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....