Lanky figures, eggheads, clowns, and grizzled faces are all part of the carving repertoire of Pete LeClair.
Lanky figures, eggheads, clowns, and grizzled faces are all part of the carving repertoire of Pete LeClair. A resident of Gardner, Massachusetts, Pete has been carving since 1979. After an unrewarding stint with ships in a bottle, he tried his hand at carving caricatures. He tracked down a couple of books on caricature carving, including one by Harold Enlow. A couple of years later, Pete took his first of several seminars with Harold.
Pete began showing his work in 1990. In 1994, he took best of show for his caricatures at the Susquehanna Decoy and Woodcarving Show held in Pennsylvania. Pete was inducted that same year into the Caricature Carvers of America.
Pete loves to exaggerate his figures, and that usually begins with the faces. Bulbous noses, oversized ears, crooked teeth, and expressive eyes are typical of his style. A body may have large hands, extra-long legs, and oversized feet. When it comes to doing cowboys, Pete loves to make them unattractive. “You can make a face ugly, and people still like the figure,” he says.
An energetic and inspiring instructor, Pete is often on the road. He has conducted seminars across the United States, Australia, and England.
Avoiding roughed-out carving blanks in his classes, he prefers a more methodical approach. “I take my students step-by-step from the band sawed blank, teaching them as if I were building a house. I start with the foundation, build the framework, and finally install the plumbing and electrical.” Most of his students leave class with nothing less than a mansion.