Hohl brings love of wood carving to Belhaven

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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When Bill Hohl and his wife Sherry moved to Belhaven around 2019, they brought their love of creating art with them. Bill, though, was on a mission to determine if he was a good or a great artist. 

The Hohls have been creating art for more than 20 years. They started in Seagrove, North Carolina which is known as the pottery capital of the world. There they had a secluded log cabin on seven acres that was accompanied by two fish ponds, a two acre garden and an art gallery where they displayed their latest pottery and wood carving pieces. “Then all of a sudden we realized that we got old,” Bill Hohl laughed. They moved to a much smaller property in Belhaven where they have a studio. 

“I had spent twenty years getting better at things, but we also had to make stuff that people wanted,” Hohl said. What he wanted to do in Belhaven was “make original art, make good stuff, see if he was really good or not and spend as much time as necessary.” 

In Belhaven, Hohl found out that he was a good artist, but not a great one. He said it wasn’t something he was disappointed about, because he had satisfied a need to know what kind of artist he was and is. 

Around this time he and Keith “Buck” Radcliffe became friends who started collecting driftwood and tree stumps from the Pungo River shoreline to create sculptures that focus on the wood’s natural beauty. 

Their backgrounds couldn’t be more dissimilar – Radcliffe not exploring art beyond his sculptures and Hohl opting to construct abstract pieces, but they clicked so well. “That connection has created a whole wealth of exciting new things.” 

Hohl’s emphasis is in wood carving accentuating the natural beauty of driftwood and tree stumps and making them into abstract pieces of art. He said the wildlife, the waters, the fishing,  and natural beauty of his and Sherry’s environment has been “rejuvenating” for them. 

“If you have strong feelings about something, if you’re doing any kind of art stuff, it will show up in the art,” Hohl said.