William Nathan and Cindy Spencer
William Nathan and Cindy Spencer


August 2006

The carvings and boats of William Nathan Spencer and the carvings and sketches of his daughter, Cindy, will be featured in an art show opening on August 28 [2006] at the OPS Museum.

William Nathan Spencer, son of Murray Fells and Zenia Spencer, was born at Ocracoke and delivered by Miss Lola, last of the traditional island midwives. He spent the biggest part of his life on the water, commercial fishing in Ocracoke’s waters. He was captain of his shrimp boat, the Miss Miriam, for seventeen years. For the past eight years he has had what he calls a “straight job,” managing Ocracoke’s transfer station for Hyde County.

William Nathan has been working with wood his entire life. “My great-uncle Charlie Tolson started me making boats when I was about eight. We’d take two cedar shingles and make one into the boat, one the sail. We’d add a rudder and sail them across the Creek.”

His bird carving is a more recent undertaking. Six years ago, while working for the county logging in pickup loads of sand, he found himself in need of something to do. He decided to try carving ducks and he’s been carving ever since. He taught a class in decoy carving last winter Council, and he and Cindy share a booth for their artwork at the Ocrafolk Festival. Shore birds, ducks, geese, and pelicans (some in flight) will be in the show, as well as flounder, drum, and boat models.

Cindy also grew up at Ocracoke, and graduated from school here. She attended Carteret Tech, where she obtained a degree in Law Enforcement. She presently lives in Ayden, North Carolina, and works at a Weyerhaeuser sawmill.

Cindy has always liked to draw, and when she saw her father’s birds she decided to try her hand at carving. She began working on dolphins and horses, which are still among her specialties. Her sketches of animals are done in chalk and colored pencil.

The Spencer’s opening will be from 5:30 till 7:00 p.m. on August 28 [2006] and will include live music, punch, and finger foods.

Everyone is invited.

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