One of the first wood carvings Albert Noll ever created was a carved wooden message: ‘Blessed by the grace of God’. It was two years ago, just before turning 90, that Albert tried out the scroll saw at his local men’s shed at Waikerie in South Australia’s Riverland. The sawn message has not only remained a favourite carving, but its creation instilled in him a passion for this new hobby.
Faced with requests to sell his carvings, Albert felt uncomfortable making money from his hobby. So, he decided to direct the funds towards something else that has always brought him joy – raising money for Australian Lutheran World Service. A couple of hundred carvings later and he’s raised more than $800 from giving his wares to friends and local groups in return for a donation.
Albert has been inspired by his love of wood – sourcing a range of wood, including walnut, mallee, redgum or black oak so hard it breaks a lot of saw blades! ‘I can look at a piece of wood and image something into it’, he says. ‘One of my favourite ones is a dove cut out overlayed into the top of a cross – it involves two different coloured pieces of wood.’
Albert and his wife Gladys feel blessed that they can still live independently. Their faith has supported them through tough times, including the loss of two of their three children in separate car accidents.
Crafting wood has been a comfort and solace for Albert in these past few years. ‘Six years ago, it was confirmed that I have Parkinson’s. It was diagnosed so early that I can manage it well’, he says. ‘If I keep myself busy with the woodwork it helps every time. It keeps my brain busy and my hands busy.’
And, as Gladys says: ‘A lot of love goes into it’.
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