The Art Association of Jacksonville welcomes three local artists to The David Strawn Art Gallery during November. Woodturner Herschel Carriger, decoy carver Marvin Ford and photographer Will Musgrove will be honored during an opening reception on Saturday, November 5, from 6 – 8 p.m. “Gallery Talk” by the artists will be held at 6:30 p.m. The gallery opening is free and open to the public.
After Herschel Carriger retired from farming several years ago, he bought a sawmill. He had a plentiful supply of potential boards for wood turning projects from his timber. He first became interested in turning bowls after seeing a fellow woodworker, Hap Vortman, make them. It was after Carriger learned the techniques of bowl turning from Mr. Vortman that his bowl turning career developed. Carriger has been turning bowls for about six years. First, he cuts the angles of the wood (a very critical step), and afterwards he glues the pieces together, which need 24 hours for the glue to set properly. He then cautiously and attentively turns the wood into bowls on his wood lathe. His favorite part of this process is seeing the bowl take shape as it turns on the lathe. Afterwards, a great deal of time is required to sand each bowl to a smooth finish. Each bowl is then finished using different oils, lacquers and shellacs, which highlight the color and characteristics of each type of wood used.
“Carvin’” Marvin Ford is a self-taught artist who has been carving wildfowl for around 40 years. He found his love for carving decoys first by hunting ducks. While Ford no longer hunts, he still uses his knowledge of their species, attitude and overall appearance to help recreate them in wood, which he finds much more rewarding than hunting them. Ford’s process begins by determining which bird he wants to carve, then choosing a pattern from which to work. He then makes a template, which he transfers onto basswood, tupelo or northern white cedar. Ford uses a band saw to rough out the decoy and then he is ready to actually start carving. There are several types of decoys that Ford carves: there is a “smoothie,” or non-textured carving, and there is also a textured carving. A “smoothie” decoy can be carved in about 10 days, whereas a more detailed, textured carving can take twice as long. Ford uses acrylic paints on all his work because it is fast-drying and also because he needs to hold his carvings by hand to paint them. Ford says that painting a decoy is more important to producing a good bird than is carving. After painting each piece, he sprays it with matte clear sealer on the body and applies Briwax on the bill or beak to leave a soft, natural shine.
Will Musgrove is a Jacksonville resident and a central Illinois native. The David Strawn Art Gallery show will be Musgrove’s first showing of his digital photography. He notes that a gallery show of his work was on his “bucket list,” as well as playing the organ at Busch Stadium! His process is not to intentionally set out to photograph certain subjects. Rather, his incredible results are from leisure time with his digital camera in hand. His images often reflect the vernacular objects, signs, buildings, streetscapes and landscapes that make up our rural surroundings. Musgrove strongly believes that there is latent beauty everywhere and in the everyday. He has noted that while assembling this collection to be displayed, a common undercurrent developed: “… a twinge of melancholy, a potential not realized, or a glory that peaked in days gone by.” Musgrove tries to find and respect each subject with dignity even if on the outside it appears spent or discarded. Musgrove says that he is still learning the art of photography, which is likely to become a lifelong pursuit.