Presenting, "Athena' s Story"

This video was filmed by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper and featured on their web site. The finished sculpture was unveiled at the September 21, 2007 Gallery Hop. She was presented to Mayor Jim Newberry and dedicated to the city of Lexington, Kentucky.  Athena was displayed at the 2007 Bluegrass Energy and Green Living Expo where Brian was the feature artist. She is currently back on display in the Mayor's office. I hope she serves the city well...

For the curious:  She is 19.5" tall. Mounted on a sandstone base making the total height 24". The spear is brass as is the hand tooled spear point.

Lexington's American Sycamore Tree

On, May 9th or early on the 10th, 2007, someone set fire to an American Sycamore tree in Woodland Park in Lexington, Kentucky. This was the second time someone had set fire to the tree and this time they destroyed it. The interior of the tree was burned out and looked like a chimney as city workers cut it down. This was a tree that had grown for over 100 years and was by some estimates over 100 feet tall. It was a magnificent tree! The intentional destruction of such a beautiful tree appalled us here at HipShot Wood.

On, May 10th, Brian contacted Urban Forester, Tim Queary, of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government to inquire about making something positive come out of this malicious act of vandalism. Brian's idea was simple, take part of the tree, carve it into a piece of wood art and donate it back to the city. The city could then use the sculpture for any purpose, including selling or auctioning it to raise funds to buy more trees for the city. Mr. Queary was all for the idea and Brian went to Lexington and picked up several pieces of the tree to take back to the shop. The city park and forestry folks working on cutting the tree down could not have been more positive or helpful!

The Design

After brooding over the five pieces of the tree lying in the shop, Brian decided to create a sculpture of the Goddess Athena for many reasons. Part of the reason for Athena included:

In its early days, Lexington was known as "The Athens of the West".

Athens is Athena's city. She is known  as the Goddess of the City, the protector of civilized life, artesian activities and agriculture.

Legend says that she invented the horse-bit that allowed horses to be tamed for the first time and Lexington is the Horse Capitol of the World.

A tree is sacred to her.

Now you know some of the reasons why we decided to turn the destruction of this grand old tree into, Athena.


Two of the University of Texas at Dallas' finest, holding the replica of their badge created by Brian. Carved from poplar, the badge took on a golden hue as the finish was applied. This piece was commissioned by the UT Dallas P.D. to be a "legacy piece" they could pass from generation of officers to the next. The Certificate of Authenticity supplied with all HWC commission pieces is now framed next to the lineage and honors of the Department. We have had some proud moments here at HWC, but this is definitely one of our finest moments. My sincere thanks to the Chief and especially Lieutenant F. for placing their trust in us to replicate the symbol of their department. We believe that the badge is a wooden work of art that is worthy of being called a "legacy piece".


I just want to send a BIG Thank You to Angela, Chad and shelterrific for this commentary on my work. It was a joy to work with Chad on their wedding topper. Angela's reaction to it and now her kind words make this a very, Very, VERY special piece of wood art. Please visit shelterrific for great advice and great ideas written by even better people...

Here is a copy of the article which included three photos from the shelterrific website:

One of the sweetest details from our wedding came when Chad surprised me with a handmade wood carving of the two of us, our own unique wedding topper. The inspiration was an homage to my grandfather, who was an avid woodcarver; our homes are sprinkled with little figurines of his. This adorable carving from Brian Sims in Kentucky, who does commission based work. Chad had sent him a photo of us, simple instructions ("make it look like grandpa carved it on the porch") and the two of them communicated via email during the carving process. I?m convinced he can carve anything. Wouldn?t a hand carved ornament be the star of a tree? Click through to the next page, and get in touch with Brian via his site
Hip Shot Wood? it?s not too late to get one started for the holidays! ? Angela M.

What do you think?

This web site receives visitors from all over the world. At last count people from over 201 countries, regions and territories
have visited.
Every continent except Antartica is represented. If you visit HipShot from Antartica please let me know. I am looking for feedback from those of you kind enough to visit, so please drop me a note. Thanks for this visit and I look forward to hearing from you.

Visitors from these countries so far:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Columbia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong China, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemborg, Macao, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Monaco, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia,  New Zealand, Nicaraqua, Niger, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Palestinian Territory, Panama, Papua New Guniea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of the Maldives, Republic of Slovenia, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuata, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

ChipChats Magazine

The official magazine of the National Wodcarvers Association, ChipChats May/June 2007 issue included an article on HipShot Wood Carving. The article covered the filming of the "Woodsculpting" program for the DIY Television Network. This article covers the details of the actual film shoot as Brian carved, "Intrepid". The article also included a five photograph layout of Brian at work as the television crew filmed.

DIY TV films at HipShot carving workshop

Nestled amid the rolling hills and horse farms of historic and scenic Woodford County, Kentucky sits the humble workshop of HipShot Wood Carving (HWC). Brian S. Sims is the founder and creative force at HWC. On this early January day in 2007, the DIY Television Network sent a three man production crew to the workshop to film HipShot woodcarver and sculptor, Brian S. Sims. The film crew consisted of a producer/cameraman, a second cameraman and a lighting/sound engineer. These three highly adaptable and professional television production engineers rapidly turned the HipShot workshop into a television film studio.

Thus began a two day film production of Brian carving a solid walnut sculpture of an eagle?s head, reminiscent of the masthead on an old wooden sailing ship. The inspiration for this piece was derived from the wooden masthead Brian created from red oak in 2004, titled, "Windward". The masthead was carved from a solid black walnut log harvested from the mountains of far eastern Kentucky and measures 15"L x 4"W x 5.5"T. The carving is mounted on a 1" thick piece of 100+ year old poplar salvaged from a bluegrass farmhouse. This newest addition to Brian?s body of work is titled, "Intrepid". The magic of television required the piece be staged at four different points of completion to expedite the filming process.

The DIY Television producers became interested in having Brian carve for their show series titled Wood Sculpting after visiting his website at . They were intrigued by a few things they found at his web site, including his philosophy of taking what the wood gives him and his use of hard woods. The thing that intrigued them the most however was his choice of carving tools, mainly a utility knife. Throughout their research and travels they had never encountered an experienced carver using a utility knife as a primary carving tool.

It didn?t take long for this seasoned television crew to become convinced that the utility knife was an effective and versatile carving tool in Brian?s experienced hands. Brian demonstrated the effectiveness of the utility knife as everything from a draw knife to a fine detail carving blade. The use of the utility knife to shape the eagle?s beak and eyes was demonstrated with rapid confidence on each cut. The inlay and detailing of over two hundred feathers into solid walnut left no doubt that this utility knife was in good hands. The utility knife was only one of several tools Brian utilized during this carving process. One of his favorite tools is a wooden carving mallet that partner Ted turned from native red oak on the shop lathe.

The filming followed each major step in the creation of the masthead. They also filmed the finishing process during which Brian chose a wipe on, satin finish, polyurethane. The two cameras filmed for numerous hours over the two day shoot. The finished television program will be 30 minutes long and air later this summer. The DIY network is seen in over 30,000,000 households and should bring this woodcarving enterprise a burst of activity as the year winds down.

A tribute

As a tribute to one of the great wood sculptors Brian decided to carve his own version of John Shonle's "Repose". The original is an exceptional piece of Mr. Shonle's abstract work. Brian's version titled, "Rest" is a tribute to the original. Carved from hard rock maple "Rest" is not for sale and is a permanent piece in Brian's personal collection. I hope you enjoy seeing it.




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