Keith Hendrickson is an award winning artist and decoy carver residing in Locust, NC. He studied studio art and biology during his college years and then took on a job working for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. He began carving his first decoys in the early 1980s when an old ice house was renovated in Greensboro NC. He was able to recycle many of the old black cork blocks used for insulation and turn them into a decent rig of puddle ducks. Not too long after that he began making foam decoys for a waterfowl club close to Harkers Island. One of the club members purchased a set of the Decoy Unlimited aluminum molds, and the foam decoys made from those molds numbered well into the thousands.
Recently retired from the Wildlife Commission, Keith paints, writes magazine articles, andenjoys carving wooden decoys for his livelihood (and peace of mind). Enjoying the long history of waterfowl hunting along the eastern coast, Hendrickson often carves contemporary antiques resembling some of the most collectable decoys that date back well over 100 years to the market gunning days along the coast of North Carolina. Living near one of the best and largest collections of North Carolina decoys, he has been able to study, photograph, and measure many of the rarest decoys to come out of the state.
Keith’s favorite carver to come out of the market gunning days of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s is Lee Dudley, from Knott’s Island. The smooth classic lines of a Dudley decoy areunmistakable. The transition of flowing lines from the head, through the neck, into the bird’s breast, along with his classic head shapes, are what have influenced his own carving style in his non-contemporary antique decoys. He really enjoys and appreciates the working bird and the traditional decoy styles that have developed over the ages along the Atlantic Coast and especially along the coastal communities of Virginia and the Carolinas. Bits and pieces of these regional styles can be found to influence Keith’s own carving style and serve as a reminder of the rich gunning history found throughout the Southeast.