January 27, 1933: Folk Artist Connard Wolfe Born in Kanawha County

Jan 27, 2016

Credit Michael Keller via e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / Goldenseal

Folk artist Connard Wolfe was born at Standard in Kanawha County on January 27, 1933. The self-taught sculptor started carving wood and stone after being discharged from the army about 1955. His first significant carvings were stones for a wall and two headstones. Other early works included a gigantic reclining nude carved from a boulder in the hills near his home and two life-sized sculptures in tree trunks: ‘‘Mountain Girl’’ and ‘‘Standing Christ.’’ Both tree sculptures were later destroyed. His most famous surviving works are a bear on the campus of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery, a beaver at Bluefield High School, and a madonna and child in a Kanawha Valley church.

In addition to his creative works of art, he was also known for his unusual tools, which he made from automobile leaf springs and engine valves. Wolfe played a major role in the craft revival of the 1960s and 1970s, giving demonstrations at fairs and festivals. One of his stone carvings, “The Kiss,” is on display in the West Virginia State Museum.

Connard Wolfe died in 2012 at age 79.