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Retiree carves own niche at SJ County Fair

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Retiree carves own niche at SJ County Fair

Woodcarver Frances Scott proudly shows off the cane that she made topped with King Tut which opens to reveal the Egyptian pharaoh in repose inside and the words to a 14th-century curse. This is jus...

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED June 17, 2011 12:53 a.m.

Frances Scott has carved a niche for herself at the 2011 San Joaquin County Fair.

This is the first time she has ever shown at the fair. And she has a mission for doing it.

“I want all women to get involved in carving,” said the avid woodcarver.

She is also very prolific in her hobby. Since she discovered her penchant for carving, she has churned out dozens of one-of-a-kind creations. And they are not run-of-the-mill types either. They are intricate and quite exquisite.

On the first day of the fair Wednesday, her display table inside the Home Arts Building at the fairgrounds was full of different objects of art, from a large mahogany carving of a Native American resembling Chief Crazy Horse, to an oversized frog on a pond complete with a button that emits a croaking sound when pressed, and lots of canes with intricate designs.

“I have a lot more pieces at home,” she told the young visitors who stopped at her table display and got a kick out of her descriptions of the different designs she carved on each piece.

“I have canes with different animals on it – cats, eagles, mushrooms,” she said, all wood-carved. One exception was a cane with a brass duck on it.

One cane that particularly intrigued and impressed many visitors was the one with a carving of King Tut on it made out of ash. The King Tut carving actually opens which reveals another woodcarving inside of the Egyptian pharaoh in repose, with the following words inscribed: “1353 – curse to all who disturb this tomb.”

Perhaps the most intricate of all the canes in Scott’s display is one that she calls “the O.K. Corral,” so named because it is decorated with intricately carved scenes from the famous, or infamous, O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, where Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp fought the Clantons and McLaurys.

Scott, who is also a painter, is a natural talent when it comes to woodcarving. She used to work as a “model maker in the navy,” she said, “but this (woodcarving) has always been my hobby.”

She uses all kinds of wood for her projects but she is partial to diamond willow. “That’s my favorite wood for canes,” she said.

Scott belongs to the Capital Woodcarvers Association of Sacramento of the California Carvers Guild.

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