In February Rob entered 3 of his carvings in the Arizona Desert Woodcarving Show held in Mesa, Arizona. This is a prestigious judged national show attracting around 300 carvings annually. Again, this year Rob received ribbons for all three of his entries. Rob entered “Wild and Free” and “Quiet Keeper of the Marsh” into the realistic bird categories and his recent caricature “Jake the Snake” won in the caricature category.
Rob is President of the Southwest Woodcarvers Association, a Tucson based woodcarving club that has around 90 members who frequently undertake club projects. This year the Club decided to carve Eagle Head canes and donate them to the “wounded warriors” at the Veterans Hospital in Tucson. Rob instructed the carving and painting of 23 canes that were donated to the Hospital in May and will be given to those veterans in need over the coming year. This is the 5th time the Club has undertaken the Eagle Head Cane project and over the years has donated over 125 canes to needy veterans.
Rob received an invitation from the well-known Tohono Chul Park and Museum to show one of his most impressive life-size birds in a two month show titled “Mountain Islands – Life in the Sonoran Desert.” The show focused on the special life zones found associated with the mountain ranges of southern Arizona that rise up from the desert to high altitude peaks. Rob’s Prairie Falcon titled “Sentinel” was placed on a special pedestal in the entryway to the show and was the opening piece of art that show goers saw first. This falcon is a well known bird of the desert, canyon, and plateau country of the Sonoran Desert and lives in, or visits, all of the life zones found in the Sonoran Desert.
Some of Rob’s project s are a bit different. He was contacted recently by a couple who had purchased a 3 foot tall wooden “Santo” many years ago in northern New Mexico from a carver named “Ortega.” The carving is from a natural cottonwood log with rustic face and arms nailed to the body of the log forming the likeness of a priest or “Santo.” These rustic carvings are famous in northern New Mexico, many of them fashioned by local carvers for their local rural church. Over time the carvings became famous as an expression of local folk art and are now highly prized and collected. The couple had one of these rustic carvings and it needed major repair…having lost a hand along the way and suffered a lot of tree rot and termite damage. They wanted it to be repaired and renewed…but did not want it to lose any of the “character” it had gained over time. Rob undertook the job and completed the project even saving the penciled artist’s name on the rotten base (“Ortega”). The carving has now gone home and resides within this couple’s residence and not on the back patio!