Jonathon Retzlaff’s Wildlife Woodcarvings

A residential developer based in Commerce, Mich., Retzlaff has a passion for carving that grew out of a decision to find a hobby to which he could completely retreat after a long day on the job.

By Patrick L. O'Toole, Senior Editor | August 31, 2003
Sawdust in his blood, Jon Retzlaff plans to enter this sockeye salmon carving in a competition at the upcoming Woodcraft Supply Show.

 

North American wildlife has been Jonathon Retzlaff’s muse for more than 20 years. His art? Meticulously detailed woodcarvings, from floating decoy ducks used for hunting to a detailed great blue heron perched on a log. All bear a striking resemblance to the real thing.

A residential developer based in Commerce, Mich., Retzlaff has a passion for carving that grew out of a decision to find a hobby to which he could completely retreat after a long day on the job.

A typical piece, he says, takes about 40 hours of work. Over the years, he has carved "hundreds" of pieces in a woodworking shop at his home or at twice-weekly meetings of a woodcarvers club at a nearby Woodcraft store in Canton, Mich.

Though he prefers to give away most of his works, many pieces go to one of several consignment shops where his carvings fetch up to $300 per item.

As Retzlaff’s carving skill grew, he began offering seminars at the Woodcraft store. This month’s seminar: Fish Carving in Relief.

Have an interesting hobby? E-mail Heather McCune at hmccune@reedbusiness.com

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