The idea for Sunny Wood’s whale carvings swam into his mind last summer when a local interior designer commissioned him to build a custom whale-shaped coatrack for a client. The client loved it and encouraged him to carve more whales of different shapes and sizes. People liked them and more sold. Soon Sunny quit his day job in construction and started carving out a new career.
Today, Sunny’s whales can be found in shops and galleries all over town including Marine Home Center, Nantucket Sewing and Design, Nantucket Looms, the Whaling Museum gift shop and Haul Over. All the wood Sunny uses to carve these whales is reclaimed from old Nantucket houses, the history of the homes embedded in the grain. While he may not think of his art as recycled or eco- conscious, no new trees were cut in the production of his pieces, which also include sand pipers, striped bass, herons and more.
Sunny’s talents are a result of his ten years as a carpenter as well as inherited skill. His father was a master woodworker and craftsman who made the intricate weaving looms for Nantucket Looms. He trained his son at an early age, starting Sunny off by teaching him how to carve wooden spoons. “Growing up on a homestead in New Hampshire we had a lot of time on our hands in the evening,” explains Sunny. Woodworking became a family rite of passage.
Today, as customers are drawn to his one-of-a-kind carvings they often share their appreciation with the artist. “I’m psyched that I’ve found something that people like and that I like to do,” he says. Of course, there’s still a carpenter’s share of sweat and sawdust with this new craft. It’s hard work, but Sunny is happy to be making a splash in the Nantucket art scene