Tourism Blog

Ever wanted to learn to carve a decoy? We Tried It.

Ever wanted to learn to carve a decoy? We Tried It.

Vanessa Junkin - Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art is home to the world's largest public collection of decoys. But what actually goes into making a piece of wood look like a bird or duck? 

We decided to give it a try — and decoy carving is the first topic in our new We Tried It video series. We'll be taking a shot at other fun things around the county, too. 

In this episode, Josephine Noonan, a marketing and public relations manager for Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism, learns how to carve and paint a flattie, or silhouette decoy, from Rich Smoker, a master carver who has too many accolades to count (learn more about him here). She only had the experience of one sculpture class, but came prepared in the perfect outfit — a polo with ducks on it. 

Rich was insistent that I, the videographer (and fellow marketing and public relations manager), make one of the semipalmated plover flatties, too. So, he carved one for me — he carved two in the time that Josephine carved one — and then I followed his instructions for sanding and painting, making my bird's eye too big in the process. Luckily, he helped me get it down to a normal size.

It was a fun experience. Watch the video below to see a sped-up version of the process. It took about four hours from start to finish, but the video is just four minutes. 

Have suggestions for things you'd like to see us try here in Wicomico County? Comment below or share your thoughts with us on social media! 



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