Precourt to exhibit in Saluda

Published 3:28 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

B.J. Precourt in studio. (photo submitted)

B.J. Precourt begins a month-long exhibit on Thursday, Feb. 3, at The Wine Cellar in Saluda. From 7 – 9 p.m., guests will have a chance to meet Precourt and learn about his work, finding out first hand what inspires him.

Fish on a fence by B.J. Precourt

Precourt isn’t easily reached, he does have a telephone (in his house), you can’t find his work on your handheld, your laptop or through any other technology. To see his art, you can visit a couple local galleries, his small out-of-the-way barn-workshop, which is next to his home, or you can attend one of his rare exhibits.

Precourt is a self-taught folk art carver and sculptor.

“I never had a lesson,” he said. “I just kind of go with what’s in my mind.”

Precourt says he believes there are brilliant wood carvers that put a lot of time and effort into their art. As for his own achievements, he is very humble. He doesn’t carve to sell, but instead, his objective is to share his work with people. He is passionate about carving.

“I have an imagination that overcomes the fact that I don’t have a great ability,” he says. “I let my imagination run wild.”

Before he puts knife, chisel or gouge to a piece of wood, Precourt thinks of a story to fit his mood, as well as the shape of the wood. The stories come from his dreams, what he reads and what he sees. He said he especially enjoys carving people such as someone with a large nose or long beard.

“I’m very observant,” he said with a laugh.

All of his carvings are from found wood. Some from the back of factories and landfills, but mostly from “my treks through the woods. Gathering takes about as much time as carving,” he said.

At age 50, Precourt retired from a successful carrier as a glazier in New Jersey to move to North Carolina where he and his wife, Julie, embraced a different lifestyle. First, they restored an old house, and then they proceeded to follow their artistic dreams. Julie is an exhibiting quilt maker, active in a local quilters’ guild.

For more information contact The Wine Cellar at the Saluda Inn at 828-749-9698. The Wine Cellar is located at 229 Greenville St. in Saluda.