Chet Jablonski

Back in 1989, when Chet Jablonski contemplated what would occupy him in rertirement (he was a math teacher at Exeter High School in New Hampshire for 32 years, retiring in 1994), he knew he wanted to learn to do something to keep him occupied.

His "learning" of choice was painting and carving birds, with an emphasis on carving as it would require him to use his head as well as his hands. Plus, Jablonski knew the subject matter was one for which he had an affinity as long as he could remember. "I always liked birds," Jablonski, who grew up in Newmarket, New Hampshire said. "I was always in the woods."

He began by studying carving under Jim Higgins of Eliot, Maine for five years. He then spent a total of four years studying with Jim White of Rockport, Maine, and Dan Meirdirk of Orrington, Maine, learning stoning and burning-- processes used to give birds a perfect, naturalistic texture. In addition, Jablonski took several courses at UNH in painting, drawing and color theory.

To achieve carvings that are richly colored and incredibly dense looking, but are surprising light, Jablonski uses a southern swamp wood known as Tupelo gum.

Jablonski's carvings have taken ribbions at carving events including the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition in Ocean City, Md.; the Downeast Wood Carving and Wildlife Art Show in Maine; and the Wildlife Art and Carving Expo in Topsfield, Mass.