Catskills Folk Connection is set to present an exhibit of local artists, “Folk Art in Wood,” at Hanford Mills Museum from Wednesday, September 2 through October 15. The exhibit features artists who work with wood in a wide variety of ways.
Featured artist include:
- Joe Dibble, who carves decoys of water birds such as swans, geese, and ducks, plus wood carvings of trout and land birds;
- Gary Mead, who creates one-of-a-kind furniture from carefully selected wood, some of which he harvests and mills specifically for his projects;
- Kira Lendo, who creates pictures on wood, drawing wildlife and Catskills scenes with a wood burner.
- Joe Hewitt and Ken Etts, who know the secret of the “whistle stick,” a folk toy they make out of a notched stick and a small propeller, which reverses direction when they whistle; and
- Dane Scudder and Chris Carey, both of whom play for the Tremperskill Boys square dance band, make banjos that feature local woods.
Many of the artists have additional creations to show with their wooden art: pen and ink drawings and watercolors, artwork from the previous generation that inspired them, and poems that come from the same creative spirit as the carving. Also featured is the work of historic wood carvers, Lavern Kelley and Homer Benedict.
On Saturday, September 5th, at 2 pm, Sydney L. Waller will offer a talk about Lavern Kelley. Ms. Waller, a gallerist who manages the artistic estate of Lavern Kelley, will explore the career of this well-known Catskills carver. As a youth, Kelley began depicting farm scenes, first in pencil, and then in three-dimensional carvings which he painted in realistic colors. Carefully carved trucks, tractors, carts, and wagons, some in farm scenes with fences and barns, all take their place in his voluminous work that lasted decades. Ms. Waller is lending a number of his carvings for the exhibit. Kelley’s work, along with works by Homer Benedict on loan from the Delaware County Historical Association, provide historical context for the work of present-day Catskills artists.
The exhibit will be on view by reservation from September 2 through October 15, at Hanford Mills Museum 51 County Route 12, East Meredith. Call Hanford Mills Museum at (607) 274-5744 for tickets to the talk and/or exhibit. Guided tours of Hanford Mills are also available by reservation, Wednesdays-Sundays as well as on Labor Day and Columbus Day.
Photo of Fish Decoy by Joe Dibble.