Whittle Folk-Uncovered

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in

Whittle Folk were caricature carvings in the hillbilly style carved between 1986 and 1996 as one of the early “journeys in the carving way” of the WOOD BEE CARVER.  As a carver grows in experience and ability there is also a growth  in themes and subject matter for carving.  Whittle Folk served as a guide to new carving horizons.

As a part of what motivates one to carve there is a motivation to share with others a part of that thrill by offering information and instruction of what one has carved.  In an article I wrote for the November-December 1992 issue of Chip Chats on “Carving Whittle Folks” I said:

“The Wood Bee Carver’s philosophy is, “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”  Inherent in this philosophy is the proven reality of the assumption that one learns by doing.  The more one does, the more one learns.  The mystery is in the way the creative subconscious works through the experience of trial and error to a gradual improvement of skill and style.  The hardest part of any carving project is getting started.  Once begun, the creative juices flow, the carver gets captured by the carving Muse and the carving project takes on life and expression.

The Wood Bee Carver also believes from the school of experience that there is no correct way to do the carving process.  Each carver is to develop one’s own approach, technique and style.  The goal being not to be just a duplicator of someone else’s style, but to learn from the experience of another.  It other words, don’t be a student of a teacher, but a student of observation, learning from many teachers.  Teacher, in this sense, is the informal learning from fellow carvers and studying various styles and interpretations in carvings.  This is the part of the school of self-taught learning that comes from observation cuppled with trial and error of self experience.”

Much of this philosophy has been shared in classes taught that included Whittle Folk as the subject, although other subjects have taken the place of the orgininal Whittle Folk. The same directions and steps for carving Whittle Folk still apply no matter the subject, so we journey back to uncover some of those “how to” visual lesson to continue the learning cycle.



Looking and studying all of these photos one can gain a little understanding of how one can carve a fisherman out of one piece of wood, in this case a one inch square by three inch tall block of basswood.  There are no add-ons meaning that the fishing pole and the fish are part of the carving.  It is simply a matter of planning in advance, carve in the basic form and then carve everything to detail so that it looks like the final carving.




FOCUS ON HANDSFOCUS ON HANDSA study on hands begins by looking at one’s own hands and then it is helpful to practice by carving hands in various poses on a scrap piece of wood.  Practice really makes carving easier and natural.  Give it a hand.