This is exactly how Leroy looked when I
met him, years ago. More than an artist,
he was the art he created. He was kind,
generous and had wood chips clinging to
Here is more of his story:
Leroy Setziol is considered the
“father of woodworking in Oregon,” and his
work can be found in more public places than
any other wood sculptor in this century.
It can be found in hundreds of homes,
dozens of churches, hospitals, and other
public spaces all over the Pacific Northwest —
more than a thousand works altogether.
Setziol’s first major commission was in 1964,
for fourteen relief panels for the dining rooms
at Salishan Lodge.
Ever since, his work has been in wide demand by architects.
In forty years as a sculptor, Setziol has tried clay,
stone, even glass, but wood is readily available in
Oregon and he settled on it as his medium.
He always chips off a small section in the lower left
corner as a reference point showing the grain, color,
and structure of the wood. This chip is a respectful
reference to the beautiful wood, the medium that
allows his expressiveness.
Leroy lived on 22 acres of Oregon Coast Range above
Sheridan. He and his wife Ruth had been planting trees
such as black walnut, Alaska yellow cedar, chestnut, redwood,
Japanese black pine, pin oak, locust, giant sequoia,
and Thai teak since 1973. The purpose was not for Leroy to carve,
but to grow a whole forest hillside that would someday
provide free wood for young sculptors. Some trees are
over 20 feet tall now. Leroy built their house on the property
out of oak railroad ties and many carvings such as cedar posts,
a teak dining table, carved walls from the art museum
exhibit of a carved cabin, and carvings everywhere.