The Whittler’s Wife & Vickery Ottaway

The Whittler’s Wife & Vickery Ottaway

The Whittler’s Wife & Vickery Ottaway

July 21, 2022
, 5:00 pm

Artist Reception 

For July, Midtown Gallery will be showing work by The Whittler’s Wife. In the jewelry cases, we’ll have work by Vickery Ottaway.
We will be holding a reception for them on July 21st. Please join us to view and purchase artwork and enjoy wine and refreshments.
This event is free and open to the public.

The Whittler’s Wife

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.



Vickery Ottaway

I have always had a deep love for pattern, color and shape. My copper patina jewelry pieces possess a simplicity in form with a bold pop of blue-green patina. The patina process is so exciting for me because I never know how the patina will turn out. It is that same feeling that a ceramicist gets when they open a fired kiln. Each piece of copper patina jewelry that I create is unique because of the patina process. I purposely use a thin gauge of copper so all of the earrings will be lightweight and comfortable to wear. 


My upcycled aluminum earrings embrace my love for folk art and the idea of creating something beautiful and functional out of discarded materials. I really enjoy playing with the different colors and patterns displayed on the aluminum cans I source. These pieces are meant to be fun and easy to wear. You might recognize your favorite beverage! The aluminum earrings are very lightweight and comfortable to wear also. 


My leather earrings are hand painted with colorful patterns. The leather used to make these earrings are leather scraps sourced from the private jet airline industry. I have also had fun creating some hand punched tinwork earrings made from industrial sheet metal. 


I was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas where I attended Southeast High School. I studied at the University of New Mexico-Taos and Wichita State University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and painting. I now live in Peculiar, Missouri with my husband and our children where I will begin teaching elementary art for the Independence School District this fall. I am also a graduate student at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri where I will soon finish up my Master of Arts in Education.


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