Artist and his work ...
David N. Stehly was a self-taught wood carver who worked almost exclusively with walking sticks and canes for over thirty years. In his latter years he did include some other subjects in his works. (see "A Medley of Carvings" on the main page for examples)
He harvested and cured his own stock, working with nearly any wood that grows in eastern Pennsylvania. Each of his works is serialized according to the chronological order in which it was carved and bears a logo and serial number burned into the lower shaft.
He has carved and serialized over two thousand pieces.
Best known for his snakes
twined around the walking stick, the artist did these differently from most
carvers. Rather than working with vine-wrapped wood he sculpted each piece
from a solid log.
Most popular are his heads and faces. They include many biblical characters, a series of different fairies, and a variety of unrelated individuals such as sea captains, Native Americans, Vikings, etc.
The variety of things that the artist has carved on sticks is extensive. His works include dogs, cats, bears, rams, and horses. As well as frogs, turtles, lizards, and dragons; beavers, bulls, raccoons, and walrus; fish, pigs, and ladybugs; mice, squirrels, wolves, and otters; and a wide assortment of birds.
"A tree is a magnificent living thing -each has its own personality. It sprouts, it grows, and eventually it crumbles into the forest floor. To take a piece of a tree and turn it into a work of art, to immortalize it so to speak, gives me a deep sense of satisfaction."
- David N. Stehly