My mentors were just that, mentors. Several couldn't afford the expense that having an actual apprentice would cost; others were not interested. But then by the 1960s, the old apprenticeship programs in crafts like carving were gone.
No matter what I did, something was wrong with the grapevine I was carving. My mentor Warburton took one look and snickered. I decided that as a sign that it was terrible, quite terrible.
There is a parable in the boat building Trades, it also applies to maritime carving: Want to know how to make a small fortune in the trade? Start with a large one—best of luck.
Lots of us have small shops either through design or necessity. In my case, I deliberately downsized as I shifted from doing larger maritime work like quarterboards and transoms and started focusing on ship and boat portraits. Whatever reason you have for smaller quarters, I encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom that large is always best.
In January, I started what I thought to be a quick project for a portrait of the halibut Schooner Republic. There was not much online where I began, and even less available in terms of print sources. My collection at home also came up dry. I was able to complete the project in March but wished that I had better documentation.
Free is a dangerous word, and worse, it's a slippery concept. Why? Well, it opens the path for the abuse of generosity.
I was at my booth at a boat show in Maryland when another maritime carver came to visit. Lordan was the local "yaahd cavaah," as we'd describe it in New England.
I am not a super fan of Bob Dylan, but a line from one of his songs has always summed it up for me: " He not busy being born is busy dying." Grow, change, keep being born.
Share; be generous.
We so often admire the complex and then seek out and appreciate the simple