Doug Hutton is one of my favourite people, ever.
Not only is he one of the friendliest, smartest and funniest people I have ever met, he is also a man of many talents.
25-30 years ago, he started carving water fowl—an art form most people appreciate and admire, but find rather intimidating.
“I first got interested by luck really,” says Hutton. “We used to go on Sunday mornings to The Forks and they at the time used to have these demonstrations of bird carvings, and I thought ‘Gee, those are some neat looking things’.”
What most would find overwhelming, Hutton found fascinating.
“I thought, god that’s neat, how the heck did they do that? Because I couldn’t imagine how anybody could do that.”
Intrigue turned to interest and Hutton began enrolling in classes. He took several courses over several years through the Winnipeg School Systems.
“In wildlife carving, theres a whole series of disciplines,” says Hutton. “The basic design and the layout, and then the carving itself—which is a lot of detail. And then there’s the business of painting. There’s the colours and shading and airbrushing, handbrushing, insertion of the eyes.”
A friend of his, who at the time had been in the carving business for quite some time, mentored him along and encouraged him to submit his work into competitions.
Hutton has done about 25-30 carvings, and says that most of them have taken him upwards of two to three months to complete.
“You need a lot of determination and what I call ‘stick-to-it-iveness,'” says Hutton. “I’ve seen guys throw their equipment and birds in the garbage, curse and swear at it, then go pick it out of the garbage, work on it, and win first prize.”
What’s perhaps most interesting about Doug Hutton, is that he hasn’t always been a creative individual.
“I don’t consider myself an artist at all,” says Hutton. “I consider myself really more a technician. How in the devil does that happen, and try to emulate what I see. I learn basics and then I sort of adapt tools to do different things. I’ve made some tools of my own that I couldn’t find anywhere else.”
Even though people were interested in purchasing his pieces, Hutton was never interested in selling them.
“To me, it wasn’t a financial interest. It was just something I wanted to do to prove I could do it,” says Hutton. “And I didn’t like losing the pieces after I’d done them. I wanted to keep them around.”
Doug Hutton with his competition ribbons