Kentucky Tourism

Mathis, Williard C — Woodcarvings by W C Mathis

Louisville, KY


carved wood canes

As a retired long-haul truck drive, Willard Mathis came to woodcarving relatively late in life. In 1992, when he became bored while hunting from a deer stand, he broke off a dead tree limb and carved out a little fish, which he later presented to his wife. She gave him some carving knives and tools for 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 woodcarving, I went to the University of Louisville and took sculpting and painting classes for almost three 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 carving wood because of its close grain, but he also uses cherry, cedar, apple and sourwood. Mathis carves bears, horses, wild animals, dogs and also does commissioned work. His carvings are sometimes decorated with oil paints or finished naturally. A large number of his carvings end up on walking staffs and canes. Mathis is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program.

 Works by Willard C. Mathis can be found at the Kentucky Folk Art Center, Morehead, KY; the Gourd Patch Gallery, Cynthiana, KY; The DamselFly Gallery, Midway, KY; and at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.