Calvin Braxton Fords presents Within Our Levees: Our area is home to the youngest-ever World Champion decoy carver – Lafourche Gazette

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Updated: November 23, 2022 @ 1:39 am
Pictured is Jett Brunet- a champion duck carver
One of Brunet’s work

Gazette Editor
Pictured is Jett Brunet- a champion duck carver
An average person may see just a standard block of wood. 
But for Jett Brunet, inside that block of wood is a gorgeous, detailed bird that’s just waiting to come to life.
Brunet has been carving for 50 years — dating back to when he got his start as a 9-year-old boy.
He has the pedigree — the son of legendary carver Tan Brunet. He also has the talent, too, having won countless World Championships, himself, throughout the course of his long, storied career.
Brunet sat down with The Gazette this week and said the thing he loves about carving is that the possibilities are literally endless. 
“The beauty of this is that there’s so many different species of birds. The poses are infinite,” Brunet said. “There’s no limit to the things you can do. For me, it’s often just whatever pops out of my head on a given day.”
For Brunet, perfecting this craft has been a life-long mission.
He started as a boy learning under his father, the world famous championship carver, Tan. 
Studying his father’s work and picking up a few tricks of his own along the way, Jett said that he realized at a pretty young age that he had both the eye and the skill to be talented in this craft.
“I learned so much from him,” Jett said of his father. “I learned from him when he was still a young man and was a world-class carver. That was in the ‘70s when I got into it. I started doing little miniatures and was following him around and learning from what he did.” 
As Jett got older, his work excelled. At 21, he won his first Best in World title in the Decorative Decoy Pairs. He repeated the feat again 2 years later in 1987. 
In total throughout the course of his career, Brunet has won close to 40 Best of Show Awards and is widely regarded as one of — if not the — most decorated carver in the history of the craft.
His work has been featured across the world and his work is routinely featured and reproduced for Ducks Unlimited. 
When asked if he ever thought anything like this could ever happen during his career, Brunet said no, but added that his career has been a blessing and he’s so proud of the works he’s been able to create. 
“It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s paid off,” Brunet said. “I love what I do. I love the process. I love taking that block of wood and finding a bird in it. I love being able to express my creativity and showcase my artistic side. And I also love giving joy and happiness to others in my work. The people enjoy seeing the carvings and they really have been so kind with some of the things that they’ve said.” 
When asked how long it takes to turn a carving from a block of wood into a masterpiece, Brunet said that it’s a process that takes hours of time and hard work.
One of Brunet’s work
He said he never works on just one piece from start-to-finish, but if he did, it would take roughly 4 months. But most likely, it takes even longer because of the way he works in his workshop.
“I work on 2-3 pieces at a time,” Brunet said. “From start-to-finish, you’re looking at roughly 9 months because you’re jumping back and forth to each piece.” 
Brunet said in recent years, he’s moved away from decorative carving competitively and has moved more into interpretive wood sculptures, a genre in which he has also won a World Championship. 
Brunet said he’s going to carve as long as Father Time allows. He was honored in recent years with a Living Legends Distinction. He said his creative juices are still flowing — as much as ever.
“I’m more into interpretive sculpting now and there, it’s more wide open,” Brunet said. “You can do what you want, how you want. You can make things up. That’s really inspired me as an artist because you can do anything you can think of and it’s wide open and a whole new world. I do sculptures. That’s what I do. I can look at a block of wood and find a duck in it. To become a champion, I had to learn a lot of skills. But what I do first and foremost are sculptures.” 
Gazette Editor
Casey Gisclair joined The Lafourche Gazette in January 2020 and became our Editor in September 2021. Casey has covered our area as a reporter since 2010, and has a passion for telling the stories of our people in Lafourche Parish. Casey is also the host o
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