Ridge Pursuit, Part One

How a cordial lunchtime conversation evolved into one of the most unique, ambitious, and challenging carving commisions of my career

By: Floyd Scholz

Floyd Scholz poses with the yet-to-be painted gyrfalcon.

It began the way it usually does: with a story about birds. Once people become aware that I create intricate bird carvings out of wood, it’s as though they can’t avoid the topic of feathered creatures. It seems that everyone has a story to tell about birds. Everyone! From tiny hummingbirds to mighty eagles, birds, by their very nature, occupy a unique and powerful place in human imagination and often trigger some type of emotional response. People notice them, sometimes fear them, but mostly admire them. In some way, they are touched by the birds they encounter.

Last year, I visited some friends who are also collectors of my work, and we met at a wonderful restaurant they affectionately refer to as their “World Headquarters.” During lunch and a glass of wine, the topic of conversation turned to birds.

My friend Rob commented on how he loves to watch the startled birds in a flock of snow buntings simultaneously take flight. He described in detail how they seem to fly as a single unit as they weave their way down his long and winding driveway whenever he returns home.

“This happens all the time, especially during the long, bleak winter months,” he reflected. “Sort of a welcoming committee.” Suddenly, he redirected his focus at me. “That’s it!” he said, eyeing me from across the table. “Have you ever carved a snow bunting before?”

I immediately replied, “Not yet!”

This article is from the Summer 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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