09/05/19 • 32 min
2019 National Heritage Fellow Rich Smoker has been carving decoys for half a century. He is one of the people who elevated this utilitarian craft to an art form. Rich is a self-described river rat: he grew up along the Susquehanna River in rural Pennsylvania and now lives alongside the Annemessex River in the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland—an area with long and strong tradition of decoy carving. Rich spends hours on the river observing wildlife and pouring through his massive collection of books and images. He’s able to bring those observations and research to his art and realize his vision. Rich is a master of both utilitarian and decorative carving—winning over 500 hundred ribbons, 100 best-in-show awards and a best-in-the world award. But he is also committed to passing this art form to others, particularly younger people and has taught upwards of 2000 students. Rich Smoker is a natural-born storyteller who frequently turns his humor on himself. In this podcast, we learn about his passions: for nature, for carving and for telling a good yarn.
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