British Birds

Join us for a trip across the pond to see what wildfowl carvers are doing in the United Kingdom.

By: Pam Wilson
Photography by Barry Woodcraft

Barry Woodcraft has experienced success at the Ward World Championship in Ocean City, Maryland. In 2010 his greater scaup pair—each carved from a single block of tupelo and painted with acrylic paints—won third in World Floating Pairs.

The decorative decoy came to the United Kingdom in the early 1980s, promoted by the late Bob Ridges. A seaman and navigator in the Merchant Navy, Bob saw his first decoys in New Orleans in the late 1970s, and the impact they had on him changed the course of his life. When he left the sea in 1980, he began to carve decoys in his spare time and subsequently returned to the United States to study decoy-carving techniques. Bob held his first exhibition in 1981, and it was so successful, he decided at the age of 50 to become a full-time decoy carver. Before long he began teaching others to carve decorative decoys. Many members of the British Decoy and Wildfowl Carvers Association (BDWCA) owe Bob for their introduction to carving. The BDWCA took wing in 1990 with the aim of promoting and developing the art of wild bird carving and to support the interests of all those who carve wild birds. It has grown steadily ever since. Currently, there are about 250 members. You can find the BDWCA's website at www.bdwca.org.uk.

This article is from the Summer 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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