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With Fronds Like These...

...carvers created some magnificent work at the 2010 California Open in San Diego.

By: Del Herbert
Photography by Elsa Flores

Best of Show in the 2010 California Open’s palm fronds division went to Daniel Montano of National City, California. He sculpted his Indian blue peacock from two large fronds.

The sun shone brightly, and the palm trees wafted in the breeze during the California Open in San Diego back in February. The palm trees made their presence felt inside the McMillin Events Center as well, thanks to the 15 entries in the show's palm frond division. Wildfowl Carving Magazine has run several articles about palm frond carvings in past issues (see Winter 1990, Summer 1998, and Winter and Spring 2005).

To recap briefly, palm frond decoys have a long history throughout central and northern California. Old-time decoy makers used whatever materials were available and cheap to fashion their blocks, and they found that the discarded trimmings of palm trees fit the bill perfectly. The palm fronds are the leaves of the palm tree. Carvers use the first few feet of the frond, starting at the butt end where the frond branches out from the trunk. The fronds have a tough exterior but a rather soft inside, almost like balsa.

This article is from the Summer 2010 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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