ANTON — When Matthew Krause developed pancreatitis, it left him unable to work a regular job, but it did not dim his determination to do as much as he could in life.
"I was sitting around my house with nothing to do," Krause said. "So, I sat out on my front porch and started carving."
A self-described artist and tinker, one of Krause's first projects was to create walking sticks that would have more personal meaning than the aluminum versions sold in stores. Using branches from his yard, he carved various figures and decorations on each one.
While Krause started out using a pocket-knife to whittle away wood shavings, he soon changed his approach and began using a Dremel tool in order to speed up the process, even engineering a solar-powered battery to enable him to use the tool when he is camping.
“I do like the idea of putting a long time into something and having it turn out beautiful,” Krause said. “I’d like to progress to chainsaw art and go bigger.”
While his wife, Kara, sells Perfectly Posh at fairs, Krause carves wooden beads and strings them onto bracelets to hand out to children.
"The beads were just happenstance; I never set out to do it," Krause said. "The kids were hanging out around the booth while she was selling Posh and the kids had to have something, so I thought, ‘I’ll just make them one of these.’ Now the kid is walking around, happy that they got something free.”
Krause found it was also a good way to advertise to any nearby jewelry makers that he can carve custom wooden beads.
Other wooden creations that have come from Krause’s hands include pipes and stands for vape pens and figures in the shapes of flowers, dogs, horses, dolphins, dragons and wolves.
“I’ve given away a lot of things to friends — they make good gifts,” Krause said.
Krause said he is pursuing other creative endeavors such as cartooning, leatherwork and playing the violin as well. He taught himself to sew, create patterns from which he has stitched together costumes, cloaks and a 10-foot tall tipi.
For now, his main focus will stay on woodcarving.
For custom orders, he likes getting a big-picture idea from a customer and putting his own creativity into each piece.
“Mortality sets in when you get older and you want to leave something behind. I guess this is my way of doing it,” Krause said.
He hopes his carvings will become treasured keepsakes for others that can be passed down through generations, whether it is a walking stick, delicate bead or a hand-chiseled wooden shield.
“It’s fun,” Krause said. “I’m trying to find my niche in life as to what God intended me to do.”
For more pictures and information about Krause’s creations, visit https://www.facebook.com/warlockschest.