A telephone pole, Craftsman hatchet and a drawing…the art of D. Bill

June 15, 2009 at 12:08 pm 4 comments

Last month, when I was on my way to Chicago to meet the Rare Visions guys, I tried to find D. Bill, a telephone pole carver that I had heard of. They had interview D years ago, and I wasn’t even sure if he was still with us. Alas, I couldn’t find him then. But the fine folks at Intuit assured me that he was alive, although he has been having health problems.
D. Bill

c. 1923
Danvers, Illinois
Telephone pole carver

The Garmin proved to be a bit off, but the tried and true method of asking a neighbor, proved to be more accurate. As I pulled down the drive, Mrs. Bill, “Mis Red” was out mowing the lawn. D. was feeling quite fine, though a bit unsteady as he showed me around his workshop.
“It’s something to do in the winter.”

Armed with his trusty Sears Craftsman hatchet and carefully drawn plans full of mathematical equations, this former John Deere mechanical engineer spends up to 3 days carving his Picasso-like faces into old telephone poles. Lately, he has begun to carve out planks that he collected over 20 years ago. They are much less wieldy than those poles…which he claims are “easy to pick up.”
“If you draw it up, it just got to come out right.”

Cement pillars over the car port spell out his name.


Entry filed under: d. bill, danvers, Illinois, self-taught artist, telephone pole, wood carvings.

All in the name of "research" Rockome…a little bit folk art environment, a little bit Amish theme park

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Foster  |  June 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for your post. Very cool!

  • 2. island surveyor  |  September 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I had the pleasure of meeting Darwin back in the mid 90's while surveying a tract of land near his. He is a true original. I later took my wife out to meet him on a random trip out of town, hoping to buy a totem. He gave us a tree for Christmas instead, which we promptly tied to the back of our VW bug and took back to Bloomington. I'm so glad to see that he is still active with his art. Andy

  • 3. Shaun Bill  |  July 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Grandpa is no longer carving, but he is still tinkering in his garage. There is a Facebook page dedicated to his handiwork.

  • 4. Shaun Bill  |  February 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Grandpa passed away last month at the age of 89.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

June 2009
« May   Jul »


flickr photos


blog stats

  • 16,593 hits

%d bloggers like this: