Like the trees he carves from, furniture maker Hoppy Quick’s roots run deep. “I’m a woodsman and a forager,” says the artisan and two-time winner of the Chronogrammie for furniture making. “I’m a very spiritual man and connected to nature. Every day I create something, but really I just do what spirit tells me to do.”
Inspired by the forest around him, Quick handcarves or builds everything from wooden spoons and bowls to rough-edged gazebos and garden structures, as well as the furniture pieces from reclaimed and recycled wood. However, Quick is best known for his distinct wood carvings of bears and other local wildlife borne out of his deep connection to the Catskills’ native fauna. “I have bear claws tattooed on the back of each hand,” he explains. “So when I look down, I realize I’m an animal first before I’m a human being. That puts me in connection to what I’m doing.”
Quick’s free-will artistry is informed by generations of craftspeople who abided in the forests, mountains, and streamsides before him. “My family has been in the region since 1658,” says Quick, who credits his father with introducing him to old-school carpenters, masons, quarrymen, and farmers who shared their skills and knowledge with him. “I sat in many maple syrup huts as a child,” he remembers. “I was the respectful kid who appreciated the old timers. I would learn and listen.”
By the age of 10, he was fascinated with carving and began to learn traditional, sustainable forestry practices as well as woodlore from local woodsmen and sawmill operators. “I was schooled in the Catskills,” he says. “I have a love for everything here—the trees, the mountains, the animals, and the people. That’s what I’ve been getting by on all these years.” Now located in Accord, Quick’s workshop is open to the public in the fall, and his work is available year round through his Facebook page, the Catskill Mountain Woodsman.