Carving and Woodwork
Bob DeFrance came to the Terre Haute area in 1970. He graduate from Indiana State University in 1971 with a B.S. in social Studies Education; an MS in Educational Media in 1972, and in 1974 earned his Masters in Library Science. DeFrance continued his education with an Ed. S in Media Technology from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1977. DeFrance joined the Indiana State University faculty in January of 1973 were he was an Audio Visual coordinator and Middle School Librarian. He became interested in painting black and white portraits while overseeing the darkroom there. In the mid-seventies my friend, Norm Fisher took me to a wood carvers club meeting. One of the members displayed a white-fronted goose carving. I was spellbound. I borrowed a book and followed the step-by-step instructions. I have been carving ever since. While working as a librarian for the Laboratory School DeFrance carved a series of wooden puppets. He received aTeacher Creativity Fellowship grant from Lilly Endowment to carve puppet characters from James Whitcomb Riley poems. Included among his carvings is a three-foot by five-foot carving of the American flag and a series of carved sycamore leafs. For several years, DeFrance demonstrated hand carving at the Fowler Park Pioneer Days. That is where he watched someone stir a boiling pot of maple sap with a large wooden spoon. I went home and carved a three-foot long wooden spoon, a series of smaller spoons, spatulas and other wooden tableware followed. This led to more carvings: large bowls carved from cherry wood; a series of fish carvings, bird dog carvings and checkerboards painted in traditional quilt patterns. Having carved for years in a cramped dungeon-like basement, DeFrance has moved his carving into a spacious, well-lighted studio. His retirement two years ago coincided with the completion of his small but gem-like log cabin. I think of it as an endless woodcarving project.