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Linvel Barker

Linvel Barker and his wife Lillian Fannin Barker (1930-1997) moved from East Kentucky to East Chicago in the 1950s as part of the great post-war migration of people from Appalachia to the industrial Midwest. Linvel worked as a boilermaker in a steel mill for thirty years. After he retired, the couple returned to Elliott County in 1983.

Linvel was bored in his retirement and took up carving with the encouragement of his neighbor Minnie Adkins. The Barkers worked collaboratively, with Lillian roughing out the pieces with a bandsaw and Linvel doing the finish carving. Linvel Barker’s elegant, unpainted animals are instantly recognizable, with their slender legs and tiny feet. In many ways, his carvings are unique in comparison to the work of his contemporaries. Today, Barker’s carvings are in high demand on the collectors market.