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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Willy McDonald (l) and Brian Ballard (r)
Photo by LuAnne Kozma

William "Willy" McDonald and Brian C. Ballard
2009 master artist and apprentice
Delton and Hopkins (Barry County)
waterfowl decoy carver

Willy McDonald first tried his hand at carving after watching a street vendor carve trinkets. He carved toys until he decided to study music, which led to a career as a professional musician and entertainer. In this profession, he was occasionally invited as an emcee to Ducks Unlimited banquets, which rekindled his interest in carving. Today he is devoted to making working waterfowl decoys, what he calls "carving for the hunt." Willy credits his grandfathers and other master carvers for his early experience and influences in woodworking. He conducts classes on painting and carving decoys, writes articles, makes public presentations, and sells materials relevant to waterfowling. In 2007 he received a Michigan Heritage Award. Brian C. Ballard, of Hopkins, is apprenticing with Willy to learn to make traditional hunting decoys.

See more of Willy's work at his website: http://www.theduckblind.com/

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