From Novice to Best of Show – that was an outcome I never envisioned in 2011 when I entered my first competition as a novice at the World Taxidermy and Fish Carving Championships in Springfield, Illinois. Looking back on this journey, this accomplishment was fueled by a simple desire to get better, and then finding and taking advantage of the best resources available. I carved my first fish during the early ’90s, but my work was very crude. Work and family life intervened, and I set aside any thoughts on how to improve my carvings. Then in 2009, I purchased a Bob Berry carving book and I carved a trout. I was intimidated by the painting and the project remained unfinished. A year later, I took a flat art painting class with a local artist through the continuing education program of the state technical college. My project was to finish painting my trout, and I surprised myself, as it looked better than I thought it would. With the realization that my fish carving could improve with a little self-help, I was inspired to try carving another fish.
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