Local carver showcased at library

Sam Odrowski

A local artist has had his specially hand-crafted wooden carvings on display at the Fort Frances Public Library for the last month.
“I just love doing it,” said Ray Coran, who has been making the wooden art for about 35 years.
The display case at the library contains more than 20 different pieces, with many featuring different animals like owls, geese, ducks, dogs, wolves, cougars, bears, and deer.
As well, there are miniature scenes featuring people, with one depicting a funny little group of golfers and another showing a group of folks drinking at an old-fashioned saloon.
In all, Coran said the pieces on display took him more than 1,000 hours to carve and paint.
He added there’s been a lot of positive feedback on the pieces on display, with many people writing about them on Facebook.
Each year, Coran donates a piece to the annual Ducks Unlimited banquet here, which raises funds for the conservation, restoration, and management of Canada’s wetlands and associated habitats.
He first learned how to craft wooden carvings from his brother, who has since passed away, but he has continued on with the art form.
When he first started making the wooden art, Coran thought he might sell a couple of pieces but soon discovered it is a hard market to get a fair price in.
“When people look at a carving, they don’t know how much time you put into it so they want it cheap as hell, so I just display them and give them away,” he explained.
He has passed on many of the carvings to his children. He also has a solid collection back at home.
Coran has been on a bit of a hiatus for making new carvings due to the cold winter and his workspace being located out in his garage.
But he said when it warms back up and the snow melts, he’ll start carving again.
Once Coran crafts some new pieces, he hopes to have them displayed in the library again, with plans for next year.