"One who works with his hands is a Laborer.
One who works with his hands and head is a Craftsman.
One who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an Artist."- St Francis
"Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” -Martin Luther King, Jr
not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup"
"Only when the last tree
has withered, and the last fish caught, and the last river been poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money." Cree
"Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches, it's more like a jar of Jalapenos--what you do today,
might burn your ass tomorrow"
So what does that got to do with the following? Nothing. I just like the quotes.
When I was around
eight years old on a sunny day in New Boston, New Hampshire my father and I were sitting on the back steps, and he was whittling
out a little horse from a pine branch. After he finished, he handed me a piece of pine and suggested that I copy what he did.
So, I whittled away and with a few suggestions from him I finally produced something that looked like a little horse. More
like a dog. I handed him the horse and folded the knife and gave that back to him. He inspected my work, smiled, handed it
back and gave back the knife and said, "It’s yours now." That was my first knife. Somewhere along the way
it got misplaced along with the little horse-dog or “treecarving” as my Swedish relatives call it.
I think it’s
kind of funny that in all those years I never heard the phrase Scandinavian Flat Plane Carving until 2003. A cousin living
in Sweden says it’s still “treecarving” over there and that flat plane is an American term.
Sometime in the late
80's a little old man came to my marble and granite shop in San Bruno, California. We talked about stone carving and woodcarving
and art on his visits. He turned out to be an artist who displayed at Maxwell's Gallery in San Francisco. I learned much later
in 2003 he is a famous woodcarver.
When I retired, I was thinking about him and remembered “treecarving”
and that brought back some old memories. My first carving was a turtle on a rock. Its head was a little out of proportion,
but it was really not too bad. I showed it to my sister, and she thought it was cool. I then saw Mariachi Band at a restaurant
and carved out a little caricature I called “Jose.” Sometime later my third piece became a fat little elf.
I never had any problems
with design or layout, probably due to my past in architecture and stone. And I had no problems with sharpening or knife strokes.
I cut myself though – more than once. By that time I had tried chip carving, caricature, sculpture, any type of
carving. Carving, carving, and more carving. All using a pattern or book. Patterns were not fun nor very interesting for me
and I struggled through them. The carvings turned out okay but in a short amount of time I lost my interest in wood carving
and I quit. So I thought.
Time passed and my wife and I were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and while cruising down the road
in my wife’s BBB (bright blue beetle) I saw a small piece of Ponderosa Pine about two feet long by the side of the road.
We pulled over, backed up and tossed it into the hatchback. Somewhere in Utah I carved a piece I called Woody (because it
ended up looking like the Toy Story character) using a 6" Bowie knife. Challenging that material in that way was
fun. That started me using found wood like bark and pine sticks. Junk wood and rejected pieces of wood. Piano legs and stuff
nobody else wanted. No books, no patterns, no pictures. Since then, I have tried to make each piece I do an original and do
not use patterns or pictures.
Anton “Tony” Erickson, was born in New Boston, New Hampshire and attended The Boston School
of Architecture and the Foundation College for Graphic Arts in San Diego, CA. After over twenty years of architectural practice
in New Hampshire, he moved to Oregon and then California where he was the founder and owner of a major marble and granite
company. Today Mr. Erickson resides in Deltona, FL with his wife of almost sixty years, Lucille.