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Lincoln artist carves his own niche out of wood

Reginald Lanier starts his creations with a simple block of wood. He draws the profile on for a side view and top view, then he cuts it out with a bandsaw.
For the final creation he shapes the wood with knives and sandpaper and then uses a wood burner to make the tiny details stick out.
The fish and ducks that he carves have feathers and scales that have been burned on one at a time. The process is slow and tedious but worth it.
“You want them to look as realistic as possible,” Lanier said.
Once the wood burning is complete he paints the carving for the final touch.
Lanier has been woodcarving since 1981. He has says he has always been good with his hands. His wooden creations include birds, ducks and even furniture.
For the month of November many of his bird and duck creations are in the library on display.
Some of his pieces are also on display in the Lincoln Cultural Center this month.
Lanier won second place for his “Brown Trout” wood piece at the county-wide art show at the Lincoln Arts Council this past week.
“This is the first time ever that I have entered anything and won,” he said.
It is also the first time that he has ever put any of his work on display. Until just recently, only friends and associates had seen his work.
He said the response has been tremendous.
“I have received phone calls at home with people telling me they thought it was great,” he said.
Lanier’s interest in carving wildlife comes from his interest in the outdoors.
Whenever he can he goes fishing and he used to hunt.
For more than 30 years he worked with the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. After retiring in 1996, he has found more time to carve.
Most of his talent is self-taught from reading books and observing other people’s creations.
“I see things and wonder if I can do it, a lot of it is the challenge,” he said.
Lanier also took an adult class on the art of woodcarving at Gaston College. At the beginning of the class, the instructor got very ill and passed away.
Lanier was the one who continued teaching the class.
“I progressed very quickly — I knew basically what was going on,” he said.
Now most of the creations that he does in his spare time are completed in the basement of his house.
His favorite part is seeing the final product.
“Each one has its own traits and characteristics that makes each one different,” he said.
Lanier is currently working on a rainbow trout carving.
“I get enjoyment out of doing it,” he said.
He said his favorite part is people who appreciate what he has to offer.
For more information call 704-735-3437 or visit the library during the month of November.

by Amy Wadsworth

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