Fine Arts & Crafts
by Joshua Heston.
What was commonplace two generations ago (the art of making what was needed rather than buying it) is quickly fading under a flood of cheap — and cheaply manufactured — imports.
This page is graciously sponsored by Art That Rocks! See more at right! --->
However, wherever there are people who care about quality and maintain a careful link to their past as well as the land, you will find master craftsmen.
David Egesdal, Carver
Well, a little about myself and my hobby. My name is David Egesdal and my wife's name is Lacy. We have two boys, Hunter and Carver. My wife and I decided to make the Ozarks our home in 2009. We both loved the atmosphere of the Ozarks and the family that we had become part of at Sonrise Baptist Church.
The heritage of this area is a major attraction to me as well. Ever since I was young I had an interest in crafts from woodworking to leather working and now my hobby of woodcarving. I see art in everything that we do and it is a shame that our culture has limited it to specific areas.
From my undergraduate degree of Youth Ministry with a Bible Minor to my masters in Biblical Counseling to my Math Certification for teaching I see that each has an art of their own with techniques and skills specifically developed for their application to the world in which we live.
As I consider the more specific arts that are universally agreed upon I have to say that I favor woodcarvings. I started carving about three years ago as a healthy alternative to watching television and playing video games. There is something about creating an object from a block of wood that is satisfying.
It has been said by many that the carving was not carved but rather the pieces hiding it have been removed. I suppose that this is not only a statement that can be made about carvings but also a statement made about each of our lives in general.
As the years go by we began to understand who we are more and more. Most of us carry many masks that hide the real us. With time the hope would be that we would learn to live and be as God intended for us to be.
I started woodcarving after visiting the Ozark Whittlers and Woodcarvers club in Springfield. I took to the art quite naturally and found myself buying a couple knives the first night and carving for about 15 hours the first week.
After finishing my graduate degree my wife and I moved to Ozark and I began doing woodcarving on walking sticks and found them to be quite enjoying. Now we live in Sparta, Missouri, and I have started a small business called Creation Carvings. I started a website at creationcarvings.com and at handcarvedwalkingsticks.com; Lord willing I will be able to do more craft shows each year.
Woodworking has been very rewarding as it gives a sense of satisfaction in being able to see the finished project. My future plans are to continue carving and perhaps someday start chainsaw carving, basket weaving, painting, pottery and furniture making.
plate 1. Ozark Carver David Egesdal, originally from southern Iowa, holds one of his creations. October 2013.
plate 2. Fairy House Window and Roof.
Dave Egesdal notes, “These are called fairy houses or gnome homes. They are actually cottonwood bark carvings. The bark has to come from fallen trees (you can’t really tear it off a live tree). The carving was made from a large cottonwood tree alongside the Des Moines River.
“The tree had been struck by lightning years before I harvested the bark. It is special to me as that tree was down by the trailer court where I grew up. Everything there was surrounded by corn fields there in southern Iowa near Ottumwa.
plate 2. Fairy House Study.
“That tree was about six feet wide. It was truly ginormous.The cottonwood trees down here in the Ozarks are different. The bark doesn’t get at thick and it may be because of the winters. A lot of carvers get their cottonwood bark from Canada. If you look real close, you will see paper-thin layers — each layer is a year of growth.
plate 2. Fairy House Detail.
“When you carve the bark, you gotta go with what the bark has. Sometimes there are holes or wiggles off to the side because of the growth patterns.” — Dave Egesdal, Sparta, Missouri
plate 2. Fairy House Detail.