John OwenJohn Owen
John Owen, a decoy artist, works from his home studio. A native of England, Owen retired from a 33-year career in the British Army in 1991 and moved, with his Lexington-born wife, to Rockbridge County. He first began doing woodcarvings as a hobby, after an inspirational trip to Virginia’s eastern shore. Although most of his skills are largely self taught, he did receive formal instruction from renowned English carver Pauline McGowan, who helped him master the finer points of feather texturing.
He started with just ducks, and then progressed to waterfowl of all types. He also makes fish, owls, woodpeckers and various songbirds. He carves his decoys from scratch, using various soft and hard woods, and then finishes them in a range of styles.
Owen has demonstrated his craft on PBS and HGTV, and his birds are in collections in Europe and North America. His works may be found locally at Artists in Cahoots in Lexington, as well as the Virginia Artisans Center in Waynesboro. He is a member of the Rockbridge Arts Guild.