Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Canadian National Wildfowl Carving Championship

19 March 2017

     Miriam and I were very happy to attend the above event again this year, where we could marvel at the truly outstanding work done by these carvers. Their output is art in every sense of the word and merits the serious attention of collectors. 
     We were very happy for Tom Weiler, a member of a local club, who had submitted three items and won a ribbon, or honourable mention, for all three, I joked to Tom that I would have to exhibit them in my home to really appreciate their beauty and he rejoined that there were times when he was carving and painting them he would gladly have given them to me!

      Congratulations Tom on a job well done and the appreciation it garnered, not only from the judges but from the discerning public who came to the show.
       As was the case last year, I was stunned by the lack of attention to the basic requirements of spelling. Surely in a NATIONAL championship it is not unreasonable to expect that someone would proof read the cards to ensure that the names of the birds are spelled correctly. To the right of Tom's Belted Kingfisher above you see the card saying Red Headed Woodpecker and not Red-headed Woodpecker. The difference is profound and the incorrect nomenclature effectively changes the bird to a different and non-existent species.
      A wide variety of waterfowl was on display, beautifully rendered to be sure.


       Here are two admirable carvings of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Red-winged Blackbird.

     Again, both names are spelled incorrectly. I might ask rhetorically if no one checks anything, but the answer is obviously no.
    The Chipping Sparrow below is a gorgeous rendition of this familiar species and here the spelling is just plain sloppy (Spparow instead of Sparrow). It is not even a misrepresentation of the bird's name.

     It truly is a shame that Linda would not check her card a little more closely, or perhaps she has no influence over it.
     This Baltimore Oriole had us all filled with appreciation. Every component has to be carved and we wondered at the fine detail of the leaves and speculated as to how many might have been broken before perfection was achieved.

     A Cuban Tody brought back memories for us of this gorgeous little bird seen so frequently on our last two visits to Cuba.

     A Grey Catbird always delights us and we are looking forward to its return. And we will be sure to spell its name correctly whenever we refer to it. It is a Grey Catbird and not simply Catbird.

     Furthermore, the artist is designated as being from Dartmouth, Nova instead of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Is it really so hard to get the right information on these tags?
     A Blue Jay, a familiar species to us all, was rendered beautifully.

     How about this Golden-crowned Kinglet? Captured to a tee don't you think?

     Once again the named is misspelled. A Golden Crowned Kinglet would be quite a different bird from a Golden-crowned Kinglet.
      This Gyrfalcon was so lifelike, you almost expected it to move when viewed from certain angles.

     The same could be said of this Peregrine Falcon.

     My good friend, Bill Wilson, a distinguished birder and a carver of great merit exhibited an American Three-toed Woodpecker. This species is well known for its proclivity to forage 

in freshly burned areas and I think that Bill has captured this behaviour wonderfully.
     This show represents an amazing opportunity for carvers to enter their works into competition and to have the general public appreciate their fine work. It is too bad that the peripheral aspects of it lend this Mickey Mouse quality to it.
     I bet that the next time you visit the Louvre you won't see signs directing you to the Mona Liza, or a visit to the McMichael Gallery won't reveal the works of the Group of Sevven, or urge you to examine a canvas by A.Y. Jackksn. 
     If anyone reading this wishes to take me up on this, I would happy to proof read the cards next year before they are printed. It can only benefit the show and the dedicated artists who put so much effort into it.


  1. Unas tallas de gran calidad, son todas preciosas. Tenéis grandes artesanos en tu país. Un abrazo desde España.

  2. Absolutely beautiful, I do love them.

  3. Hi Both, again an interesting post, these people even if struggling with the spelling are so talented in carving,and also the finishing and painting. The top for me is the Gyrfalcon, absolutely stunning. All the best. John

  4. I like ALL these sculptures !
    I want all ;-)

  5. Not only great carving, but great painting too!

  6. They are ever so real and beautiful.

  7. So very beautiful!
    I would never display mounted animals or birds, but I would be really happy to own a sculpture like these ones.

  8. Very gifted carvers,
    The attitudes of the Blue jay and the Baltimore oriole are especially well rendered.
    Must have been another great moment to stroll through all the attractive stands!
    Warm hugs to share with Miriam :)

  9. Hi. Highly skilled jobs. I like a lot. Greetings.

  10. Amazing Art on display,the workmanship and the hours put in to each piece,must give great satisfaction to all.
    Also great photography,each image looks stunning.

  11. Works are wonderful. I admire the performers. It is a pity that someone did not check the correct bird's name. Regards.

  12. Marvelous works of art, represent with very good detail to the species of birds. How I wish I had a collection of them

  13. Such talented artisans -- beautiful every one (even if the cards are not always perfect*). Several years ago we saw a similar display at Ding Darling National Wildlife Visitor Center on Sanibel Island (near us here).

    Spelling and punctuation errors drive me nuts too although I'm afraid to say that in a comment because I've probably made one. Several neighbors here have signs on their homes that say something like "The Smith's"..... "The Green's" ..... I've told Bill that some night I'm going to sneak out with a black marker and fix them. I really am seriously tempted.

  14. The display of talent here is truly remarkable and admirable, and there are many of these carvings that I'd be more than delighted to give a home to David. From what I can gather, the painting of such works is a greater skill than the carving of them, with the actual understanding of the character of the bird being the most critical factor.

    On the matter of the naming of the species, there are clearly two failings exhibited. We all make 'typos' from time to time, and sometimes actually struggle with spelling (I've found that I have to refer to a dictionary far more often these days - a sure sign that I'm losing it!). This, as you say, should be eliminated by proof-reading. The embarrassing incorrect naming of the species, however, suggests to me that the person producing the cards has absolutely no knowledge of bird species, indicating that they are purely someone recruited to do the typing. I can't believe that the organisers themselves lack this knowledge as it seems that their judgement includes an assessment of how well the jizz of the subject has been captured.

    I fully understand your frustration in such a prestigious event being degraded by fundamental errors in the display of exhibits. I suspect that this level of frustration is only exceeded by that of the exhibitors themselves - unless it's them that perpetrated the mistake in the first place!!!

    Sorry to be late in commenting - Lindsay and I have recently returned from a week in Devon.

    Love to you both - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard: Thanks very much for this detailed, thoughtful and well-articulated commentary.

  15. Wow, all this sculptures are absolutely amazing!

  16. Great! Brilliant! Would all these images like to have but does not antuurlijk. These images of the birds are definitely a valuable addition to many bird lovers. Beautifully made. Absolutely timber.

  17. These are just amazing, people are so talented.
    I enjoyed looking at every one of your photo's.

    All the best Jan

  18. It must be some overworked assistant who types and prints all the cards but still, they should be able to get it right.

  19. Hello David, this is fantastic what these woodcarvers can make. My favorite bird is ofcourse the Peregrine Falcon.