A Craftsman In The Making
Gresham has been chipping away for over 20 years. Her husband, also a woodcarver, introduced her to chip carving. It was after her son was born that she fine-tuned her skills. "I used chipping as a way to relax," Pam said laughing.
The Silver Dollar City Years
Pam was a visiting craftsman in the park’s Festival of American Music and Crafts for 12 years before becoming the sole woodcarver at Silver Dollar City’s Valley Woodcarvers in 1999. In addition to carving, she coordinates over 1200 demonstrations a year by 80 guest carvers, which keeps the shop humming in the mornings. Pam generally uses basswood (also known as lindenwood) which grows in the Ozark forests.
Known for her fireplace mantels, shelves, cabinets, mirrors, coffee tables and decorative boxes, she enjoys working on larger, more intricate pieces. "At Valley Road Woodcarvers we have an entire shop where we take pieces all the way from concept to a finished work of art," she adds, "which is very satisfying!"
Chip carving has flourished for over 1,000 years. Finding its roots in Switzerland and Northern Europe, this unique tradition was considered a "peasant’s art" because only one tool was used, a straight-edged knife. When chip carving was in its prime, it was used to decorate household items. The geometrical design gave functional household pieces an aesthetically beautiful touch.
Pam has been featured in a variety of woodworking magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens "Wood" Magazine. She has authored three how-to books, Basic Chip Carving With Pam Gresham, Chip Carving the Southwest, and Chip Carving Pennsylvania Dutch Design (Schiffer publishing).