Doc - Lawrence A. Wiedman, PhD

Doc Dr. Lawrence Wiedman Professor Emeritus – Marine Biology; University of Saint Francis  I have always enjoyed three dimensional art forms and have been blessed with an ability to see two-dimensional images in my mind’s eye as they would appear in real form.  Being a Geologist (marine paleontology), has helped me in petroleum exploration (my first true job) and certainly in my current research interests on the health and recovery of the world’s third largest Barrier Reef off the coast of Andros Island, Bahamas.  It also helps me see images that I am carving before I strike a single stroke. 

The first encounter I remember with a real wood carver (obviously I was impressed) was at Mystic Sea Port, CN in 1974.  He was making maidenheads for replica ships.  When asked how he knew what to remove, he answered flippantly “I see the final product in the wood and take off anything that does not belong”. 

I now understand that that is the best answer I too can give.  Obviously, I am influenced by what I see in nature. I am an avid camper and backpacker and professionally have morphed into being a marine biologist, but I see wonder in all environments, including make believe.  My style has been influenced mostly by three Rastafarian brothers who are/were fulltime carvers of wood since their youth; Henry, Mel and Jake Wallace of Red Bays, Andros Is. Henry and I have carved together for over 20 years when I can free up time on the island to do so.  We share tips, secrets, frustrations and triumphs; some even are about carving!  

I am also influenced by Early American Folk Art.   For decades I have collected hand made toys and whimsies.  Since 2005 I now have my own working studio dedicated to my carving.  It is heated by a 150 year-old wood stove I reconditioned.    

One of my main goals is to evoke motion. I do not want my critters to look wooden or passive.  The second goal is to make folks smile.  When my carvings do both, I win.  Most all of my materials come from scrap gifts from friends or firewood piles.   I only carve dead wood that are single pieces, like the logs I used for this year’s sculptures.  It takes green wood from 5-12 years or more before I can use a log depending on the wood and how thick it is. 

I like taking something no one wants and making it beautiful.  Most all of my work is done by hand and hand tools, most of my gauges, saws, and rasps are over a century old.  Lately, I am getting less patient and have succumbed to using a trusted saws-all to speed up the initial rough shaping instead of a hatchet.  My rationale is that a monkey could do gross shaping; it is very time consuming by hand and muscle fatiguing too, and this way is safer.  Most likely these are just excuses, but they work for me.  

In the case of the work for the 2016 Decatur Sculpture walk, I went back to my roots and did both completely by hand tools.  

This Year’s Sculptures  

I love it when people want to feel my work.  I am very tactile myself.  The sliding polar bear; “Wheeeee!” is from a single log of Sassafras that was felled over 12 years ago in Parke Co., IN.,  where it is considered a “trash tree”.  As you can see, it still had enough moisture in it that it cracked.  No worries, if I did not want it to look and behave as wood, I would have made it from something that would not crack. 

I saw a photo in National Geographic years ago showing polar bears sliding around like this and immediately knew I had to carve it.  The article said that trying to confuse seals below the ice (potential dinner) into thinking the shadow they saw above them was a harmless bull sea lion,  it helped remove parasites from their bellies, or some thought, it might just be for fun.  I prefer the latter, but who knows?   Researchers really do not know why they do it.  The best guesses were that they were.

Huntington, Indiana

Sculptures

Coral Reef Scape - 2018

Get Krakon - 2017

Wheeee!!! - 2016

Sassafras log rescued from burn pile. Done by traditional Mallet and Gauge Subtraction Carving Yes, polar bears really do this, although no one is certain why, maybe it is just for fun

I Know How This Ends; I Read the Book - 2016

Madonna & Child - Manatee Style - 2015

Home Sweet Home - 2015

Giddy Up - 2015

No One Can Train A Cat(fish) - 2014

Gene's Friend (Barred Owl) - 2014

On River Patrol - 2013

Plodding Along - 2013

Mated for Life - 2012

Plodding Along - 2012


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