Eastern Shore of Virginia

~ Traditional Gunning Style Decoys ~

Ducks and Shorebirds

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Duck, Goose and Swan Decoys

Wood - Each decoy is hand made from either juniper (white cedar) or white pine.  Most feature light, hollow bodies with wooden heads. Some feature solid bodies which are heavier for riding in rough open water (mainly diving and sea ducks upon request).  Occassionally, depending on the situation under which the decoy will be used, a wooden keel may be added.  Head positions and postures vary and make each a one-of-a-kind decoy!  Decoys are weighted to be self-righting and include a leather strap for rigging an anchor line.
Cork - These decoys feature tan "Chesapeake cork" for the body with a wooden head, keel and tail insert.  Keels are connected through the body to the head and tail insert with galvanized lag screws.  Additonally, these wooden parts are epoxied to the cork.  This produces a solid and tough hunting decoy.  

All decoys are hand painted with oil paints (using only brushes).  This results in a carving with deep rich colors that will develop a fine patina over the years. Decoys are finished in the gunning tradition that utilizes an "impressionistic" style that strays from detailing each individual feather, but instead uses techniques to simulate the overall look of the feather patterns.  Exceptions include cork black ducks and hen scoters whose bodies are scorched using a propane torch which leaves a dark chocolate finish that is completely flat.

Decoys are weighted to be self-righting.





Shore Bird Decoys

These carvings are hand made in the gunning tradition from juniper or white pine.  Bills may be carved from the same piece of wood, but are more frequently made seperately. Hardwood (e.g. oak) bills are often carved and inserted through the back of the head.  A tenon or spline is used to wedge the bill into the head.  This is a traditional technique for the mid-Atlantic region.  Additionally, bills are sometimes crafted from rusty iron nails or pitch fork tines.  Using these materials mimics traditional gunning decoys and embodies the spirit that form follows function in decoy making.

Eyes may be carved, glass, tack or absent entirely depending on the desired effect of individual shore bird decoys. 

 These decoys are painted in an "impressionistic" style using oil paints that strays from detailing each individual feather, but instead uses techniques to simulate the overall look of the feather patterns.  This is reminiscent of the working shorebird decoys of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

They are mounted on custom made museum quality black metal stands.



Other Carvings

Typically custom ordered non-traditional decoy species:

King-fisher, Loon, Flying skimmer, Osprey


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