Paul Weir, an American folk artist is recognized for his authentic, hand carved fish decoys and folk art wood carvings. Weir’s fish theme folk art, as well as his ice fishing and spearing decoys, are crafted in tupelo wood, reclaimed tin, and house paint. Paul Weir folk art is a charming mix of primitive style and realism.
Weir, who lived and worked in Rittman, Ohio, and spent many years in his beloved Philippines. Weir was a proud early member of the Peace Corps, which was established in the early 1960s. Throughout his life was committed to teaching crafts, particularly wood carving, as an avocation and sustainable skill.
Many students of wood carving and decoy art apprenticed under Weir. During his career, he owned an Ohio-based art studio Weir Handmade, and an export business – J.P. Artcraft – for local craftsman in the Philippines. At the peak of J. P. Artcraft, Weir and his business partner contracted with 150 wood carvers in the mountains of the Philippines to produce both artwork and utilitarian pieces, selling them without middlemen and agents with a commitment to ethical sourcing. Many of these pieces are highly collectible animals carved in tropical softwoods.
Weir was a fixture at art and wood crafts events. The decoys and folk art sculptures in the Art Factory Galleries’ Paul Weir folk art collection were acquired in 1990-91, and are from the artist’s collection of pieces excuted in the 1980s. These pieces were designed, carved and painted by Weir using traditional methods. Each piece is accompanied by an Art Factory Gallery Certificate of Authenticity.
Both Weir’s fish decoys and his folk art carvings are made of wood from the tupelo tree. The tupelo is a deciduous tree that is highly tolerant of wet conditions. The wood is favored by woodcarvers, especially for duck decoys and fishing decoys. The wood is good for power carving, and holds detail well. The tupelo tree, also called the black-gum, is native to the Eastern and Central United States.
Weir worked in freshly cut wood with classic tools for wood carving, including chisels, knives, mallets, and drawblades. After a carving was completed, it was sun-dried in a hot box for three to twelve months. After drying, they were painted with house paint, and detailed with cut tin fins. Each fish is individually hand carved so each is unique; no two pieces of Paul Weir folk art are the same. His work is marked by its avoidance of mass production methods.
Paul Weir fish decoys and sculpture have blemishes, imperfections, wood cracking and shrinkage, and paint flaking that are authentic to traditional carving methods. Many of the decoys and fish sculpture have checking and cracks that have developed over time, as the wood dries. These characteristics were not visible when the pieces where first crafted. The cracks and other natural blemishes do not diminish the value of these hand crafted works of folk art.
Shop the galleries for Paul Weir fish decoys.