May 18, 2024

Wood art piece celebrates Caitlin Clark

Allen Hendrickson’s wood art piece of Caitlin Clark, that he plans to present to Clark later this year.

Like many, Allen Hendrickson of Osceola wasn’t a huge fan of women’s basketball until Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark came along.

“She got me hooked on women’s basketball,” said Hendrickson, who enjoyed watching Clark on his TV and didn’t miss a game.

Wanting to give something back to Clark for all she has given to the community by the way of her foundations and charities, Hendrickson, known as “The Wood Art Guy,” set out to do what he does - create an intarsia wood art piece.

The piece

Hendrickson came across a picture of Clark on the internet - she’s standing in her #22 Iowa jersey in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, balancing a basketball on her fingertips in front of a basketball net with bleachers in the background. Since Hendrickson uses patterns to create his intarsia, he made some changes to the image, trying to find one that worked for him and what he wanted to create. In the end, he used a pattern of Clark made for him by a stained glass artist in Ohio, and a local woman from Osceola’s pattern of the background scene. With the combination of the two, he got to work.

“I spent two months on this, adjusting everything,” said Hendrickson, who continued to work on other wood art pieces during the time.

This piece is the first portrait that Hendrickson has done, and said that he found Clark’s face was the trickiest part for him, trying to get the pieces to fit just so to create a realistic look. He had toyed with the idea of using a laser engraving of Clark’s face - provided by an Osceola woman who does laser engraving - but found that the 2D aspect took away from the rest of the 3D image. Frustrated, Hendrickson reached out to Judy Gale Roberts, a professional intarsia artist, for advice. She told him to “do what looks right to you,” and that is what Hendrickson ended up doing.

Another area that gave Hendrickson some headache was the basketball net. Cutting pieces of wood into tiny sections to make a net weren’t coming out how Hendrickson wanted. After talking to his mother, she suggested he look at JoAnn’s Fabrics, and Hendrickson was able to find material that looked like netting and use that instead, which he finds gives it a more realistic and uniform look.

The background is solid black, which is painted. Hendrickson chose not to include the bleachers, finding they took away from Clark in the foreground.

Presentation to Clark

Originally, Hendrickson had planned on sending the piece to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the women’s basketball center. He thought they could either keep it, or give it to Clark. Then Clark’s uncle, Gregory Clark of Murray, reached out to Hendrickson.

“He said, Al, I’ll do you one better - I’ll get it to where you can give it to her personally,” said Hendrickson.

Since Clark has signed with the Indiana Fever and is busy for some time, Hendrickson said it looks like it will be August or September before he’s able to present her the piece in person. In the meantime, he’s going to take his piece to the Iowa State Fair to display, along with some other works, so that more people can see it up close.

Once the wood art reaches its final destination, Hendrickson only has one wish - to get a picture of Clark with his art.

“I just hope I’ve done her justice and I hope she likes it,” said Hendrickson.

Woods used

In this piece, Hendrickson used the hardwoods of wenge, yellow heart, white oak, red cedar, blue pine, Baltic birch, maple and orange osage. The background, which is solid black, is painted, as to find true black wood is too expensive. The portrait measures 30″ tall by 22.5″ wide, and is framed in white maple. Instead of his usual linseed oil to finish the piece and bring out the grains, Hendrickson opted against using it so as to keep the white woods from turning yellow.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.