Hand-carved in Craftsbury - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Hand-carved in Craftsbury

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The front door of a home can say a lot about a person. "To me, the front door is the most important part of the house," said Hugo Mesa.

And if you're looking at Hugo Mesa's house you can tell he's quite the artist. "That's where you come in -- that's where you come in and welcome people," Mesa said.

The Craftsbury woodworker custom carves everything at Hugo Mesa Studio -- from doors and windows, to lamps and sculptures.  "I see stuff in wood and in junk and this one just had the bird there," he said.

All of his pieces start with a sketch -- then Hugo laminates, cuts and starts carving. "That's what I was meant to do. I enjoy it -- it's fun. I can do it at home under a candle. I don't need any electricity, just sharp chisels and knifes and I can be busy all day and night," he said.

Mesa has had a chisel in his hand since he was nine years-old, growing up on a coffee plantation in Colombia and carving pipes and canes. "I wasn't good in school so I just stuck to this and went on and on and on," he said.

He moved to the U.S. in 1955 and started Hugo Mesa Studios in California. After falling in love with Vermont, he moved his business and life here in 1991. There's no router involved in any of Mesa's work -- only extremely sharp hand tools.  "You have to be able to shave with them. Anyone can carve with them," he said. Well, almost anyone.

Reporter Gina Bullard: I don't know Hugo...  ...this hurts my hand.

It's tedious, intricate work that Mesa can't get enough of. He goes to the chiropractor once every three months because of the demands on his body from carving.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Did they ever tell you to think about stopping?

Hugo Mesa: I can't do that -- I don't care who tells me. I'm addicted to this stuff.

A man with something to say -- coming through in his Made in Vermont carvings.

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