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Coombs Carvings

Curated Submission
Maymont, Saskatchewan
Mid-20th century
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
152.4 x 15.5 x 25.4
Materials & techniques
Wood, tin; Hand-carved
Made by Harold Coombs
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WDM-1973-NB-1129
While many farmers had hobbies to occupy themselves over long winters, Harold Coombs truly had a gift for his chosen pastime. Coombs was a talented wood carver. This folk art alligator is just one example from a veritable zoo carved by his work-worn hands. Coombs was born in England in 1883 and moved to Saskatchewan in the early 1900s. He eventually settled around Maymont, a community between North Battleford and Saskatoon.
When he wasn’t farming he was carving. Coombs found the wood he needed from trees and tree roots on his farm. He became a seasoned scavenger of the other materials, things like buttons, pieces of metal, and glass. Visitors to his farmyard saw carvings of monkeys hanging from trees. Snakes and alligators, just like this one, lurked in the grass. Coombs also created and carved furnishings for his home, and many of these functional items also display his distinctive creative imagination, like a shelf he carved that was supported by swimming mermaids.
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