Make Mistakes!

You can learn from mistakes.

By: Tom Huntington
Make Mistakes

When my kids were young, they watched a PBS show called The Magic Schoolbus. The main character, a teacher named Ms. Frizzle, often advised her students, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” That mantra could almost be the motto for this magazine.

It’s only a coincidence, but lately we’ve featured several demonstrations in which the authors make mistakes. In part one of Glenn McMurdo’s bufflehead project (Summer 2014, and which concludes this issue), Glenn explained how he accidentally removed too much wood from the head and had to cut it off and make a new one. In last issue’s Ward canvasback demo (which also concludes this issue), Tom McCollum showed how he accidentally broke through the body when he was hollowing it. In this issue, Bob Lavender admits that he initially placed the eyes of his rose-breasted grosbeak in the wrong position.

I find it a little bit encouraging to learn that even these accomplished carvers can make mistakes. It’s even more encouraging to see that, when you do make a mistake, there’s always—or almost always—a way to fix it. Ms. Frizzle wasn’t just encouraging her magic school bus pupils to mess up for no reason. She wanted them to learn something from their mistakes. That applies as much to carving as it does to those, admittedly rare, occasions when you shrink a school bus small enough to explore inside a human body.

If I’m writing the editor’s column for the Winter issue, then I must have just returned from the Easton Waterfowl Festival. That is indeed the case. The trip to Maryland’s Eastern Shore has become one of those rites of fall for me. As always, I had a tremendous time talking to all the carvers in attendance and seeing their amazing work. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that regular contributor Al Jordan was this year’s Master Carver, a richly deserved honor. You can find photos from the festival of Al’s work, and that of many other carvers, on our website. The link is right on our home page, www.wildfowl-carving.com. Check it out!

This article appeared in Wildfowl Carving Magazine’s Winter 2015 issue.


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