The Doof Museum of Culture and History - established 2005
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The Doof Wood Collective
This exhibition is a survey of the massive amount of Doof wood carvings executed by four generations of amateur artists who called themselves, The Doof Wood Collective. It is said they started carving together in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1940’s and over the years spread down to California and then east. The history of the Collective has not been recorded but is passed down through word of mouth. The Doof Wood Collective started with four men who worked seasonal in the lumber industry, making money on the side by carving souvenirs. They would gather once a week and carve items of interest to sell at local flea markets on the weekends. In the winter, when the work at the mills was part time and very slow, the Collective, as they called themselves, would travel to distant cities to sell the hand carved wood salad spoons, candlesticks and walking sticks for Christmas presents in the streets.
It was during one of the winters, one of the men, no one knows for sure, carved a Doof, causing quite a stir among the others. The artist was inspired by a torn piece of toy advertisement his kid had stuffed in a pants pocket. The other members watch in fascination as the Doof took form. Maybe because of the amount of beer the men had drunk a competition was made to see who could make the best Doof. Money was laid down. After three days, and a total of 100 Doofs made, no one could decide which Doof was the best. The wives of the men could not decide which one was the best. So no one won the competition. But what to do with all the Doofs? Someone then came up with the idea that the Doofs could be put out for sale along with the other merchandise when they traveled to the cities. It turned out to be a good idea, they sold their doofs and decided to make all Doofs. Gradually the men’s sons joined in the carving and their children then joined. Today you will find fifth generation Wood Collective artists, barely in their teens, learning skills from their parents while trying to make the perfect Doof.