This is a very special and personal piece for me. My Uncle Harry loved the beauty of the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, especially in Alaska. For many years Uncle Harry took carving classes from Georg Keilhofer in Frankenmuth to hone his craft in carving the animals he loved.
The last item he started was a copy of an original bronze bald eagle sculpture by Kitty Cantrell entitled “Windwalker”, which was a soaring eagle with a 54” wingspan. He downsized his version to half size and proceeded with Georg’s guidance. The carving was roughed out in overall shape and some of the detail carving started when Georg unfortunately became ill and passed away. With this carving about a third completed, work on it stopped and sadly a few years later Uncle Harry also took ill and passed away.
Seeing this roughed out carving at my Aunt’s home afterwards I asked about it and was told its story. Giving it some quick thought, I decided that this piece in the rough had to be completed and offered to finish it for my Aunt. Knowing the work involved to complete the carving, she made sure it was something I really wanted to do and then agreed to let me do it. Compared to a sculptor that works in clay, carving a piece like this is difficult for a woodcarver because it involves dealing with the grain of the wood.
After many, many hours of layout, carving shape and profile details, along with a lot of very fine carving – much of it with a 1mm “v” chisel to carve the feathers and fine details – the eagle was completed. The eagle was stained and finished to give it a bronzed look like the original sculpture.
With my appreciation for her patience for the length of time it took to complete, this beautiful eagle carving was returned to my Aunt to take its place in her home beside the many memories she cherishes of her husband. While this was challenging and took a considerable amount of time and work to do, I was thrilled to complete what Uncle Harry started and see it now where it belongs.