Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Dr. Lawrence A. Wiedman, PhD, is a landlocked Midwesterner who grew up in Northeastern Indiana to be a marine paleo-ecologist specializing in oceanic invertebrates (animals with no backbone), especially coral, and how to tell if a reef is healthy and happy. A self-taught wood carver since 1980, he has developed a folk art style depicting in his pieces whimsy and a sense of motion and attitude that mimics his unique perspective on nature. Smiles are the reaction he strives for from people who view his art. For the past 25 years, he has taught geology and marine biology while directing the Environmental Science Programs at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Prior to this, he was the Chair of the Department of Geology at Monmouth College and taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
His 35 year-long research interests center on the world’s third largest barrier reef complex off Andros, an island in the Bahamas. He often demonstrates traditional mallet and gouge-style wood carving at various history-based festivals, using mostly nineteenth and early twentieth century tools. He is semi-retired from teaching, but still leads students on field studies trips all over the United States, Bahamas, and Costa Rica. Wiedman was one of the original juried presenters for the inaugural Decatur (IN) Sculpture Tour and has since exhibited in the event with a Juror’s Platinum Award in 2011. He has received three Best of Show Awards and three Best of Class recognitions at the Arts Renaissance in Roanoke. He was also an artist-in-residence at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Rome City, Indiana.