Rarebirds by Dave Hughes
Topeka, KS

"I began to realize that I enjoyed creating things with my hands when I was a Boy Scout. A popular activity then was whittling objects, which we used as neckerchief slides on our uniforms. I found that I was pretty good at that, and taught other kids to whittle at summer camp. Later, in college, I earned a degree in Occupational Therapy and went on to make a 20 year career in the Air Force's largest hospital in San Antonio. I worked with the Air Force's only hand surgeon and specialized in creating unique braces and adaptive  devices for service men and women recovering from hand and arm injuries. After retirement from the Air Force, I began making wooden toys to sell at craft fairs, but realized that creating wildlife sculptures using driftwood and other old or weathered wood as my inspiration, was more satisfying. I am now 83 and spend part of every day in my small workshop doing what I feel I was meant to do: using my imagination and manual skills to create beautiful objects for others and myself to enjoy."