1931 - 2005
Rue was born in 1931 in Cambridge, Maryland and started
carving in 1948 to supplement his own decoy rig that he used for duck hunting.
These first decoys were made from decoy bodies he found along the marshes
in Dorchester County and heads he carved himself. His first decorative
decoy was a merganser he made in the mid 1950s. When Rue took it to the
Ward brothers of Crisfield, Maryland, to show what he had made, that was
the start of his mentorship and an enduring friendship. The monthly visits
Rue made to the Ward brothers’ workshop influenced his carvings, and he
carried their legacy in his work and through stories of their lives together.
Rue’s carvings have won many blue ribbons since the late 1950s in most of the major contests along the East Coast. Rue passed along his expertise by judging competitions or teaching others how to carve, something that he enjoyed for over 30 years. Rue’s carvings also made an international impact. Many of his pieces may be found in collections in Mexico, Canada, Japan, France and England. In 1976, he even presented a Baltimore Oriole to Princess Anne of England.
Rue was a master artist in the Maryland Traditions’ Folk Arts and Culture Apprenticeship Program. He trained his apprentice, Steven Foxwell, on the finer points of decorative wildfowl art. Together, their work was recently featured in an exhibition at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art. In the summer of 2004, Rue was a participant at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. where he proudly represented the state of Maryland and its decoy carving tradition.
During his long career, Rue made significant contributions to the waterfowling community and a lasting impact on the decoy carving tradition of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.
Open Tuesday through Saturday 10AM to 4PM or open by appointment
Visit the DCHS Ron Rue Workshop
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