FINDING ROOTSPublished 6:32pm Friday, November 15, 2013
Windham’s woodcarvings featured in exhibit
The woodcarvings of the late Robert Pugh Windham are featured in “The Roots Exhibit: Late Artists of Pike County” at the Johnson Center for the Arts on East Walnut Street in Troy.
Windham is a Pike County native who has two woodcarvings in the collection of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
Peggy Austin Stone is a niece of the late wood carver. Windham’s wife, Lela, was Stone’s aunt, her father’s sister.
Stone had many memories of the man who brought wood to life.
“As family members, we all visited each other throughout my growing up years,” Stone said. “I was aware that my uncle Pugh carved but I simply accepted it as a hobby.
“As a student at Troy State, somewhere along the way, I heard that there was to be a display of artistic work from the area at the college. I told my uncle Pugh about it and he expressed doubts as to whether his carvings were good enough.”
Stone assured Windham that his carvings were “good enough.”
“He entered some, I don’t remember which ones, and he received some notoriety from that,” Stone said.
“I thought this was his first public viewing but, reading over a saved article from ‘The Brundidge Banner,’ dated Oct. 22, 1980, I realized that was not the case.”
In the article, Pugh said that he had a lady principal in Brundidge who liked his work so much that she bought him materials to work with. She even entered a carving he had done of his grandfather and a few drawings in an art show in Montgomery.
“As life progressed, I got married and moved to Washington State to live but each time our family went home to Pike County, we visited Uncle Pugh and Aunt Lela,” Stone said. “Of course, there were questions about his carvings. He usually brought out recent ones and we admired and talked about them.”
Windham and his work gradually became better known and people traveled to the Windham home to see and purchase his carvings.
“I do believe he was excited and inspired by it all,” Stone said.