Darryl Swaine describes himself as a wood spirit carver. Self-taught, he began carving after inheriting tools belonging to his grandfather, a gun stock maker. He wanted to put these tools to good use, so began working with wood.
Darryl started with decorative bird carvings. But on a family trip to England to visit with relatives, he was fascinated by the legends of King Arthur and, especially, Merlin the Magician.
“To gain inner vision, Merlin called upon the Hawk of Gwales to pluck out one of his eyes and drop it into the Pool of Knowledge. A salmon ate his eye which then gave him inner vision and his ability to see into the future.”
Darryl carved his first wizard several years ago and has been looking for Merlin the Magician ever since. To date, he has carved over 500 faces, but says he still hasn’t found Merlin.
Much of the wood Darryl uses is from the bottom of the Clyde River where there used to be several mills. He dives to look for the pieces of wood, dries them over a period of two summers, and only then begins his carvings. He prefers to look for the personality or spirit in the wood as opposed to the other way around of carving something out of a piece of wood. “Look at the wood, follow the grain, and you will find someone there.”
Darryl currently resides and carves in Clyde River, Shelburne County, NS.
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