About Me and My Work
James Alan Davis
I was born in Whitefish Montana '51', then moved to Eureka, Ca. after my parents divorced in '53', with my mother who was a nurse and weekend woodworker on her shopsmith. She made me my first surfboard and also built kitchen cabinets and desks I still use today. She encouraged artistic endeavors from my first ivory soap carving to buying my first grinder to refine my work from rough chain sawing.
I graduated from Eureka High in '68'. and attended College of the Redwoods from which I received an AA. I then went to Portland State University for several semesters studying pre-med ( mom being a nurse wanted her son to be a doctor). I studied traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture) for three years through a correspondence out of Vancouver B.C. After all that, I determined that medicine was not for me.
I worked at Burlwood Industries making driftwood furniture in '79-80', until I herniated a lower disc lifting an auto transmission. I met an artist by the name of George Presson in the late '70s' and he handed me a mallet and chisel and said "if you've going to hang out you might as well chisel" so I started carving owls out of oak rounds and have been chipping ever since.
I married a wonderful woman, Cindy, and we have two girls, Amanda (age 12) and Rebeccah (age 5) . We live in a rural area at the mouth of the Eel river outside the beautiful town of Ferndale, on five acres in a old victorian house. I carve out of my garage, where I can see egrets and deer just across the road in the field.
I find old-growth redwood stumps and parts thereof on the beaches of the river and ocean. I study any particular piece of driftwood by its shape to determine the appropriate animal to carve. Egrets are one of the shapes I have found to be within the stumpage if the stump is turned upside down. I follow the roots up and out to make the necks and heads of the egrets. Birds in general fit this situation.
I start work with chain saws, from large bars to little carving bars only a foot long. After I carve the shape want I grind from 16 grit disc to 100 grit sandpaper so the surface is smooth. I also use a die-grinder with an assortment of bits to put detail in the carving. I use an oil finish to protect and bring out the grain.