Bill Le Blanc is an artist unsung. He is often spotted during casual morning or evening strolls somewhere in the Hamilton Beach Strip of the Confederation Park area. Most of the time, he is found engrossed chiseling wood to carve distinct images out of tree stumps.
I saw him first on a warm Sunday morning; sweat dripping across his eyebrows while he was chipping away the unwanted stuff stuck to the Roller Skater sitting in a Poplar stump that could only be seen with Bill’s inner eyes.
I walked down the road to greet a few more interesting characters in his wooden story. A Beaver – who took almost 50 hours to be conceived – dedicated to his lovely great granddaughter Nicole. Another one is a Turtle that also took the same sweat of his brow. The ‘Sirens of the Sea’ consists of four mermaids, took its shape from a Manitoba Maple Stump after 160 hours.
The Beaver is the first of a kind experiment for Bill and that gave way to the subsequent themes, restoring confidence.
Bill’s humility never prompts him to claim to be an artist and continues his free service to the City of Hamilton. The decades he had spent as a steel-worker did not help in tapping his buried creativity, but he soon realized how he would be spending his retirement years.
Bill never tires of explaining his unique hobby to the intrigued passers-by. In fact, he’s extremely happy to converse with them about his plans adding beauty to the nature. Only a true woodwork artist like him knows what sleeps in the stump to be resurrected later, even after the death of a tree.