S. Arthur Shoemaker is a graduate of Millersville University and Famous Artist’s School. He taught industrial arts for 32 years but has worked longer than that as a self-taught woodcarver. He is a juried member, past president, and craft show chairman of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.
His carvings reflect distinct humor and realism with intricate detail and a unique finish combining oil stain over acrylic and an application of paste wax. His wife, Nelda, helps with the painting. He prefers basswood and sugar pine. His designs are original, with special emphasis on animals, caricatures, and whimsical and historical renditions of Saint Nicholas.
Shoemaker created a carving for the White House Christmas tree, and his work has been shown in the regular and Christmas versions of the Directory of Traditional American Crafts since 1994, with one of his carvings appearing on the front cover in 2002. He contributes instructive articles on woodcarving to Wood Carving Illustrated magazine and has appeared as a featured woodcarver. He also appeared in the Reader’s Digest video “America the Beautiful.”
As a member of the Lancaster Moravian Church, he has carved more than 30 figures for the church putz, depicting the nativity story in 12 scenes. He believes in and works toward educating both adults and young people in woodcarving. He holds many awards, and his carvings are in several permanent museum collections as well as private collections all over the world.