October 16 – November 30
Brad Marlette, a Grand Rapids resident living on the Mississippi River, started carving walking sticks as birthday gifts for his 14 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and his parents. He was first inspired by a diamond willow stick that he decided to try carving. As he began to chip and sand away the wood, a shape appeared. This reminded Brad of the bible story of Moses throwing down a staff at Pharoh’s feet which turned into a snake. This inspiration eventually became his “Moses stick,” and his passion for carving walking sticks grew from there. Years later, butterflies, frogs, roses, and animal shapes of all kind are carved by hand, and then fine-tuned and perfected by wood burning and with pastel paints and stains. Brad’s hobby of making custom and personalized walking sticks and canes is now a successful business called “Running River Walking Sticks.” His artwork has been sold in several states, some as far away as the East Coast.