November-December 2010 | CARVING HIS NICHE




Doug Fisher’s wildlife creations have found a new home in Snow Hill

When you enter Bishop’s Stock in Snow Hill, don’t be surprised if you’re treated to the sight of a white-haired figure with an honest face and strong hands toiling away at a workspace discreetly littered with an aromatic pile of wood shavings and dust. That would be Doug Fisher, Bishop’s Stock’s artist… er, a, carver-in-residence.

The aptly named Fisher is actually a very talented, expert duck carver — but don’t call him a “master carver,” because he will very quickly set you straight.

“I’ve been carving for about six years now,” said Fisher, “which in relative terms basically means I’m a rookie. Master carvers are on a whole different level.”

But what Fisher is far too modest to point out is that rookies can sometimes also be prodigies, and it certainly looks as if this lifetime Snow Hill resident might be one. Beholding the meticulous craftsmanship and raw beauty of his mallards, Scaups and American Black Ducks, it’s quite easy to get that impression.

Fisher discovered his love of carving because of his longtime passion for duck hunting. And while both are still very much a part of his life, it just may be that the more creative of the two hobbies yields even more satisfaction.

“At this point in my life,” Fisher shared, “I find duck carving not only a valuable creative outlet but also extremely relaxing, to the point of being therapeutic.”

He made his bones (to borrow a phrase from a rather different vocation) carving ducks out of cork, which he reports is a very serviceable and economical material for such work. It’s also relatively lightweight, which is conducive to use as a decoy.

But with the passage of time, Fisher finds that people are increasingly seeking out his talents for the creation of decorative pieces, which has caused the former new-construction real estate salesman and landscaper to broaden his materials base.

“The majority of what I carve these days is made out of either cedar or tupelo,” he said. “Cedar carves really easily, allows for greater detail and has a great texture, whereas tupelo is very soft, light and responds well to power carving tools.”

Fisher uses a combination of tools to create his works of art that includes high-grade-steel single-handled knives and dual-handled draw knives in addition to power tools and, obviously, sanding equipment.

He began working with Bishop’s Stock in August 2010, when proprietor Ann Coates – whom Fisher has known since childhood — decided that her expanding business dictated the hiring of some strategically placed personnel.

“As the gallery began to expand, and we took on new endeavors, like staying open year-round and adding our wine division,” said Coates, “it became rapidly clear that we needed someone else here to run things when I couldn’t be there. Doug seemed the
perfect choice, since my husband has known him since kindergarten, and we trust him. Besides, I thought it would be great to have a resident artist working in the gallery when people came in to view our collection.”

Meanwhile, Fisher reports that he is also broadening his horizons, adding fish and probably shorebirds to his growing model collection of Eastern Shore wildlife.

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