Posts Tagged ‘penguin’

Swimming Penguin

_MG_0211Swimming Penguin – 17″l x 9″w x 9 1/4″ t – White Pine, Leather, Found Wood, Steel, Composite Croquet Ball – Available Email Here.


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Click here for Auction information

I love Charles Hart’s quirky penguins!  The personality of his lovely little (and not so little) penguins is one of the reasons that I carve penguins.  I limit my work to Indiana birds with two exceptions  — penguins and narwhals.  I wrote about Charles’ penguins quite some time ago here.

I’m led back to Charles Hart and his work because I came across his non-penguin work today.  Charles was a Massachusetts decoy carver.  Like many he carved miniature birds for the summer people.  When Richard Byrd’s antarctic adventures sparked a national penguin craze (c. 1930) he turned to penguins for the tourist trade.  His work has been featured on Antiques Roadshow and at some important auctions.

Here is a wonderful small grouping of sanderlings.

Click to Learn More

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This Weekend

I took a break from pounding out Christmas ornaments to stock up on new carvings for upcoming shows.

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Etsy treasuries are collections of artwork, sold on ETSY, that an artist decides to feature.  These artists, typically, have an item of their own that they want to showcase with similar items.  Space within the Etsy website for treasuries is very restricted.  When a slot becomes avilable artists compete (and get up at all hours of the night) to get their treasuries posted.

I’ve been featured in several treasuries.  To be honest it usually doesn’t mean much but it does bring a bit of traffic to your shop and it’s nice to know that your work is noticed.

Since I’ve bumped up my Etsy presence my reasury listings have gone a bit nuts.  In the last day my work has shown up in the following treasuries:


Tea With Penguins

Gnarly Narwhals

Wood You Please

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I am chasing may tail again ending a school grading period, working on new (and positive) Folk School projects and preparing for fall and winter art shows.  This is a good thing.  I thrive from beign busy.

Tomorrow evening I have my first art show of the holiday season followed by three weeks of time away from the day job.  I thrive during these breaks can adjust becoming a full time creator-of-things.

Below are photos of some of my newest work.  I’ve recently become enchanted by masses of small birds – birds on wires, birds on branches and birds on lamposts.  These situations present interesting rhythms, physical interactions and color.

In massing series of my carvings I am exploring those themes.  I also find interest in the implications these themes may have upon human interaction.

See these works at the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Mini, Friday, October 1 from 5:00 – 10:00 at the Harrison Center for the Arts at 16th and Delaware Streets in Indianapolis.

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6 3/4″t x 3 1/2″d x 3″w
White Pine, Basswood, Cherry, Steel
Number 73
Signed: GB Davis, March 2010, Noblesville, IN

Label: 50 Little Birds for Blue Stone Folk School, No. 73, GB Davis, Noblesville


Each of the 50 little birds is designed and carved using traditional hand tools. A specialized finish technique involves up to 20 different steps using traditional methods and materials to achieve a finish that not only looks old, but exhibits complex and subtle colors and textures. A visiting artist once offered that the birds beg to be held in the hand and rubbed.

50 Little Birds is a project begun early in 2009 in order to fund technology and construction costs at Blue Stone Folk School, a traditional arts program in Noblesville, IN. As of November of 2009 over $1500 has been raised for the school. Every dollar of sales of birds numbered 1-50 goes towards the Folk School. 10% of birds numbered over 50 benefit the school. For more information about Blue Stone Folk School and 50 Little birds visit http://www.bluestonefolkschool.wordpress.com.

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My work was just accepted into the Bloomington Handmade Market to be held on April 3.  It’s a good thing as I spent much of the late winter building inventory for this show!
The ladies running this show plan to publish interviews with artists over the three weeks leading to the show.  They sent a list of questions.  I submitted them this morning and they are copied below.

Name: Geoff Davis

Business Name: 50 Little Birds

Location: Noblesville, IN

What do you make?

I carve and paint small Indiana songbird sculptures.  I deviate from this a bit and also offer bentwood boxes, Fraktur (Pennsylvania Dutch Illuminated Painting) and an occasional carved and painted penguin or narwhal.

In Bloomington I will be offering bentwood Easter baskets.  I won’t have many, so please let me know if you are interested.

How did you learn your art/craft?

I grew up in a household where creating things was encouraged and knowledge came from tinkering and exploration.  My mother is was an artist and both parents were woodworkers.  Tools, supplies and creative role models were always at hand.  Over the years I’ve learned to design and build useful things from wood including boats and furniture.  It was when I was training to build ukuleles in Hawai’i that I realized that I had knack for carving wood.  50 Little Birds began last year as an effort to raise money for Blue Stone Folk School, a traditional arts program in Noblesville, Indiana.  I have donated 50 painted and carved birds to the school.  The sale of these birds has raised over $1500 so far.  Some of these 50 birds are still in my inventory. A portion of the sale of all of my work continues to go towards the Folk School and it’s programs.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

To be honest my wife is my muse.  I carve every bird to impress and delight her.  Sometimes it works!

I began to carve birds in an attempt to re-connect with my own ethnic heritage. Many of my projects, kayak, canoe and ukulele building, are so connected with specific ethnic traditions that were not my own.  My people, the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) were fascinated with bird imagery.  There was a tradition of itinerant carvers producing beautiful and colorful birds throughout SW Pennsylvania.

The birds are also an inspiration.  I wake every morning to songbirds and crows.  At night nighthawks circle my neighborhood.  We all observe bird behaviors as we go through our day.  I find that most folks have a bird or two that they consider to be their own.  It’s a joy to work with themes that run throughout everyone’s experience and make a strong and personal connection all people.

Do you have a “real world” job?

I teach 5th and 6th grade at the Key Learning Community, an Indianapolis Public School.  I’m also the founder and Director of Blue Stone Folk School in Noblesville.

Your five favorite things (can be anything!):

1 – My Family
2 – Crows in the Morning
3 – Long Solo Canoe Paddles
4 – Really Good Food
5 – Exploring

Who are your favorite artists/crafters?

The great Pennsylvania Dutch bird carvers:  Wilhelm Schimmel, George Stapf and “Schtockschnitzler” Simmons.

Charles Hart, a Cape Cod carver of penguins

William Coperthwaite, a philosopher, educator and hand-crafter in Maine

Where can we find you?


Blue Stone Folk School, Noblesville

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange (I hope to be at the June show!)

They also request 3 images.  I sent these…

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