Talented people in our neighbourhood

A nuthatch carved by Jennifer Couperus of Queensborough. Jen's carvings have amazing detail in them.

A nuthatch carved by Jennifer Couperus of Queensborough. Beautiful, isn’t it?

I’ve mentioned before that the Queensborough area seems to attract people with artistic talents – and/or seems to bring out people’s innate talents. And I’ve mentioned a few of them already, people like photographers Dave deLang and Pauline Weber, painters Norah Hiscock and Vera Burnside, and quilter Goldie Holmes. Recently Raymond and I met a talented musician who lives there, Mike Acerra of the band Northern Voodoo. I’ve written about the art school that used to exist in nearby Actinolite, and how its students often came to paint Queensborough scenes and buildings. Whether it’s the landscape that attracts artistically talented people, or the presence of other such talented people, or something in the air or water, or a combination of all of the above, I don’t know, but it is nice to be in a place like that. And without any doubt there are many others whom we haven’t yet met, though I sure look forward to doing so.

The local artistic talents come in many forms, and one that was kind of new to us was wood carving. I’ve made frequent mention of our friend Ed Couperus, an excellent carpenter who also keeps an eye on things at the Manse for us, and his wife, Jennifer. What I haven’t told you about is the wood-carving that they do.

I believe it was Jen who started carving first, and she’s been doing it for several years and has received awards and recognition for her work, which mostly features animals and wildlife. And I think she got Ed interested, and his carving has taken a different turn: he produces beautiful and unique wooden bowls. They are both serious about and dedicated to the work, and I know they spend long hours perfecting every piece. I asked Ed and Jen if they’d mind if I did a post about their work, and they were kind enough to give me some photos of pieces they’ve done recently and not so recently. Here are just a few:

Woodpecker, Jenifer Couperus

Woodpecker, Jenifer Couperus

Wolf, Jennifer Couperus

Wolf, Jennifer Couperus

Fox, Jennifer Couperus

Fox, Jennifer Couperus

Detail, polar bears wrestling, Jennifer Couperus

Detail, polar bears wrestling, Jennifer Couperus

Bear, Jennifer Couperus

Bear, Jennifer Couperus

Bowls, Ed Couperus

Bowls, Ed Couperus

Bowl, Ed Couperus

Bowl, Ed Couperus

Bowls, Ed Couperus

Bowls, Ed Couperus

Look at the attention to detail in this view of Jen's howling wolf. That is very fine, painstaking work, beyond the patience or ability of the vast maority of us.

Look at the attention to detail in this view of Jen’s howling wolf. That is very fine, painstaking work.

Amazing, aren’t they? I only wish that the photos Jen and Ed sent me had included two of Jen’s most recent works, which we saw at their house just before Christmas. One was a small and delicate and beautifully done deer; the other, stunningly lifelike, was a good old Canadian beaver. It’s the attention to detail that I am especially struck by, and I can only imagine how painstaking the work must be to bring out that detail.

The thing that’s really cool to think about is the process by which any sculptor – Jen and Ed in wood, or those who work in stone or marble – finds a piece of wood (or stone, or marble, or whatever), and sees something in it, sees what it could be. And then the long, slow, painstaking work of bringing that image out of the wood, or stone, or marble, and giving it all the detail needed to make it seem – well, like a living thing. I would be fascinated to watch that process from start to finish. I think I feel a video, or time-lapse-photo project, coming on. I must speak to Ed and Jen about this!

Finally, because this last photo was included in the ones Jen and Ed sent me, I just can’t resist using it. Because, you know, I love cats, and Jen and Ed’s cats (whom we have met a few times) are just A-1. Here is Cat and Nuthatch:

cat and bird

9 thoughts on “Talented people in our neighbourhood

  1. I see you love cats also. Your mother was right. A home is not a home without a cat. I have had several cats in my life time,some strays and the rest from the Humane Society..I am sure that they will ajust when you move.The wood carvings are beautiful. Queensbourough does have a lot of artistic talent. Betty.

    • Glad to know there’s another cat-lover out there, Betty! Sadly I think the older of my two cats (black and white Sieste) may never make it to the Manse; she is definitely showing her age in recent times, is quite deaf, and doesn’t get around like she used to. W may have to rely on tubby Bayona to go after the mice!

  2. I love Jen’s delicate nuthatch…can almost hear his little Roadrunner ‘meep’ as he navigates the trees and feeders, upside down.

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