Carving Up Character


Have you ever had one of those conversations where you weren't aware of time, and you were just enjoying the moment? I spent an afternoon talking with Henry Joyner and discovered we shared many of the same interests. Chrissie asked me what Henry could be talking about for so long! In this day of social media, technology, and the busyness of life, it was uplifting to sit down and have a conversation just to hear someone's story.

Did you know Henry has been a television reporter and a cameraman, or that he once worked for the National Enquirer? I couldn't help asking if he ever wrote about alien abductions and we had a good laugh about that. Henry never did write alien stories! He has always enjoyed writing and photography and was an English major in college with a minor in journalism. He had a few gigs as a wedding photographer and did some tabletop photography for magazine illustrations. Now I guess you know why we spent so much time talking that afternoon.

If you are familiar with Henry’s spectacular wood carvings you know he is very talented and creative, but did you know he also draws, paints, and sculpts? I was captivated with the caricatures and the details I found in them. You can examine them and always find something new you didn't notice before, and the stories he carves into them are so characteristic of life.

Henry’s favorite material to work with is wood, and he senses a spiritual connection to the trees and to God the creator when he works with it. There is something about working with wood, a sense of awe and admiration for an organism created by God during the creation of the world that we couldn’t do without today. I thought about Henry's characters and how each one is special, and there would never be two that were exactly alike, each of them telling a story with carved details and hand shaped with love and care. I thought God must be doing something similar when he makes each of us, different as can be, with stories as varied as each personality. Henry says he carves away what doesn’t look like what he is making and maybe that’s what we should be doing too, carving away everything about us that doesn’t look like Jesus.

By Michelle Holland