Ender shows off carvings

By Joyce Ervin

Owner, Ryan Wilman, of the Morning Owl Coffee Shop in Milan is a promoter of the arts and appreciates all artisans’ works.  Besides hosting large events, Wilman allows local woodcarver, Richard Ender, to set up shop each Thursday morning,  while he carves pieces that are put up for sale and educates customers on all things wood.

Though Ender uses a variety of woods for his carvings, he’s not your ordinary carver, as he carves tree bark; mainly cottonwood.  After scouting local forests for the trees, and using only the bark from downed trees that have weathered for at least a year, he will begin removing the bark.  “Tree bark is a beautiful natural material,” Ender said.

He looks for sections of bark that have odd angles, runs crooked and has lots of texture.  Cottonwood bark is generally two to three-inches thick but can be up to 12 to 15-inches which give Ender the ability to carve different items.

He admires the beauty and texture of the bark and then decides what to carve.  Mostly he carves miniature houses from the bark.  Many people buy the intricate little pieces for fairy gardens and Ender said several sold recently as Christmas ornaments.  Dave Baldwin stopped by for coffee and said, “I saw a woodcarver who creates small cities out of bark.”

Besides his houses Ender creates spoons, canes and walking sticks often made from butternut wood.  The items aren’t pricey ranging from about $20 to $60.  “It depends how much work I put into it,” Ender said.

On a recent Thursday morning, while educating people about his craft, Ender said, he taught a young boy about five or six-years old how to carve a snowman using a bar of soap.  He learned his craft by attending a gathering held at the Pittsfield Senior Center years ago and meets there regularly with a group of men that help each other better their craft.

You can reach Ender, who tries to visit the coffee shop each Thursday morning between 8 a.m. and 12 noon, or call 439-2545.  His items remain on sale throughout the week.

The Morning Owl Coffee Corp. is located 9 West Main Street in downtown Milan.  For information, call 734-508-6340.

Joyce Ervin is a freelance writer.  She can be contacted at: jlervin42 [at] yahoo [dot] com.


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