Gerry is part of a dying breed- a fifth generation Mainer raised in the (then) sleepy village of Kennebunkport. The son of a lobsterman/boat builder and the grandson of the village blacksmith, he grew up with tools in his hands. So it is not surprising that he eventually became a sculptor. For much of his adult life he was also a high school art teacher. And it was his art that eventually took he and Valerie to New Zealand.
In 1987 he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he spent a year in New Zealand studying the Maori carvers and producing his own body of work for an exhibition. The bond he and Val felt with New Zealand and its people was so strong that for several years they spent their summer holidays returning.
In 1991 their whole lives changed when Val was diagnosed with a benign spinal tumor. Though it was not life threatening, its affect was far reaching. Surgery was attempted but was unsuccessful. Faced with a long recovery process, Val and Gerry decided to take a leave of absence from teaching and go back to New Zealand. Although the climate was ideal for building strength and mobility, Val soon realized she needed something more to focus on. She considered learning bone carving.
And 'fate' stepped in. Many years before, Val and Gerry had purchased carvings from Owen Carson, a carver on their beach. They located him only to learn that he had stopped carving due to the death of his lifelong partner. But when he learned of Val's situation, he agreed to advise her on setting up a workshop. From that came an eight month apprenticeship... and a relationship which seemed to be therapeutic for both Val and Owen.
But even more importantly, Val discovered that focussing on such delicate detail required so much concentration that it actually decreased her awareness of pain.
Unable to resume her teaching position upon returning to the United States, Val began to market her bone carvings. In 1997 Gerry took early retirement from teaching in order to help Val with the growing business. As you can tell from this site, the business has continued to steadily grow.