Wayne Smith's interest in woodcarving was sparked during a hike on the Appalachian Trail where he observed some hikers with specially carved walking sticks. After hiking from Georgia to Virginia, he returned home, bought some chisels and gouges, and has not yet put them down. While he carves walking staffs, his subjects have expanded to include realistic animals,human busts, mythical figures, and Santas. Inspiration comes from his varied interests, personal observations, and an extensive reference library. He acknowledges the influence of a number of nationally renowned carvers, and continues to study with some of the best.
When he carves wildlife subjects, considerable research and effort is spent to realistically capture the appropriate behavior and temperament of each animal. In his human bust carvings he seeks to capture expressions that subtly convey a variety of emotions. The ever-popular Santas are portrayed in the many variations that have evolved over time in different countries of the world. They range in style from the traditional European St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Weihnachtsmann to the American Thomas Nast and Coca-Cola Santas.
The carvings are handcrafted from basswood or butternut using traditional carving tools - chisels, gouges, and knives. Wildlife subjects are further enhanced by woodburning to better depict the animal's fur texture. While some pieces are left natural, most are colored with light washes of paint. Lastly, a protective finish is applied. Each carving is individually created and therefore no two are ever exactly alike. His carvings have earned him numerous honors at carving and juried craft shows, including the coveted Best of Show and People's Choice awards.
Smith may be found demonstraing his carving at art and craft festivals and woodcarving shows throughout the East. During the Holiday season, his work can also be seen at select galleries and gift stores.
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