Couple Carves New Niche

ST. MARYS — Amidst the plethora of produce and baked goods, Gene and Debbie Knox have been selling handmade chip carvings since the Covered Bridge Farmers’ Market began several years ago.

Knox said he started making chip carvings in 1993 after he retired.

“(Debbie and I) went to a wood carving show in Indiana and there was a chip carver there and he was giving beginners lessons, so we signed up for one,” Knox said. “We took a weekend lesson and I just started after that.”

Knox creates a variety of chip carvings including wall decorations, coasters, canes and clocks. He begins his artwork by drawing a pattern on a piece of wood.

“I lay out my measurements in millimeters and use protractors and design tools to create a pattern,” Knox said.

Knox said it could take several weeks to complete a piece.

“Some take a lot of time and some go really quick,” he said. “It all depends on what you’re trying to make.”

Knox said patterns with small details take longer.

“The birds took a long time to carve,” he said. “If you look at it too long you get dizzy so you have to walk away and take a break.”

Knox said he gets his inspiration from several sources. He noted carvers often share patterns with each other. He got a pattern for an owl he is selling from a carver in Missouri, who obtained the pattern in Holland. He also gets ideas from shows.

“I go to a lot of carving shows and see what other carvers are doing and you can get some ideas from them,”  Knox said.

 Knox said he enjoys that his hobby is inexpensive. The cost of his carving knife was approximately $30 and the wood is not expensive. Debbie Knox added carving is a hobby that supports itself because her husband can sell his work.

The couple said they are looking forward to attending the Buckeye Woodcarvers Roundup at the end of July in Fletcher. The event brings in woodcarvers of all kinds from all over the country for four days of woodcarving, learning and teaching.

Knox’s chip carvings, as well as a slew of other items, are available at the Covered Bridge Farmers’ Market, which is held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at Memorial Park in St. Marys.