The town I live in has had a farmer's market at the same place continuously for nearly 100 years. (I know, nothing compared to most places outside the US) I shop there frequently, usually 40 times a year. I see more hand made walking sticks in use there than any other place.
Today, fairly early in the morning and the market uncrowded, I saw a fellow w. a stick, and noticing that it had a nicely carved eagle head. I complimented him and asked if he had made it.
He had, and so we talked a bit. The head was carved from basswood. His comment, "just paint it, there's not much of any figure in the wood." And continued that other woods had figure and color that shouldn't be hidden.
I mentioned I was working w. some Easter red cedar. He replied that it was a beautiful wood. He said he did more turning than carving. He went on about how he had attempted to turn a bowl from a cedar trunk, bark still on. I don't know enough about lathe work, but I gather he ended up with a long vessel that reminded him a trumpet vine flower. So he took a piece of cherry, and fashioned that into the pistil, and carved a humming bird. I forget the wood. He ran a 16 penny nail thru the bird's bill and anchored it to the cherry pistil. The whole assemble was fastened to a slab of bark on walnut, as a counter balance.
Every year, he makes a donation to a silent auction for a local food bank. His cedar trumpet vine flower and hummingbird brought in $700 for the charity. Fine fellow!
We talked some about our backgrounds, mostly lamenting that so much of the wood work we had done for a living was done w. particle board or plywood, using screaming tools that produced clouds of dust. "Nothing but real wood for me anymore," he said w. a smile.
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