Jack Dudley
bird carver
click here to see some of his work

John M. Dudley (1909 - 1988) spent most of his adult years practicing law, thirty-five of those years as a municipal and/or district court judge. But his real interest was ornithology. He enjoyed a good bird dog, and hunting waterfowl and upland birds. He enjoyed even more learning the habits of these birds. He liked poling through a marsh in a double-ended canoe in early June doing a census on the ring-neck duck nests, or checking the back coves for broods of black ducks on a July morning.

For a man with this interest in birds and with great fine motor control, it was not surprising to find him spending winter evenings carving the creatures he loved. He was not one for mass production. Hed carve and paint two or three of a kind, then move on. Friends and family would request a snowy owl or a green-wing teal, and he would comply to please, but he really wanted to try something new. In his later years he did a series of primitive two-dimensional waterfowl. He also created wire art and played around with metal.

Like many in rural Down East Maine, he created for his own pleasure, for his family and for his friends. He probably would be annoyed to have these pictures displayed. But he likely would not object too strongly, for he understood that the creativity of his hands and mind, while unique to him, was but an example of the gift that exists in us all. Maybe this page will encourage others to use their gift of creativity, and to share.


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