Dennis Ruane Woodcarver

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I grew up in Hopwood, Pennsylvania, a small town in the southwestern corner of the state, and consider myself fortunate to have lived most of my life in the Appalachian Mountains.

As a boy scout, at the age of twelve, I received my first merit badge, woodcarving and was thus introduced to the craft that would one day become my livelihood.

My career as a sculptor began while I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, when I began carving and selling wooden spoons. In 1982, I abandoned a science career to follow the life of a craftsman, moving back east the following year.

An early interest in American folk carving characterized my work for the first decade and it was mostly of a traditional style and generally realistic. Over the next fifteen years my work evolved through many styles and subjects to its present contemporary form.

It is now characterized by simple flowing lines with the beauty of the wood an integral part of each composition.

In 1999, I moved to Waynesville, North Carolina and opened Hardwood Gallery. Hardwood Gallery was open for eight years and during this time, I broadened my repertoire and began carving more monumental pieces.

During the latter part of this era, I fulfilled a long time desire to write a novel. The urge to write a novel first came to me back in Wisconsin and at one point, I divided my spare time between writing and carving. However, carving took priority once I was making a living at it, and writing a novel was put on hold for decades.

In the summer of 2006 I self-published my first novel, Wooden Spoons. I have since written two more novels: Cataloochee Man was published in September of 2009, and The Man in the Room was published in December of 2012.

Photograph of Wood Pile

Hardwood Gallery was closed at the end of 2007. Shortly after, I purchased a house and a small building located near Marshall, North Carolina. Over the course of several years, I converted the building into a workshop and gallery. The Woodcarving Shoppe opened on May 12, 2011.

I named the property Studio on Walnut Creek and divide my time there between woodcarving, writing, and gardening.

“When we know how to be at peace, we find that art is a wonderful way to share our peacefulness.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Buddha carved in Walnut

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