Jess Blackstone – Folk Art Bird Carvings

A carved and painted chestnut-sided warbler attributed to Jess Blackstone

p4A ItemID E8853914
A carved and painted Chickadee by Jess Blackstone

p4A ItemID E8853913
A carved and painted black-throated green warbler by Jess Blackstone

p4A ItemID E8853912
A carved and painted Chickadee by Jess Blackstone

p4A ItemID F7988110

Jess Blackstone (1909-1988)

A selection of Jess Blackstone bird carvings
from the Cheryl & Paul Scott Collection

The Private Collection of Cheryl and Paul Scott, featuring miniature bird carvings by Jess Blackstone, will be offered at auction by Skinner, Inc. on August 12, 2012.

Our collection of Jess Blackstone miniature birds started when we bought a chickadee for $10 about 30 years ago. We had no idea who the carver was, but we loved the attention to detail and the obvious love the artist had for birds. Several years later, our flock had grown, and decoy specialist and dealer Gary Guyette informed us that our birds had been crafted by Jess Blackstone, a New Hampshire carver.

We started to search in earnest for more birds and more information. We found out that Jess Blackstone sold his birds through the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, and he and his wife lived in Pembroke, NH. In our pursuit for more information, we ran some ads in the local NH paper, Concord Monitor, asking for any information about Jess. We got many calls from folks of all ages and learned that Jess was kind, generous, had a terrific sense of humor, loved children and served as a Boy Scout leader.

Unfortunately, we never got to meet Jess. However, we met his wife, Edie, and visited her in their simple, country home. We were so fortunate to see Jess’s workshop, which was in a corner of the kitchen! Edie told us stories about Jess and his father, Arthur, also a bird carver, who had lived in Melrose, Massachusetts. Jess and Arthur, by all accounts, shared a love of birds, of carving, a great sense of humor and an interest in leading a simple but fulfilling life.

Edie Blackstone was kind enough to allow us to buy the birds that she and Jess had kept for themselves. She was very proud of his work and of his reputation. We believe it was our genuine love of the birds and the craftsmanship that went into making them that led her to part with the carvings.

We have met so many terrific people in this pursuit to learn about Jess Blackstone and his carvings. All have had a true love and respect for these engaging little pieces of art. Jess’s birds are a delight to the eye and a treat for the soul.

-By Cheryl Scott, originally posted July 2012 at Skinner, Inc.

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