Vernon Schaeffer of Idaho

A variation of the “trick” of carving in the wood, rather than carving something out, as viewers expect is key to solving the puzzle of how pliers can be made of wood. The late folklorist Bert Wilson introduced me to Vernon Schaeffer in Idaho and here he demonstrates an extension of the puzzle in multiple arms that fold out from the realistic looking pliers. The result is a surrealistic sculpture that invites a closer look, and that is precisely what Vernon wanted. He wanted people to appreciate that as an older man, he could still instruct and amaze. A working man, he took an ordinary tool of the plier and made it a metaphor for his life.
Photo by Simon J. Bronner, Ph.D.

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