I don’t reference, dates or organization names at hand, but until about 80 years ago folks carved likes they pleased. The most common inspiration for songbird carvers were decoy carvers. In fact, decoy carvers often carved songbirds for the summer trade.
About 80 years ago these carvers began to compete and friendly carving meets. With these contests came rule and with rules the evolution of birdcarving was moved toward today’s expectations of hyper-realism. There’s nothing wrong with this, but my work beckons back to before the days of competitive carving.
To illustrate my idea of the golden era of carving I will occasionally feature the kinds of carving that I enjoy and the men that carved them. (Wouldn’t it be great to find a women carving during this period?)
Carved Calling Robin
Gus Wilson (1864-1950), So. Portland, ME, Ca. 1930
Well-carved with open beak, dropped wings, delineated primaries, and carved eyes. Essentially mint original condition. Leather “worm” is a later addition. See Engers’ Great Book of Wildfowl Decoys, page 37.