Tom Crowl became a professional entertainer in 1984. As a performance artist, Tom enjoyed entertaining audiences-but he felt the need to express his creativity in other media. It wasn't until he decided to carve a wooden
Santa for his wife, Dierdre that he pinpointed exactly what that form of expression would be. His first hand-carved primitive Santa ignited Crowl's passion for the art of wood carving. His study of wood carvings led Tom to some old wine barrels that had been decoratively carved for wineries. At that point, Tom knew he had found his calling.
Crowl always felt his love of wood must have originated with his grandfather, who was a carpenter. When he began to carve wine barrel heads, Tom learned many of the original carvers were also graphic artists and sign painters. About the same time, his mother showed him a portfolio of his great
grandfather's work. His great grandfather, a German immigrant, was a talented graphic artist and sign painter. Crowl believes that his ancestry is, in a sense, speaking through him as he creates his works.
Today, there are only a few wood carvers still creating this unique art by hand, due to the time and effort it takes to carve oak, one of the hardest of hardwoods. Age and wine conspire to make the wood even steelier. Crowl believes that he is the only wine barrel carver on the East Coast of
the United States.
He enjoys the challenge of taking a handmade
barrel-already beautiful-and creating, at once, both tribute to the history and future of hand-created wine art. In addition to his carved barrel heads, Crowl also enjoys carving collectible one of a kind wooden Santas, wooden spoons, custom signs and other functional folk art.
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