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Woodworking: duck decoys
John Bundy

“My family’s love of nature inspires us. We are always developing new pieces, but our love of native woods has been unchanged as we continue to create carvings, furniture, functional works and more, all from fine Indiana hardwood.”

Duck decoys are a true American art form. None were used in Europe or anywhere else until Native Americans started the practice more than 1,000 years ago, as a way to lure ducks closer to the hunters. “Our forefathers observed this and started carving working decoys from wood,” John explained. “Back in the ‘70s, we found there was an interest in wooden decoys made the old-fashioned way. It had been many years since old decoy carvings were made by Mason, Evans, and the Ward Brothers and the supply of wooden decoy carvings was drying up, so we decided to start carving duck decoys.”

John and Valarie Bundy have an innate appreciation of when a piece is made correctly and “looks just right,” as well as deep admiration for the history and tradition of their art. Bundy Ducks are called decoys because their shapes resemble real working decoys.

These Hamilton County artisans studied what other people had done through the years and learned the craft by trial and error. “Over time we developed our own unique signature carvings,” John said. “In what began as making family Christmas presents and a mistake in the finish, we discovered the unique process of using the natural grain of the wood for a pattern. Bundy Classic Decoys were born.”

The Bundy Overlay Process is unique in the world and has never been duplicated. Over the years, this process has been honed and perfected to a combination of wood grain, color, and shiny finish.

John Bundy descended from generations of American craftsmen, and he and Valarie have lived in Indiana all of their lives, spending the last 30 as wildlife artists.

Bundy Ducks can be found in homes around the globe, including in several palaces and the White House Oval Office. They also are displayed in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, 83 Spring Street in Eureka Springs, Ark., and Mackinac Island, Mich., to name a few destinations with Bundy work as part of the décor.

“We have always enjoyed working with fine pieces of wood and creating pieces that were loved by collectors from many walks of life,” John added.