I noticed carvings in the background of a photo of Gary Knox’s apartment and asked about them. I could tell that they are award-worthy but, in all the years he’s been carving, he hasn’t entered any of them in the Iowa State Fair or anywhere else.
A smaller carving was in front of a photo of Gary and his late wife Verdeen. It looked like a small plain bird. I asked about it. He called it a comfort bird.
What pleasing simplicity. When he first heard about them, he looked up different designs, then made his own. He later asked if I’d like one. I didn’t realize he still did wood working. I was delighted, and asked if he’d walk me through the steps he does to make one.
I looked up “comfort birds” and found dozens of designs and even poems about them. What a wonderful idea to have something attractive, smooth, and just the right size to hold when you need it.
Catalpa is a pretty blond tone and has an nice grain to it. After a trial run with a practice chunk of wood, Gary sawed, chiseled, sculped, and sanded it into the shape he wanted. Then gave it a nice glaze.
My bird rests in a nest similar to Gary’s, although his sits on a bit of his daughter’s tatting.
He also sent a Ziploc bag with the wood shavings. As the daughter of a wood-worker, I love the scent of wood shavings.
He admitted that there’s something about the comfort bird that may just be more satisfying than his more intricate feathered feats.
I agree. And it’s nearly as comforting to glance at as it is to hold it.