A carver's Creativity

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By Vince Luecke

Al Dauby shares 17 years of woodworking

One man's 17 years of devotion to woodcarving elicited oohs and ahs last week at Oakwood Health Campus in Tell City.

Al Dauby, a resident in the assisted-living wing of the facility, displayed his collection of carvings that range from elderly golfers and Confederate soldiers to a busy farm family and busty barmaids.

"My wrist went bad so I can't do it anymore," said Dauby, who shared the history behind his work last week with residents, staff and visitors. Some of the inspiration for the carvings came from magazines but he drew ideas from everyday life, past and present. A butchering scene shows a grizzled farmer and a gutted hog hanging from an old tree while the man's hound searches for scraps.

Dauby began carving at the age of 72 "because I was looking for something to do," he said. Art classes offered at Evangelical United Church of Christ drew his attention. Dauby planned to attend a course on painting but the instructor didn't show up because of illness. So Dauby watched a woodcarver for a few days. The instructor then put a block of wood in front of him and told him to start carving. He carved and carved. His late wife was a quilter, Dauby said, and "I sat on the other side of the living room, carving."

Dauby's collection also includes several images of Santa Claus and St. Nicholas with his miter and bags of gifts. One image of a praying Santa, his cap taken off in reverence, was part of an entire nativity scene Dauby once carved.