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 Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The Road Not Taken (l. 18­20), Robert Frost (1874­1963), U.S. poet


About Matt Kelley


On Woodcarving:

One day long ago, in a place far away (well okay, it was in July 1991 in Estes Park, CO) my lovely wife and I happened to wander into a woodcarving gallery. Twenty minutes later we walked out with a Santa carving and a set of palm tools. The next day Mountain Woodcarvers was discovered, and more money left in exchange for a Warren #1310 handle, a blade assortment, a basic sharpening kit and a copy of Santa and His Friends: Carving with Tom Wolfe.

A week later I was at Camp Crooked Creek, Kentucky with a bunch of Scouts, where I had my first learning opportunity with my new tools.

Now all these years (and wood chips) later I still have that first attempt at carving, a 3/4" scar on my left palm, and a glove to cover that scar!

The library of carving books has been added to considerably, as has the collection of knives, palm and mallet tools, sharpening equipment and carving material.

Along the way I have been fortunate to take classes from (or with) some of the finest carvers in North America, including Ivan Whillock, Marv Kaisersatt, Tom Wolfe, Harold Enlow, Eldon Humphries, John Burke, Pete Ortel, Pete LeClair, Carole Jean Boyd, Steve Prescott, Bob Travis, Gary Falin, Floyd Rhadigan and Sandy Smith.

Most of my carvings are in-the-round caricatures, but since taking classes with Ivan Whillock in traditional carving techniques, I have been working on more realistic projects. I've also been known to carve cottonwood bark and cedar fan birds.

In additional to carving, I am the owner/editor of The Carvers' Companion, home to:

All of there resources may be found at The Carvers' Companion web site, http://carverscompanion.com

I am a member of the Advisory Panel for Carving Magazine, a mass-market carving print magazine.

Aside from the art itself, the best part of being a woodcarver are the friends discovered along the way. Woodcarvers are some of the most down-to-earth, sharing people you'll find. Be sure to visit some of my many carving friends via the Carving Friends page.

Two of the most common questions asked of a woodcarver are "How long have you been carving" and "How long did it take to carve that (Santa, woodspirit, etc) to which I respond:

The answer to the first question? "'bout twenty-two years!"

The answer to the second question? "'bout twenty-two Years!"

The Other Stuff - there is life beyond carving! Really!!

My former daytime job was at the University of Michigan, where I worked for 38 years, the first 21 in Facilities Management at UM-Flint and last 17 as a financial manager in Information & Technology Services. I am a long time UM football fan (Go Blue) , and have spent many a happy Saturday afternoon in the Big House.

The lovely Catherine and I share our home in Flushing, MI with Gus, Jack and Meg, our West Highland White Terriers Our two sons are University of Michigan grads. The oldest has degress from UM-Flint and UM Law, and is an attorney with the Social Security Administration Appeals division. The youngest graduated from UM-AA with a BGS and is the Lead Technician at the UM Computer Showcase Repair Center.

In addition to woodcarving, interests include:

Reading - with both my wife and I constant readers, the ever growing library frequently forces me to figure out where to properly store more books. Interests include mystery, suspense and adventure novels, science fiction, the occasionally political or military novel. (Favorite Author list forthcoming.)

Music - traditional Irish/Scots/Celtic/American music; classic music, swing dance music, 60's & '70's classic rock. (Favorite Artist list forthcoming.)

Swing Dance - did someone mention swing dance? We started taking swing dance classes the summer of '01 and haven't looked back. We belong to the Great Lakes Swing Dance Club, for which I am webmaster. Over the last several years we have attended swing dance conventions in Cincinnati. Columbus, Piegon Forge and Nashville.

Travel - we have traveled extensively in the American southwest, and would return to Ireland and England at the drop of a hat. Irish pubs have good food and some of the best pub ciders around, except maybe for Woodchuck Draft Cider, which is produced on this side of the Big Pond.

Last Update 1/14