Vernon DePauw has been hand carving for more than 40 years, starting as a seventh grader in shop class. He was raised on a farm in northern Illinois, where his father taught him to do his best in everything he did and take pride in his work.
He is primarily self-taught. He carves mostly basswood with antique and traditional hand tools, finishing his carvings using 23-karat gold leaf, acrylic paints, or a combination of both. He has developed different methods of creating an old-looking finish so the pieces have a folk art look.
He draws inspiration from carvers and carvings of the past, adding his own artistic interpretation—sometimes by adding or removing accessories or changing a painted sign to a three-dimensional carving. He chooses to not sand the work to maintain a faceted surface.
DePauw’s goal is to produce a piece of handmade American art that is rooted in American heritage and tugs at the basic feelings of independence, freedom, and patriotism.
He demonstrates hand carving at area historical events to help the public understand the skill and time involved and gain a deeper appreciation for early carvers. He especially enjoys sharing with young people the art of woodcarving and some of the country’s history conveyed though historical carvings.
The deadline for submitting entries for the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts has past. All entries we have recevied are being processed and will be submitted to the jurors for anonymous judging. The 2021 Directory will appear in the August 2021 edition of Early American Life. Please do not call us. We cannot report on the status of any particular entry until the Directory is published..
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