauty on a Pedestal, carved from basswood in 1996. Movable arms. Casein and oil paint finish. Mounted on a fluted antique pedestal, probably from someone's front porch. I sold this lovely carving to a man and wife from Weston, Ct. and I still miss her. They bought her so quickly that I didn't even get their name and address. When I sell something I often try and replace it with an even **better** version. So my next project after this were two bathing beauties that I turned into whirligigs and sold very quickly.

Miss New Jersey Shore is another woodcarving with movable arms. She was in the 1997 Crafts Annual at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ.

I was thinking of the broad smile and polka dotted bathing suit in a folk art painting by Elias Ruley when I carved this sculpture from a piece of basswood. I love her confident smile and geriatric figure.

I sold this piece to a children's book illustrator and doll collector named Denise. Her husband calls her "the famous Denise" because she has illustrated 65 books. He said their favorite part of the sculpture is her shoes.

My Boyfriend as a Clown is a jointed doll that was also in the Crafts Annual at the Morris Museum in 1997. He is carved from basswood but his arms are from my mulberry tree.

I started making these jointed dolls after buying wood from the widow of a local woodcarver. She had her son saw up basswood boards for firewood, so I acquired short pieces. In order to make a decent sized carving, I came up with the idea of constructing jointed dolls.

The joints are pegged together with dowels. The arms and legs move separately from each other because of a screw and a washer strategically placed on one side by my boyfriend the engineer.

My Mother as Empress of the World is carved from maple, about 12" high. It is painted in casein and oil, and the details are woodburned. I got the idea of doing this piece from a class on "Icon Making" at the Newark Museum last year. It was taught by a Russian teacher who burned incense for atmosphere. I did not sign up when I realized that students had to copy a xerox copy of an icon stroke for stroke, according to traditional methods.

I went home and carved my own version of an icon out of the lid of an oblong maple box, about 12" long. I plan to finish it by adding gold leaf to the background. My mother is wearing her bathrobe and holding our bull terrier, Betsy, the dog we had until I was about 7 years old.

He's Mine at Last woodcarving, sold in 1994 to an artist/dancer, contains a carving of a my boyfriend as a worried naked man inside the glass window in her belly. She is made from laminated pine boards, woodburned, polychromed with oil paint and paint markers, and 22k gold leaf.

I got the idea of a glass window from a postcard of an Upper Volta "power figure" that had shells inside and looked really spooky. The postcard was sent to me by another artist, Susanna Bergtold.

This figure is the second in a series of women with windows, following "womb with a view." I sold Womb with a View to a Russian artist and his wife and this one was sold to a dancer, who wants to sell it, if anyone is interested. In February thru part of April 2002, it is in my two person show at the Noyes Museum in Oceanville, NJ.

Nude mantle clock carved from basswood, 36" wide, sold in 1993 to owners of a depression glass/antique store in Lambertville, NJ.

This is the second of three mantle clocks I made. The first was sold to a curator of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, and the third was sold to the owners of an exercise club near Point Pleasant, NJ. The clocks got larger each time. My last mantle clock is the mermaid photographed elsewhere on the page and that one is about 4 feet wide. It's time to reverse the trend and make them smaller.

Girl Looking at my Dolls through the Display Case.

I took this photograph from my booth at an art show in South Norwalk in August 1998.

This little girl is looking at a statue of Miss New Jersey whose base is made from table leg turnings. Her arms are movable, attached to each other through the shoulders with a rubber band.

Visible also are the backs of jointed dolls of a pirate, and a man in a plaid shirt with a cowboy hat.

I take it as the highest compliment when children like my artwork because it is made by the "child" within me.

Cat and Dead Bird Woodcarvingfrom a small piece (5 by 10 inches) of 3/4" basswood, painted with oil base enamel from the hardware store. This piece was inspired by a carving of a leaning dog by Susanna Bergtold, one of my favorite artists. I made a "leaning cat," only I had to have a "reason" for my cat to lean, so I added the poor dead little birdie and put a satisfied grin on the cat, because that's the way my cats look after they've deposited a dead bird on my back porch. This relief was routed out with a huge machine I bought from Mr. Hanke, a retired wood engraver who closed his studio in Bogota, N.J. about 20 years ago. I believe the machine is called a radial arm pin router. It weighs 1800 lbs and took 9 men to carry it into my basement, after removing the basement door.

