Catherine is a wonderfully creative woodcarver who lives large, using chainsaws and grinders to create dramatic, wooden creatures, both real and mythical. She also carves small, delicate items, like chess sets. Catherine Wilson, also known under her business name of The Cottage Carver, started out whittling with a jackknife in the 1980’s. She came to love the feel of wood in her hands and was fascinated by how she could become totally absorbed in the process. In 1990, she took an intensive one-week bird carving course in Kingston and apprenticed there for a year, travelling back and forth from her home in Belleville. She eventually found that carving birds was too regimented for her free spirited ways and she felt too constrained, so she started carving other forest creatures, like gnomes and dragons. From there she moved on to carving other more elaborate creations. About eleven years ago she heard about a chainsaw carving course, and took it on a lark. She immediately fell in love. It was the perfect combination of noise and power and woodchips! Now her most popular works are her bear carvings that are in all manner of poses, expressions and are beautifully finished with varnish and stain.
Catherine now works out of her off-grid home/studio on Old Hastings Rd. north of Madoc, far from neighbors who may not appreciate her noisy pursuit. She purchased the property about 16 years ago and has lived there full time for the past 10 years. She is surrounded by cedars and can cut whatever and whenever her heart desires. Talk about using local wood! She uses a scaffold to reach the top of her carvings. She is getting busier all the time and last year she sold out of everything she made, including 40 bears, lots of rabbits, turtles and her other smaller creations.
She sells her wares at her store at her home and at the Bancroft Arts and Craft show in August. She sells out of her home studio from May till Thanksgiving but you may want to text her beforehand. Her road can be tricky in winter and is closed for winter just beyond her property. Catherine is now learning leather craft and will have tablet cases, belts, dog collars, card holders and hopefully laptop cases for sale this summer.