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Gene Webb - Featured carver of the month - April 2012

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of Townsend Tennessee is the workshop and residence of master wood carver and instructor Gene Webb.
Gene was raised here. And at the earliest age he can remember he was carving artwork  inspired by his lengthy explorations into the pristine wilderness.

As the featured artist this month at, we're provided with the honor and opportunity to get to know Gene a little better. And find out what inspires him and makes him tick.

Thank you for joining us and allowing us to interview you!

C.C. Can you explain briefly how you approach a new piece of work?

G.W. I usually decide based on orders of course but , also just what I feel like carving to a degree. I enjoy doing wall hangings,and like using  driftwood, Many times I'll just look at a collection of raw pieces and something will inspire me.
C.C. Do you "see" what youre going to carve before you begin, or do you just let it happen?

G.W.Well, in that same way, I'll have an idea in my head or an order for a project or many different ideas in my head and usually,  something about a particular piece of wood will jump out at me. For instance a bump or the grain or shape may just feel right for a mountain lion, or a bear or rattle snake,in the area I live in here there's a wonderful variety of trees and wood falls and shapes that lend themselves very well to the rattlersnakes so its a combination of both as far as that process.When I start with a raw piece of wood, and have the basic idea of what I want, I then start ruffing it out. Then it starts to become something more of its own, and I try to bring it out more. As the piece starts to become more to life it takes somewhat of its own direction.

C.C.What goals do you set for yourself as an artist?
G.W. My ultimate goal is just to be able to carve anything that i can envision. To have the ability to to reproduce whatever image or vision i can dream up. And as my ideas and imagination are always changing and becoming more broad, so does my ability. As i said before im constantly learning and looking for ways to become a better artist. I once had a friend look at a piece of work I had done and say "that's as good as it gets!" . Now, he meant it as a compliment but  I said to him, "I hope not! Because that would mean that i have no more room for growth" I love big cats so I want to continue doing more of those.I like doing more relief style carvings as well. I enjoy competitions as well, its a great way to see other artists work and learn from them and get an idea of how my work stacks up. I've been able to begin in regional competitions, and then up to state, national, and now world.                .
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C.C.What inspired you to begin to teach?

G.W. Well asa youngster,my folks brought me to see a man named Jim Wilsford. I started studying carving with Jim and what he really taught was to let go of my fear and carve with desire and joy, I had to get over a fear of some of the tools and also the fear of making mistakes. I try to convey that to my students today. Lots of folks say well, if you carve too much off a piece, you cant put it back, that's not necessarily true!  I've learned to fix many many things and "put back" something that I or a student may have ground off or broken. Having that ability and experience allows you to be able to carve more freely, with less fear. And that's when your really gonna be able to create your best work. You cant put it back? Not true!

C.C. Do you get more fulfillment carving or teaching?

G.W. I'd much rather be carving,, but, I enjoy seeing the same enthusiasm and creativity from students. Teaching helps me to be a better artist and stay open to new ideas and techniques. I learn a lot through teaching also by watching what someone that has a fresh perspective does. You know, someone new to the craft may just do something in a way that I havent before, or forgot about. It also keeps me on top of my skills. Because I feel the need to be my best when I'm teaching others.

C.C. What inspiration and encouragement do you offer young and beginner carvers?

G.W. Well, it's important for them to pick a subject/ project they like, and are interested in. Theyll be much  more likely to stay motivated, and stick with it if its something that has meaning to them.I like to start them with basic  hand carving but you get  quicker results with power,and its easier on young hands,and old hands too,, youre less likely to end up damaging your hands with carpel tunnel type injuries and find the technique that works for you,, get rid of fear,, and also,theres always someone out there that can help you.But definitely find what moves you and go with it!

We at would like to Thank Gene for taking the time for us to interview him and all his efforts .

If you have questions about him or this article please contact him directly, Gene also has a complete line of carving tools,kits and material available here on and his web site..

Thank you Gene !
                                  Carverscorner Team:
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