The router was originally designed to cut away waste from zinc plates for newspaper cuts, but Mr. Hanke used it to route away boxwood for his wood engravings. I use the router to "get into" the wood and then do the rest of the carving and woodburning with hand tools.

Head of Clown was routed from a piece of common pine and carved by hand after that.

Night Ride is another small (about 5" by 9") basswood plaque, carved and woodburned and painted, and framed in some old wood I found on the street. I have used this image before in etchings, sometimes with a man riding the horse. I don't know where it comes from -- someplace in my subconscious, or perhaps a memory of that fairy tale called the Tinder Box where a princess rides at night on the back of a giant dog. I have made a few etchings with this same type of theme, sometimes with men, one with a woman.

Reliquary Plaque of My Mother as Queen

Some of my mother's ashes are behind the round glass lens. Around the edge I woodburned, "I used to think of my mother as a queen who had to be obeyed." And on the bottom I wrote her maiden name:"Katharine M. Hubler 1907-1991." The plaque is basswood [from the linden tree], 5 by 10 inches by 3/4 inch thick. I added a wide frame made from old door moulding that looks pretty good. I gave this carving to my daughter and she hangs it behind the door of her bedroom so that she won't frighten visitors. My grandchildren, however, have taken their friends to visit the bones of their great grandmother. "I'll say one thing; your grandchildren are not going to forget this sculpture," says my daughter, who is photographed below with one of her favorite dogs.

My grandson and my daughter with their miniature dachshund Teddy. They live in Hilo, Hi where my daughter breeds and sells dachshunds.

How I Got Started Woodcarving

Somebody once emailed me asking how I got started woodcarving so here are my thoughts on the matter.

The first time I tried woodcarving was in 1964. At that time I was a copywriter at W&J Sloane furniture store in nyc. They had a wallpainting on barnwood there of what I later discovered was a Swedish wedding scene. I really liked the theme, possibly because I was having an affair with a married Swedish doctor at the time. But that was back when I had hormones.

I sketched the wallpainting on the back of an envelope: a man and a woman in a carriage with big flowers falling all around them. After I got home I painted it on my drawing board but the result was sort of flat and disappointing. Soon afte I broke up with the Swedish doctor and my ex husband came around to visit our daughter. I told him that I had an idea that the drawing board would be much improved if I carved around the painted shapes, and I handed him a linoleum cutting knife so he could show me how to go about it. I asked him to try and carve a line around a painted flower in the lower right hand corner of the board. He worked steadily for about 30 minutes, and then I saw that he had not just cut a little line around a flower, but had removed about 1/2 inch of the background so that the little flower stood out in relief, and he had added a stem. I worked on the board, off and on, over the next ten years, using any tool that I found-- razor blades, xacto knives, a linoleum cutter. Knives were all too dull and I did not know how to sharpen them. The wagon wheels, which had flowers inside them, became very very deeply carved, almost thru the board. that's because I kept making mistakes. of course, i did not carve the board full time; I had during that time 3 husbands and 3 children to raise. but by the time I finished, i knew a little bit about woodcarving.

In 1970 I met a marvellous woodcarver named Dan Pressley. My first art show was his last, because he was suffering from stomach pains that turned out to be cancer. But I bought nine of his pieces and had a chance to study them and learn how beautiful narrative woodcarving could be. I have never achieved Dan's skill in carving but I am honored to have known him.

In 1975 I moved from NYC to my home town of Leonia, NJ and discovered "adult ed" classes at local high schools. In 1977 I took "Whittling and woodcarving" at Ridgewood HS with Henry Imp, who started his class with sharp knives from the Warren tool Co. in Rhinebeck, NY, and little basswood blanks of whales. I rejected the whale shapes but took a rectangular piece of wood and carved a man with a hat and his tongue sticking out. I had not planned that, but the knife kept making mistakes around his mouth. However, it may not have been such an "accident" because I was rogue student. I "cheated" any way I could. For example, I bought two wooden basswood circles from Henry and shaped faces on them, using a dremel tool with a sanding attachment. I burned out the tool, because the flap sander was too big for it. So I started to learn something about power tools as well as knives.

The rest I have learned over the years from other woodcarvers such as David Fooks of Pennsylvania, who taught me how to sharpen a knife by telling me he uses a hard felt polishing wheel.

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