Robert Kerr (1935-)
Robert Kerr was born in Smiths Falls, Canada. Bob started carving in the sixth grade, his primary focus on carving miniature horses out of bars of ivory soap. He spent his teenage years hunting for duck and geese as well as carving decoys. He started selling his decoys to his friends and family. As in impatient teen he dropped out of high school and went west trying to make his fortune, but soon came back to Smiths Falls, missing the opening duck hunting day by one night. A year or so later he went to Montreal and became a railroad fireman, stoking hand-fired coal engines for eighteen years. He married is his neighbor Mary and raised five children. He still carved on the side for extra money.
With the prospect of cutbacks and lay offs looming ahead he quit his job in 1975 and became a full-time carver. He gained success quickly working on the huge back orders of decoys he had neglected to fill when he was working.
Before Bob begins carving he starts by taking measurements of his subjects, and working their figures into sketches and paintings. He tries to learn everything about them as possible, including their physical characteristics, habits and surroundings. Robert even visited the Smithsonian to take measurements from a painting so he could carve a now extinct species of waterfowl (The Labrador Duck.)
Today, in his 70s, Bob is carving and painting full-time and it is easy to tell he enjoys every minute of it.