St. Alban’s artist becoming known around the world

Clayton Hunt, The Coaster
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His carving skills have taken him across Canada and to at least two European countries.

He has attended craft shows in St. John’s, Toronto and Ottawa, as well as in the United States — Scottsdale, Ariz. — and other parts of the world, namely London and in Norway.

He provides carvings for local craft shops and even for the Art of Man Gallery in Victoria, B.C., which focuses on tribal art.

His work can be found all over the world.

Clyde Drew, 61, of St. Alban’s, started carving in his mid-30s with wood and very basic tools such as a chisel. He later graduated to moose and caribou antlers and whalebone. Over the years he refined his craft to the point where he became a true artisan.

“The carving thing came very naturally to me,” Drew told The Advertiser. “I started chipping away at a piece of wood when I began carving and it just grew from there. My talent may have come from my Conne River background, as I’ve had no formal training in this. I just refined my craft on my own over the years.”

Drew lived in Conne River until he was 12 when his family moved to St. Alban’s.

Carving began as a hobby. For the past 26 years it’s been his livelihood.

His work ranges from small items to larger, more intricate and exquisite pieces that can take at least a week to complete. The large pieces can include native faces, eagles, wolves, moose and other wildlife.

“I’ve made a lot of contacts from the national and international shows and I receive a number of requests through the Internet,” he said.

Today , Drew sells carvings to individuals, craft stores and art galleries. One of his carvings was bought by well-known Canadian songstress Anne Murray and another of his pieces sits in the home of the late Newfoundland businessman Craig Dobbin.

People often ask Drew how does he manage to carve the intricate works that he completes.

“The curious thing about this is that I often start a piece with no real idea in mind about how the piece should turn out. I start from a point on an antler and whatever flows from that turns out to be the finished product.”

The final pieces that turn out from his carvings are beautiful and amazing. He has received lots of positive feedback about his work from buyers all over the world.

Drew active in his community

While busy working at his carvings to make a living, Drew still takes time out for his community.

It was during his high school years in St. Alban’s that he became interested in music and formed a band with some of his classmates. Over the years he has played countless dances and at many weddings in the area.

Today Drew still plays dances, mostly as a one-man-band. You will find him busy at this many weekends throughout the year, especially during the summer.

“I also play for various fundraisers, and I help our local volunteer firefighters with their telethon each year. I don’t mind doing this free of charge, as it’s a way to give back to my community,” he said.

“I was the main soundman for the early cancer benefits held annually in St. Alban’s. I’m not as involved now, but I still help with the sound system for many functions in the area. I also help at Bay d’Espoir Academy from time to time.”

Drew is not as involved now due to health reasons. He had open-heart surgery a few years ago and had a recent bout with throat cancer, which required radiation and chemo treatments.

He is healthy today, although he has learned to relax a little more for health reasons.

Drew said that he will retire from his company when he turns 65, but he still plans to keep on working on a limited basis at his craft.

“I won’t be as active, obviously, when I retire as I can work on my own time and schedule. Maybe I’ll make some pieces for my family then. Something which I have not been able to do up to this point.”

“I’ll probably keep peddling around at this until I die,” he said.

The Advertiser

Organizations: Art of Man Gallery

Geographic location: Conne River, Toronto, Ottawa United States Scottsdale, Ariz. London Victoria Newfoundland

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