Rob’s interest in carving began when he discovered waterfowl hunting. Like most other duck hunters his first working decoys were store bought and made of plastic. They were light, relatively inexpensive and easy to carry to your hunting area.
At his place of employment he had a couple of friends who hunted waterfowl and carved their own duck decoys from locally sourced cedar. From these guys he got the urge to make his own decoys to hunt with. Although much heavier to carry to hunting areas they looked and floated much better than their plastic counterparts, and the ducks seemed to like them as well.
After many years of carving duck decoys Rob felt he needed a change and in 2000 discovered he could actually carve antlers. It took several years to figure out what types of power carving bits would work when trying to create art from deer and moose antlers. At the time there were no instructional videos or books available regarding carving antler so he was on his own to discover what tools would successfully work to sculpt the antlers.
After attending several carving shows in the US and Canada Rob discovered the equipment that would allow him to carve the hard antlers he had been accumulating over the years.
A friend ‘borrowed’ one of Rob’s first deer antler carvings – an alligator – and entered it in a carving competition he was attending. When they next met at their weekly carvers gathering Rob was presented with a first place ribbon on by the antler creation. It was a great surprise indeed and spurred him on to continue learning how to turn antlers into art.
Over the next few years moose antlers seemed to become the main focus of attention. Although deer antlers were still very popular with Rob’s clients and at art shows, the moose antler creations were becoming more sought after by folks looking for unusual artwork. So, after spending years doing art shows during the summer months Rob decided to step back from attending as many shows. Some pieces take several weeks to complete and it was difficult, and becoming stressful, to build up stock for shows and keep up with commissions. Rob’s hobby had turned into ‘a job’.
After slowing down on the numbers of pieces being created to supply the art show circuit, Rob attended a stone carving course. That creative experience added stone to his list of carving mediums, joining the deer, caribou and moose antlers. Rob will even carve wood when the urge hits him.
Today (2018) Rob is still creating pieces from several different types of stone as well as antlers. As good antlers become more difficult to find, stone carving will allow Rob to continue creating his art pieces. Customers who may have antlers they might like to see carved are encouraged to bring them to Rob to see what can be created instead of letting them languish in a shed or workshop.
Some people are taken aback by the thought of carved antlers. They needn't be. Moose antlers are a naturally occuring renewable resource. Rob's carvings are created from carefully selected shed antlers. Each moose antler is different in size and shape from those of another moose, and each antler has its own unique qualities. It's these hidden qualities and characters that determine what the finished piece will eventually represent.
For a more complete explanation, see "The Life Cycle of an Antler".