Three local artists carve niche at Sheldon

Gary Starr – Carver Waterfowl Decoys and Birds
Following an education at the Cornell University School of Hotel Management, Starr first worked for ITT Sheraton Corporation, including an assignment at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Calif. Then he came to Vermont for a position as Director of Food Services at Middlebury College. 
How did he get into carving? 
His father Dr. George R. Starr, also a wood carver and hunter, taught his son. But it wasn’t until the Massachusetts native had spent 20 years working at Middlebury College, that he decided to leave food services and take on wood carving as a career. 
Today, Starr is a world-class self-taught artist who crafts decorative decoys and birds. He and his wife, Kathy, travel the world seeking inspirational birds that become stunning carved replicas when Starr returns to his Weybridge studio. During the exhibit at the Sheldon Museum, Starr will give talks about their birding travels and his carving history.
William Holway – Carver of Indigenous and Exotic Animals
“Elephant and Zebra” by William Holway
Bill Holway became an artist after an eclectic life journey — cross country hitchhiker, actor, periodic college student (UCLA, Tufts and RISD), attendant at a mental hospital and theological scholar. He first started carving as a youth in Rutland during a failed attempt to carve rocking horses. Later, he was one of the original craftsmen when Frog Hollow the Vermont State Craft Center was started in Middlebury in 1971. His goal was “to teach all his students safe ways to handle knives and to carve.” Holway’s carving creations have included puppets, rocking horses, eagles, and the varied animals that populated Noah’s Ark.
He is also known locally for his drawings. Holway used to give “performance drawings” at Kennedy Brothers in Vergennes, demonstrating his passion at lighting speed.
His work, now on exhibit at the Sheldon, includes a moose with an iconic rack of antlers and a prominent beard-like dewlap under its chin, a brown bear, a frolicking horse, and more exotic animals such as long-horned goat, hippopotamus, elephant, zebra, camel, and giraffes. 
Chuck Herrmann – Abstract, Interpretive Wood Carver and Vermont Wood Historian
After coming to Vermont as a teacher at the Bristol Elementary School, Chuck Herrmann supplemented his income by opening Woodware on Route 7 South in Middlebury where he offered wood products manufactured or crafted locally.  Soon Herrmann’s historian and artistic instincts led him to study the native woods of Vermont, the lives of the craftsmen, and the history of the wood industries in the Green Mountain State.
He left teaching and devoted his efforts as owner of Woodware, until he sold the store to his son Drew. Since, Herrmann has had time to concentrate on continuing his study of wood manufacturers and craftsmen in Vermont, writing and carving his imaginative, abstract interpretations of waterfowl. 
Herrmann’s carvings are a reflection of his deep commitment to the Vermont forest, its history and value. As an example, true to his investigative and collecting habits, he carved birds and waterfowl from remnants of a “root fence” that was once located on a farm field at New Haven Junction at the intersection of Routes 7 and 17.
He draws his inspiration from Henry David Thoreau whose December 1855 Journal described  the roots in a similar fence, “as not merely interwoven, but grown together into solid frames, full of loopholes like Gothic windows of various sizes and all shapes, triangular and oval and harp-like, and the slenderer parts are dry and resonant like harp strings.” But under Herrmann’s steady hand, the root fence became abstract, floating wild fowl forms. In addition to the root fence carvings, Herrmann’s work at the Sheldon includes carvings from walnut, sugar maple, cherry, spalted maple and honeysuckle.  Herrmann will be available for periodic gallery talks.
“Waterfowl Wonders and Amusing Animals” will be on view March 20-Nov 11. The Museum is located at One Park Street in downtown Middlebury across from the Ilsley Library. Admission is $5 adults; $3 youth (6-18); $4.50 seniors; $12 family; $5 research center. For more info call (802) 388-2117 or visit HenrySheldonMuseum.org.

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