Welcome to the Tree Wizard's Shop. Self taught, I have been carving since 1971. I am so Grateful to do what I do! Come on in and check it out!
I am a self taught wood carver, carving since 1971. I started carving while I was putting myself through college living in Auburn, California were I worked at the towns Recreation Department. I was going to college at Sierra College at the time. I saw a jig saw in a "Fingerhut" mail order catalog. I had never used a power tool before but thought that I could invest in this tool and maybe make Christmas gifts for my friends and family that I couldn't afford to buy. The saw was $19.99 and though it was a lot of money at the time, I felt I could make all of the gifts that I needed using some boards that I had found when I moved into the place I was renting if I bought this saw. I also invested in a little gouge and chisel set for $1.99.
That year I got so much enjoyment out of making those gifts. One of the first things I made was a branched tree within a frame that I gave to my parents that Christmas. From that year on I would think of what I might make for the next Christmas and then in the early Fall I would start to work, carving in the little bit of free time I had, working full time and going to school full time. It was such a wonderful thing to be doing. I had no examples as hand made things weren't a part of my existence up to that time. So each new thing I learned came straight from my heart and still does to this day.
I graduated from Sierra College in 1970 and then Sacramento State College in 1973. I worked in the Activity Planning Dept. at a huge resort called Sea Pines Plantation Co. on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina; an assistant director in a club house for a large adult community in Palo Alto, California; an assistant manager of a dry docked luxury liner turned into a bar and dinner house in Kodiak, Alaska; and a production manager for a small electronic manufacturing co. in Roseville, California. For those first years out of college I dreamed of perhaps being a wood carver full time and working for myself. I just didn't know were or how to start.
I was laid off from the electronic manufacturing co. in February of 1978. Business had gotten slow and the owners were going to restructure and my job wouldn't exist anymore. I began collecting unemployment and as I started looking for another job I realized that this could be my opportunity to try my hand at wood carving full time. Well, I became nearly addicted to making sawdust. I shared an apartment with a friend and set up shop in my bedroom. I had such understanding neighbors and a great room mate. I started finding new tools and ever so slowly acquired new skills. I was very self conscious of my work at first, as I should have been. The first pieces were very crude and very hard to sell. I had no sales skills or real carving skills. I remember laying on my bed one day in that apartment bedroom taking a break. I felt sort of lost at the time and then thought how if I had put myself through college, something that I didn't enjoy at all, I should be able to make a living at wood carving. I just needed to stick with it and carve for my life. I could see that I was learning. I moved around a lot in those first years of carving and met some great people. The people I met led to some great adventures.
I did a trip to Hong Kong, India, Bankok... with a friend I met at a Christmas craft show. Now that was an adventure to talk about at a whole nother time. I spent 8 months carving near Capetown, South Africa with some South African friends I had met at a craft show in California. And I carved and carved and learned so many things in those years.
Then in 1983 I moved to June Lake, California. It is a small village on the east side of the Sierras in California. It had a charming community of 600 people that I fell in love with immediately. I had a son, Cody, with Sallee there and we opened the Tree Wizard Gallery that we ran for 16 years. Sallee and I were together for 17 years and we had some good and some hard times. In the end we needed to part ways. All that time I was very involved with the community joining many of the organizations. I was on the board for the Chamber of Commerce, in the Lions Club, President of two different Arts and Crafts Guilds, and 11 and a half years on the June Lake Fire Dept. that I left being the assistant Fire Chief which I loved dearly. Living at 7700 foot elevation was an amazing experience and made for many challenges and many close relationships. That was a very rewarding time in my life.
My son Cody graduated high school in 2003 and the two of us moved to Cave Junction, Oregon. I helped a friend with his Burl business and in 2008 met my current partner, Susan. She is amazing! I started selling on etsy in Oct. of 2009. Etsy has changed my life! No more galleries, no more shows! I work at home and love it! Cody is now in Girdwood, Alaska with his partner Andie and baby, Aurora.
LIFE IS GOOD!!