A telephone pole, Craftsman hatchet and a drawing…the art of D. Bill

Last month, when I was on my way to Chicago to meet the Rare Visions guys, I tried to find D. Bill, a telephone pole carver that I had heard of. They had interview D years ago, and I wasn’t even sure if he was still with us. Alas, I couldn’t find him then. But the fine folks at Intuit assured me that he was alive, although he has been having health problems.
D. Bill

c. 1923
Danvers, Illinois
Telephone pole carver

The Garmin proved to be a bit off, but the tried and true method of asking a neighbor, proved to be more accurate. As I pulled down the drive, Mrs. Bill, “Mis Red” was out mowing the lawn. D. was feeling quite fine, though a bit unsteady as he showed me around his workshop.
“It’s something to do in the winter.”

Armed with his trusty Sears Craftsman hatchet and carefully drawn plans full of mathematical equations, this former John Deere mechanical engineer spends up to 3 days carving his Picasso-like faces into old telephone poles. Lately, he has begun to carve out planks that he collected over 20 years ago. They are much less wieldy than those poles…which he claims are “easy to pick up.”
“If you draw it up, it just got to come out right.”

Cement pillars over the car port spell out his name.