An Ohioan's First Foray into Palm Frond Carving

Text and photos by Bob Furia ("MLBob"), West Chester, Ohio
Palm frond decoys are a southern California favorite. But they're beginning to show up in unlikely places. Heck Rice made one for the Rappahannock show on the banks of the Chesapeake, and Bob Furia, from the heartland of America, tried his hand at this unusual decoy style. Results seem to say that good carvers are, well, good carvers!

Sometime during the summer of 2006, UPS delivered a large box to my doorstep. A Long Beach, California return address with the name "Bob Sutton" above it was the only clue to what might be enclosed. Upon opening the box, I was not all that surprised to see a collection of palm fronds with a hastily scribbled challenge scrawled across a piece of the foam packing: "Let's see what you can do with one of these! Have fun! CHEERS, Bob."

Over two months later, the fronds still sat untouched on a corner of my workbench. Then one night as I sat paging through a volume of the collected paintings of Audubon, a depiction of a bird with a distinctive shape jumped out at me. Inspiration reared its unlikely head! I looked to the frond on the workbench.... to the Audubon print of an American coot.... to the frond.... the print.... 


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Palm Fronds: Found Wood

By Bill Einsig

Thanks to Chet Wilcox, Bob Sutton, Del Herbert, and Anthony Donato for their support and advice in preparing this text.

Bob Sutton carved this palm frond Pintail in the early 1980s. It belonged to Bebe Hopper until 2008 when she brought it to Cal Open as a donation to the club's auction. However, it never made it to the auction but was purchased on sight by a collector attending the show.

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Across Divisions

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 Across Divisions
 by Bill Einsig

Thanks to Don McHugh who helped sort through entries at Core Sound to find greenwings in most divisions. Also thanks to the following carvers who created the pieces in this article: Mark Strucko, Karen Lynn Hess, Don McHugh, Tom Christie, Gary Doviak, James Lewis, Jerry Barkley, Bob Polini, Joshua Rose, Heck Rice, Robbie Robertson, Greg Sorrell, and Gary Joe Bryan.

For most noncarvers attending carving competitions, the rows of decoys and decorative carvings arrayed for judging create a bewildering scene.

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