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Larry Green

“Situations and nature make life interesting and at times humorous. I try to express that with my carving tools, the wood and my paints to create carvings with delightful colors, vivid texture and happy feelings.”

Every time someone stops to watch Larry Green carefully slice into a block of wood, he remembers a day about 40 years ago when he was the person watching, not carving, and hopes history repeats itself.
Larry was attending an art show in the 1970s in Tulsa, Okla., when a woodcarver piqued his attention. “His carvings were lively, expressive, and detailed,” the Indiana Artisan recalled. “We talked, I asked questions. He saw my interest, and he volunteered to teach me. I often wonder if he had not been willing to invest the time if I would have become a woodcarver.”

The Daviess County resident carves stand-alone pieces such as a fisherman showing off his catch or a weathered work boot. He also carves scenes that are a happy mix of things he has seen or experienced and pure whimsy – a person with a shopping bag slipping on a banana; a child feeding squirrels while the grandfather sits on a bench reading a newspaper about the park’s squirrels.

“I prefer to carve caricature style rather than stylized or real-life studies to express my sense of humor and produce an immediate audience reaction,” Larry said.

He has demonstrated in the Woodcarving Shop at the Dollywood Theme Park and written six books on woodcarving for Schiffer Publishing, yet he still positions himself as a student. “I attempt to learn a new cutting skill with every new creation,” he said. “The constant adventure of discovery and transformation when changing a block of wood into an appreciated form keeps me picking up the knife.”

Using traditional tools, Larry starts each piece with northern basswood or catalpa because “they both take detail very well,” he explained. Carvings are roughed out using a bandsaw then created only with knives and chisels. He does use a small drill, however, to position lace holes in his shoe and boot carvings.

“My technique is focused on keeping the knife and chisel cuts visible rather than producing a smooth carving,” Larry added.” The knife cuts create facets which reflect light and add dimension to the carving. Defined cuts evidence the carver’s strong knife action on the wood.”

Having taught woodcarving for nearly 20 years at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C., is one way Larry passes down the craft “like that woodcarver in Tulsa did for me,” he said. “I demonstrate at every show in which I participate. Indiana Artisan provides that opportunity through the annual Marketplace, in the spring at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

“For me, Indiana Artisan serves as a guardian over quality and execution,” Larry added. “I know that the staff and artisans will provide support, encouragement and a network of like-minded individuals who embrace art as an expression of who they are. I need all three.”