Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Willard C. Mathis to Carve Canes and Walking Sticks at Kentucky Artisan Center

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, August 15, 2006  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Phone: 859/ 985-5448
Fax: 859/ 985-5449

On Friday, August 18, Willard C. Mathis of Valley Station, KY will be carving and sculpting canes from 10:30 – 3:30 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

As a retired long haul truck driver, Willard C. Mathis came to woodcarving relatively late in life. In 1992, when he became bored hunting from a deer stand one day, he broke off a dead tree limb and carved out a little fish which he presented to his wife. She in turn gave him some carving knifes and tools that Christmas and he was off and running!

Mathis has a small shop behind his garage where he works on his carvings. He states, “When I was young, I used to love to draw and I’ve even done a little painting. After I started wood carving, I went to U of L and took sculpting and painting classes for almost 3 years.”

Mathis starts his creations by sketching a design on a block of wood, sometimes researching the design in the library. Basswood is his favorite wood to carve because of its close grain, but he also uses cherry, cedar, apple and sourwood. He now buys his basswood as a whole tree and has it sawn into the sizes he needs. Mathis carves bears, horses, wild animals, dogs and takes commissions. His carvings are sometimes decorated with oil paints or finished naturally. A large amount of his carvings end up as walking staffs and canes, which is what  Mathis will be demonstrating at the Artisan Center on August 18.

Works by Willard C. Mathis can regularly be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center, located just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at 

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.