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Carving artist: Charlie Cole’s whittling art to be featured at Greenwood show

By Julie Neal | Published Thursday, March 31, 2011

WHITTLING AWAY - Charlie Cole prepares to show his work at the Greenwood Art Festival April 9 at the pavilion. Cole will show pieces along with his sons who make arrowheads. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Pulling a simple pocket knife out of a belt holster, Charlie Cole whittles animal faces from knots he sees in polished wood canes. Cole’s work, along with several others, will be displayed at the Greenwood Art Show April 9.

”Several years ago, my daughter wanted to give her teacher a stick,” Cole said. “At that time, I was whittling, but I was making fishing lures out of cypress.”

When Cole asked what kind of designs his daughter wanted on the stick, she said anything. For inspiration, Cole uses the natural design of the wood to make characters such as snakes, owls and monkeys.

“All my children have one, several of my grandchildren and a lot of my friends, and I have a few,” he said.

Cole works on his art for as long as necessary with a particularly intricate one taking him nine months. However, he does go through dry spells.

“Sometimes I’ll go for a long time without opening my knife,” Cole said.

Cole has been a part of the art show for almost a decade and now his sons join him making arrowheads.

Art show organizer Dale Burks, said the show begins at 9 a.m., and it will also feature the works of Clark and Mark Cole, Bill Laster, Jodie and AnnMarie Wells, Archie Fairies, Wyatt Smithers and others. The Masonic Lodge will serve free lunch at noon and have been doing so for the 12 years the exhibit has taken place.

Art pieces are only available for viewing, and they will be set up at the pavillion. If the weather is bad, everything will be moved to the fire hall.

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