GRANTS PASS -- Like many great passions, Joe Wallace learned he enjoyed wood carving from a young age. When he was in Alaska, he would carve just about anything he liked.
"I would come across a stump or something that I liked, I would just carve it and leave it in the mountains," Wallace said, "When I came back here to civilization, that’s when I finally decided to take this on as an occupation.”
He has put in countless hours honing his craft and it has gotten him noticed in the wood-carving community. Last year, he was invited to Reedsport, Oregon to compete with 40 of the best wood carvers in the world.
"It was a big event in my life, let’s put it that way. I got to carve beside Mark Colp, who at the time was a champion and I was pretty intimidated," Wallace said.
Wallace enjoys doing a variety of carvings, including bears, wolves, fish, American Indians, Bigfoot and other wildlife.
As is true for many great artists, Wallace makes the craft seem simple, because he views it in simple terms.
"Once you get it up there, though, it’s all the same thing. You just put the saw to the wood and make sawdust," Wallace said.