Reginald Lewis was born and raised in Plympton a small village in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia, growing up with a love of the outdoors and wildlife. He considers himself fortunate having grown up in such close proximity ( about 6 miles ) to his great Aunt Maud Lewis the folk artist. Reg travelled pass her small one room house in Marshalltown to and from High School everyday and he always enjoyed seeing the paintings of flora and fauna covering all the available space on the outside of her small house. At the time Maud Lewis was selling her paintings for $2.50 or $3.00 apiece and Reg thought there would be ample time and opportunity to acquire some of her paintings. This was obviously a mistake and he never did acquire any of her creations.
Reg was employed with the Canadian Hydrographic Service for 35 years of which 19 years were spent on 31 foot survey launches surveying Canada’s Oceans and Inland Waterways for the production of navigational charts, for the remaining 16 years of his career he was the Assistant Director of Hydrography, Atlantic Region. This was adventurous and demanding work, it brought him into constant contact with nature and provided him with the opportunity to observe Canadian wildlife in their natural habitats. While conducting land and water surveys for eight to twelve hours per day, he was in close contact with many types of birds and waterfowl, whales and many species of bears. In 1980, Reg moved from the field to the office and spent the remaining 16 years as Manager, Hydrographic Field Survey.
After retiring in 1995, Reg decided to take a woodworking course to pursue his desire of working with wood. He spent the next three years honing his skills by creating projects for craft stores. In 1998 he began a woodcarving hobby by enrolling in a course which involved carving a Hooded Merganser. Reg entered that Hooded Merganser (male) in a competition at the Novice Level and won a second place ribbon. Since then, he has participated in carving competitions throughout the Maritime Provinces and has won many ribbons, including Best of Novice (Rosette) and Best of Intermediate (Rosette). Reg currently competes at the Open level and has won many second and first place ribbons in competitions in Ontario. He has also won three Sponsored Purchase Award competitions, one trophy in 2007 and two in 2008. In 2003 Reg moved to Kingston where he continued to hone his skills and gained excellent advice and guidance from acclaimed carver Jan Fitch.
His carvings are now sold worldwide starting in Canada and reaching to Texas,USA, and China.
Reg’s love of carving is captured in his life size sculptures, revealing both the beauty and the behaviors of waterfowl, birds of prey and songbirds. Most birds possess anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 feathers, with about 30 percent (1000) being located on the head and neck. Therefore, the carver must represent this number in a simplified way and create the illusion that these feathers are overlaying many others. Reg uses tupelo for his carvings because it has very little grain and produces a nice sharp texture. The carving is shaped with various carbide burrs and diamond coated stones. The final texturing is done with ruby and aluminum oxide stones together with burning to replicate the real feathers. The piece is then sealed and painted using acrylics. The principle objective is to create a realistic portrayal of the real bird and its habitat.
In recent years, Reg has been concentrating mainly on carving songbirds. This means that a handcrafted habitat has to be created for displaying the bird. Habitats are made from brass tubing, solid rods, foil sheathing and texture paste. The big drawback in making a complex branch, such as an apple branch, is holding three or more leaves or blossom stems in place for soldering. This is a very frustrating and time-consuming task. To make this task easier Reg have developed and produced a Multi FlexArm – Soldering Station. The standard model has four FlexArms with a 21 inch reach. The attraction of this soldering station is that, with special orders, the FlexArms can be lengthened and more arms added to suit the carver’s requirements. Additional information can be found on this website.
Reg thoroughly enjoys this hobby and finds it to be both challenging and rewarding, requiring the carver to bring out the artistic and inventive abilities that they possess.
Reg moved to Ottawa in 2017, Ontario, with his wife Norma. They have three adult children and four grandchildren