NEW YORK TRADITIONS:
The Gallery of New York Folk Art
Carpenter Creations: Adirondack Toy Collectibles
From the artist:
I have been designing and building wooden toy collectibles since 1990. I originally began when my son asked me to repair a log truck that I had built for him when he was three. The design was very simple but it suited my son just fine. I thought the task was hopeless, so I built him a brand new log truck. After some minor changes and improvements, I had created a truck that I was quite proud of. When I showed the truck to my son, much to my surprise he didnt share my enthusiasm for the new log truck. I had asked him what the problem was, and he said although the new one was nice, he really just wanted his old one back. Having three older daughters and only one son, my wife thought it would be a great idea to place the truck for sale in a local craft shop. Agreeing that we could use the extra money, the next day we took the truck over to the shop. When we arrived home, we discovered a message that said the truck had been sold! We immediately returned the call and the shopkeeper requested several more, and Carpenter Creations was born.
I then proceeded to diversify my line by custom designing and building various replicas for what seemed to be an endless supply of friends. I began spending all of my spare time in the workshop, while still working full time as a union carpenter. All of my designs are original, and most of my time was consumed by working on new designs.
I began marketing the toys by doing craft shows, garage sales, lumberjack shows, and I placed a few in consignment shops. By this time I had developed what is now know as my "Stock Series." They all feature a basic generic style "Stock" cab, and include log trucks, dump trucks, bulldozers, skidders, and several others. My Stock Series still proves to be a favorite, especially with children.
One of my most challenging pieces to design was the Prentice Loader. It was a very popular request and I developed my first from photographs of a similar loader my brother owned. After several starts and stops, I had finally created a model that satisfied my toughest criticme. I had duplicated most of the movements and the hydraulics were finally in place. The truck that I mounted the loader on was a generic "Stock" cab. The Prentice was an instant success, and this pushed my enthusiasm higher. I then designed several pieces that included the wooden hydraulics including: Bucket Loaders, Tree Trucks, Bucket Trucks, and several versions of Pulp Trucks with Prentice Loaders.
Early I the spring of 1996, I began to develop a new line entitled the "Custom Cab Collectible Series." This series is more intricately detailed and available with several cab styles including Western Star, Freightliner, GMC General, Mack R Series, and Offset DM Mack. They have proven to be our most popular to date, especially with the big kids and collectors alike.
My knowledge of the logging industry and equipment comes from my experience working as a logger. I worked for Carpenter Brothers Logging that is owned and operated by four of my brothers, thus the name. Unfortunately, I was forced to leave the woods after a life threatening accident left me laid up for almost an entire year. After nine long years, I did indeed leave the woods, but not the life I enjoyed so much.
Over the years of trial and error, I have found a niche, which allows me to work with logging equipment in a smaller, safer version, while developing my woodworking skills. I continued to be intrigued by the equipment I once worked with, and designing the toys because it allows me to admire different aspects of the machinery. I strive to develop new pieces and improve the others on a daily basis as I struggle to develop the craft I love so much.
For more information, visit Carpenter Creations.
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Photograph by Nicole Keys
Ed Carpenter’s toys are available for purchase through the on-line gallery shop of the New York Folklore Society: New York Traditions.
The gallery is made possible with the generous support of the
William Gundry Broughton Charitable Foundation.