Hello, we are Samuel and Rowena Culp of the Whittler’s Wife. Whittling is a more of American term coming from places like the Appalachian Mountain region to the western plains. Our whittling goes back into Scotland, Ireland, Scandinavia and Germany. The Vikings moved across these countries leaving many traditions. The Scandinavian term for whittling was flat plane carving. Which is used to enhance furnishings, creating art and sculpture. Italy and Greece had their own styles of ornate carving, in short there are many terms for the art of whittling or carving. Throughout Europe apprenticeships in this craft was common. The difference in classical carving and whittling is the level of apprenticeships for the technical knowledge. Most people who become adept in whittling have not completed structured apprenticeships, but through practice, self study and shared experiences achieve skills.
Some people just innately know they can make things in wood, 5 year old Samuel was one of these people. He absconded with a pocket knife from his grandmother’s purse.
Although she did not miss it, she would have eventually, but she had not needed it yet. Before she could miss it Samuel felt bad and returned it to her. When asked why he wanted it, he told her his desire to whittle and make things.
Grandma decided to let him have the knife. Like any grandmother she told him to be careful. This was the start of his self apprenticeship in whittling.
Samuel creates the traditional Scandinavian style of spoons using an axe and a knife.
In the beginning it took one month to create the first spoon. Now he can rough out the spoon in an hour and after completely drying do the finish work, averaging 1 ½ hours to complete a spoon. His self training process included various types of carving, such as relief carving, chip carving and sculpture. This transposes to into plaques, walking sticks, and pieces as detailed as portraits.
Samuel and Rowena’s business, The Whittler’s Wife was established in 2015 with Rowena selling his spoons. Samuel trained Rowena in the art of making wooden jewelry, turning that side of the creative process over to her.
Samuel’s philosophy for life and whittling is that anything can be accomplished with time and patience. No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish, if you keep at it a little at a time, eventually you will get it done.
Although there are challenges when couples create together, there is also a synergy that is created. This synergy enables Samuel and Rowena to attain levels of artistry that otherwise they would not reach individually.