Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

January 19, 2014

Cleburne artist whittles his life away

The Christmas wonderland that garnished Jackie and Linda Hudson’s Cleburne home is finally safely stowed away, but scheduled to return sometime around November.

“Oh yeah, it’s a project to get all that down,” Jackie Hudson said. “Seems like it takes more time to take down than put up.”

The couple’s home was one of three showcased in last month’s Candlewalk Tour of Homes, an annual event the Hudsons have participated in twice.

Even absent the Yuletide decor, the couple’s historic Cleburne home retains the feel of an old time toy store and child’s play land, an aspect the couples’ children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren surely enjoyed.

Rocking horses of all sizes, stuffed animals and doll houses compete with duck decoys, carved animals and handmade furniture for attention.

Jackie Hudson, 72, can’t take credit for the teddy bears, but the rest is all courtesy of his skills in woodworking and carving.

It all started, Jackie Hudson said, when he was a kid growing up in Brazos Point.

“We dug a bunch of wells,” he said. “Had to dig about 13 until we found water. But you’d dig down far enough and find a lot of soapstone. That’s when I started carving. I was about 9 I guess with my Boy Scout knife.”

What began as a distraction to while the time away soon morphed into a lifelong passion.

“No, never had any lessons, just figured it out myself,” Jackie Hudson said. “At first it was just whittling and I got into more detail, sanding and painting and all later.

“Oh, back then I carved dogs, birds, skeleton heads, things like that. I still have some of them.”

Linda Hudson walks into the other room but returns moments later with a small carving of a dog perched on his hind legs like he’s begging for attention or food.

“Made this way back,” Jackie Hudson said. “Just several nights with a 2x4 and a sack in my lap just whittling away. Not sure if I could do the same dog again if I tried.”

The dog, most of Hudson’s carvings for that matter, isn’t based on any actual animal.

“He’s just a figment of a dog,” he said. “I just see a picture in my mind, maybe a picture in a magazine I like, and go with it.”

Inspiration can spring from anywhere, Linda Hudson said.

“There’s a beautiful dove he’s working on now,” Linda Hudson said. “He got the idea from a picture of a bird he saw on a feed sack.”

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