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Backwoods artisan finds beauty in gnarled roots

Special to SEGAZINE

BigZ-FatlighterHeronThere was a little bit of everything at the Big Z garage sale last Saturday which brought residents from around the area and even out of state to exhibit their wares at Twin Oaks Park – some items more unusual than others.

Among  them was Larry Hickox who has a knack for finding art in just about anything from trees to cow skulls.

Amidst the many items was one large heron carved entirely out of a fatlighter stump that Hickox had found.  But the self-taught artist would be quick to tell passersby that the heron was already there,  he just brought it out.

That was the premise behind many of the items at his booth Saturday including walking canes and staffs made of trees that he’d cut up, carved and painted based on what he said was art already in the wood.  Each cane had a story, from snakes climbing along the sides of one cane to wolves adorning the wood knots along the sides of a staff.  Hickox said he never knows what his next project will be until he sees the wood and from there his imagination takes over.

Not far from the canes were several hand-framed paintings and even painted cow skulls – all of which were covered in whatever image came to mind for the artist.

Hickox, a Waycross native currently residing in Alabama, said that he has no formal training and took up “whittling” when he had his hips replaced to have something to pass the time.

This was his first trip to the Big Z garage sale.

Meanwhile James and Estelle Hendrix had a very different type of wood based art – a massive archway.

Estelle said that she was unsure of the history of the massive structure, which measured in at almost five feet tall and over 10 feet wide, but thought that it came from an extremely old building possibly in Ware County – though the design matches some historic buildings in Savannah.  Estelle said her hope was to find a new home for the historic piece where it could continue to be taken care of.

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