Don StonecipherDonald Stonecipher, Jr. was raised in Southern Indiana and has always had a love of nature and the woods. He grew up hunting and roaming the woods of Harrison, Crawford, and Dubois counties. As a young adult, woodworking became a regular hobby for Don. He built furniture for his own home and sometimes for others. He has always enjoyed several artistic mediums, and has a natural, creative and artistic ability to see a finished product, whether it is photography, drawing, or woodworking.
In 2005, a fateful work injury changed Don's future forever. A neck and spinal cord injury left him partially paralyzed for a short time until surgery helped restore some of his mobility. After his injury, Don was unable to return to his job as an electrician and had little prognosis to regain feeling in the right side of his body. He decided to attend the Marc Adams School of Fine Woodworking in Whiteland, Indiana, where his creativity and love of wood became an inspiration and aided in his physical therapy. Though woodworking had been a life-long hobby for Don, it now had new significance for him.
Working with his hands was challenging, given the nerve damage he had suffered and had never regained feeling in his right arm and hand. Marc Adams and the staff at MASW quickly recognized Don's eagerness to learn and his natural ability to comprehend carving and joinery techniques. Over the course of 24 months, Don completed the MASW Master's program, earning a certificate as a Master Woodworker. In 2007, upon completion of the program, Don was recognized as Student of the Year and also received the Calvin Coolidge Award for overcoming adversity.
Don has settled into a niche of carving men's faces in "found" wood, using local Cottonwood tree bark. He relates his carvings to his own story, of finding new life in a piece of wood which has seemingly lost its purpose. While others might see a chunk of bark, fallen from a tree, useless and no longer serving a purpose, Don sees an opportunity to create new purpose for a lifeless piece of wood.
Through the silly, sometimes whimsical faces and names he gives these "men in the bark" Don receives many smiles and comments from those who admire and purchase these unique carvings. No sealers or chemicals are used on the wood and although these pieces of bark have always been exposed to weather while being part of a tree, its new purpose is found inside the home for all your friends to see.