By MAGGIE M, Editor, the wedge.LIVE
You will be tempted to touch the life-size creatures carved by Ron Hanniman. This writer cannot grasp how anyone could carve the hairs of feathers, layer upon layer, out of wood. It seems to defy the laws of physics. This is perhaps why he toiled over each piece for up to two years.
I find irony in his fairy sculptures; they possess the right size hands to carve such fine detail. Hanniman at seventy vigorous years of age, is far from diminutive, his hands no less.
“I could be watching the news and my mind is one-hundred miles away thinking about how to make a feather fluffy,” Hanniman said.
“The heron, almost three feet tall, took a year and two months, an hour or two in the evening. I used all sorts of things, any tool that would get the job done. Steel rods run up the length of the body to keep it together including fifty to sixty pieces.”
“I recognize Ron’s art as something special,” Dave Pelkey, Founder of The Vintage Crate, and Curator of Hanniman’s works. For the first time, they are on exhibit this Saturday, October 7th, in Arnprior. The artist will also be present to meet the public and answer questions about his unique processes.
It will surprise you to learn, Hanniman’s sculptures are not for sale. He likes to give his works, especially hummingbird sculptures to person’s who are battling illness or afflicted by tragedy.
Pelkey himself is the recipient of Hanniman’s sculpture of a native Chief, a cherished piece, also on display at The Vintage Crate.
When Hanniman isn’t working with wood, he sculpts with flowers for major events; he is a long-established Master Flower Designer. He waxed about a seven feet tall peacock made entirely out of flowers.
“I picked up carving at Round Lake summer camp, between Killaloe and Pembroke, while volunteering,” Hanniman recalls. “I carved little things and gave them to the children. I had an x-acto™ knife; so, that’s what I used. Truly, I started carving as a young boy and returned to it.”
“There is calm in carving,” he adds.
Hanniman’s methods are natural, without instruction or influence. Every piece comes from deep within, an addiction you could say, to replicating the Creator’s creations. I believe if you left him alone with a fork or a spoon in the wild, there would somehow be a collection of miniatures and a few trees short of a few branches. He can’t help himself.
He carved a life-size Northern pike with a grinder, a drummel tool. None of us have seen it yet. It will be on display.
“I love birds. I study them. I started carving one bird, then another, and later, I began to draw them before carving. I have quite a feeder at home to study them.”
Every piece is signed with a gold pen, gold ink, almost imperceptible to the naked eye. Such is the humility is this creative soul.
Hummingbirds, herons, woodpeckers, owls, ravens, even fish, populate his collection. Eight pieces are now secreted out of seclusion for viewing, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., October 7th, The Vintage Crate, 159 John Street North, Arnprior.
His wife Sheryl, a former school teacher, will likely be present.
“We are always together and best friends,” he concludes.