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Meet the Masters: Return to Masters Homepage
Bill Massey, Decoy Carver
, Waddington

Childhood on the St. Lawrence; influences on Bill's decoy carving. Watch (QuickTime video 5:46)

Winter mornings in the days of market hunting ducks. Listen (Real 1:26)

On the Miss Hazelton:a teenager with a fast boat. Listen (Real 1:28)

Bill Massey was the subject of this January 31, 2000 profile jointly produced for radio by Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and North Country Public Radio. Listen (Real 5:13)

Bill Massey was one of the last of the traditional St. Lawrence River guides and decoy makers. He always lived close to the water. He was given his first boat at the age of six so that he could commute to school from the family's island home in Chippewa Bay. Massey learned the art of carving decoys from his grandfather and father, as well as from the great Alexandria Bay carver, Chauncey Wheeler. For more than 70 years, Massey carved countless decoys, both for hunting and for prized decorations. He used no photographs as models; instead he relied on his vast knowledge of St. Lawrence River birds, gained through first-hand contact. Over the years Bill Massey participated in many exhibitions and competitions, often winning prizes for his carvings or his sharpshooting skills. He participated in the National Folk Festival in Vienna, Virginia, in 1980 and was nominated for the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship in 1991.

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