JAN FITCH was born in Hertfordshire, England. I worked as a secretary and personnel officer until 1977 at which time I was given the opportunity of joining a 38' ketch as cook/crew. I would sail from England to the United States. A year later, and having visited ten countries, the voyage ended in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland. Unknowingly, my career at that point would change to that of an artist - a carver of wildfowl.
During my stay there, I met a local woodcarver and was fascinated how he made the wooden bird look so soft. By saying "I wish I could do that" and with some encouragement, I decided to take evening classes in bird carving. Six months later I continued to travel by boat and practiced my hobby by carving for friends and acquaintances - any corner of the boat or space on the dock was my workshop, Two years after my initial introduction and some self teaching, I made woodcarving a full time profession.
My love of carved wood is expressed in my life size and miniature pieces, capturing the behaviour of ducks and birds as seen in nature. Using basswood, I intricately shape the wood with a knife. The piece is then textured to simulate the soft feather look and realistically painted.
A few years ago, I decided to carry my knowledge of wildfowl into another medium - cast paper sculpture. The image is designed as a bas relief sculpture and in turn, created into a limited edition cast paper print of the original. Each piece is hand pulled and has it's own characteristic.
Always searching for new ways to display my carved birds, I created "Driftwood Art". Using an alternative medium and together with my fascination for driftwood, I marry the bird with the perfect piece of wood created by Mother Nature.
I have taught at St. Lawrence College and the Haliburton School of Art and have judged and competed in competitions at wood carving shows throughout Canada, the United States and Great Britain where my work has received much acclaim. Among my many wood carving awards are "Best of Shows" including those at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto and the Ward Foundation World Championship in Maryland. My art work can be found in galleries and exhibitions across Canada and the United States.
In 1983 I moved to Canada and now live on Wolfe Island with my husband Ron and Callie our kitty cat. During the week, I can be found working and displaying my art at my Kingston studio and offer classes for woodcarving, airbrush painting and cast paper making. Visitors are welcome to visit and experience the process of "creating" and viewi the finished pieces. An appointment is suggested to be sure the studio is open.