Gettysburg gallery's First Friday to feature woodcarver
Chris Boone, who has crafted woodcarvings for more than 30 years, will discuss his work with guests at Gallery 30's First Friday event on March 4.
It's not unusual for a kid to want to follow in their dad's footsteps.
When Chris Boone watched his dad take on the hobby of woodcarving in the early '70s, the then-12-year-old latched onto the craft.
More than 30 years later, he is still chipping away at an art form that's practically second nature to him.
The master woodcarver will travel to Gettysburg this week to share his signature array of elegant decoys at Gallery 30's First Friday celebration, 5:30 to 8 p.m. March 4, 26 York St. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Boone while snacking on wine and cheese and taking in live music by local jazz artist John Bardi.
"They really do support the handcrafted American arts, so there are all different kinds of things to see when I go there," Boone, 53, of Matthews, North Carolina, said of the gallery. "There's always something new."
Gallery 30 in Gettysburg is one of Boone's best customers. For about 15 years, he has sold his carvings at the American fine art and craft hub on York Street. The carver said when he loads up his van with his signature decoys and travels to Gettysburg, he can bet that the merchant will lighten his load.
"They take just about everything I got," he said.
Boone broke into wholesaling his work in the '90s when he decided to make a career out of carving. Back then, fish carvings were popular, he said, but he eventually returned his focus to birds. His clients have included wetlands conservation champion Ducks Unlimited, high-end sporting goods retailer Orvis and mom-and-pop shops throughout the country.
Boone's repertoire has expanded to include numerous types of birds and other creatures like horses and zebras. Geese decoys are his most popular item.
His carving style has evolved, too. Boone makes the patterns and textures of the wood the star of the show, working to unveil the patterns within the wood grain. He achieves an organic look by leaving lichens and mosses on the bark undisturbed.
"I've really become more refined with my work," he said. "Instead of just taking it and quickly going through it, I have my tools now that I take my time with, and I'm not a really detailed artist, but I do like to bring out the real, natural, organic look of the wood."
Boone collects his own materials. He jokes that his car should have a bumper sticker that says "I brake for wood" since he often stops along the side of the road in his travels to check out trees or wood piles. He also works with local arborists to seek out supplies.
He is inspired by finding singular pieces out in the woods, such as a cedar stump he used to craft a flying goose. When a cedar stump is removed from the ground, it kind of looks like a set of wings, he said, so its natural shape helped him achieve his desired look. His favorite woods to experiment with include oak, elm and red cedar.
His home near Charlotte, North Carolina, is chock-full of his carvings, but he often thins out his collection by selling his prized works at places like Gallery 30.
Gallery owner Linda Atiyeh loves how Boone keeps the bark of his pieces intact, describing his carvings as unique and "absolutely beautiful." Showcasing Boone's work supports Gallery 30's mission to bolster independent, American artists.
"We're known for empowering artists," Atiyeh said. "We love his work."