Meet my friend, Clifford, “the walking stick man”. You may have seen him walking around Portsmouth or Picard. I saw Clifford’s handiwork before I actually met him. After viewing some of his artistic woodwork, I was quick to hire him to handcraft a personalized walking stick for my spouse as an anniversary gift. When I presented my husband with the finished product he said, “this is the best gift I’ve ever been given”. Clifford had done such an exceptional job. I told Clifford that I wanted the walking stick to be a memory of our time spent here in Dominica. So, Clifford had hand carved a parrot, a pineapple, some fish and strands of seaweed into the baywood itself. The staff was tall and majestic, so much so that the last person who saw my husband with it called out, “Hey, Moses!”. LOL 🙂 .
You can meet Clifford in person at the annual Ross University School of Medicine’s Art, Craft, and Food Fair on November 19th & 20th. He, along with other local artists and crafters, will be set up at the CAC selling their creations in order to raise money for local charities. I will post more info on the fair in the future, but in the meantime, here is a little bio on Clifford…
Clifford C. Johnson was born in 1947 in Tower Hill, St. James, Jamaica. He first began carving wood at age ten when he created “spinners” or tops for his schoolmates. After completing primary school Clifford attended trade school and has worked as a journeyman
carpenter in both Jamaica and the United States. Clifford has carved thousands of artistic pieces over the past fifty years including decorative masks, lamps, relief sculptures, musical instruments, bowls, and his famous walking sticks. He has participated in several
wood carving shows in the United States where his work has been available for sale. Formerly, he was an exhibitor in the University of Manitoba’s “In Celebration of Soup-The Soup Tureen Show” where his beautiful entirely hand-carved breadfruit soup bowl and ladle were on display.
Clifford’s hardwood walking sticks are one-of-a-kind. He starts with a fallen tree branch, young dead tree, or piece of driftwood. Using a machete he strips the bark off and cuts it to the desired dimensions. He then uses a variety of hand-held carving tools to create the images he sees in the wood. Clifford makes his own natural stains from plants and bark such as mahogany. After applying the stain, he allows it to dry in the sun, then varnishes the wood to preserve it and prevent insect infestation. The next and most unusual step is his method of scraping the dried varnish with a piece of broken glass to create tiny patterns and subtle color variations in the wood. The final step is sanding to produce a smooth surface. The finished product is both an exceptional piece of artwork and a durable walking stick.