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Remembering an Artisan

Husband, dad, father-in-law, grandfather, carpenter, artisan, conservationist, and teacher. Those are the words used to describe Steve Goltz. From building houses, carving wood, taxidermy, and planting flowers, Steve had a passion for art. Steve’s recent work involved carving bowls out of knots found in trees. Steve would remove the knots from the trees and spend time craving them down to create his bowls. Many of these bowls can be found at The Left Bank Art Gallery in McGregor, IA where Steve displayed his hand-crafted art.

Pictured is some of Steve's bowls and hand-carved fish.

Not only did Steve have a love for carpentry, he also enjoyed teaching others the craft. Many years ago, Steve owned his own carpentry business and his oldest son Mike worked for him. Steve also passed this love on to his two youngest sons who still do carpentry work to this day. In fact, Steve’s son Scott has his own carpentry business known locally as Goltz Construction.

Pictured is Steve teaching his grandson, Hunter to make a cutting board. (2016)

In addition to teaching carpentry, Steve also taught many people the art of taxidermy which was another one of his talents. When he wasn’t teaching, Steve spent time planting flower seeds along country road ditches in hopes that they would create a beautiful sight for those traveling. Flowers were another passion of Steve’s and he shared his love of gardening with his wife, Jane who just happened to be his high school sweetheart.

Some mushrooms

Steve’s work is unique in that it has strong roots in all that Northeast Iowa has to offer. Steve’s carvings were not only made from woods found in the area, but the carvings also resembled natures best qualities. This includes carved morel mushrooms, fish, and even deer antler designs. All the things you find living in a rural area. Steve's work was nothing short of creativity and imagination. “If you gave dad an idea, he would make it happen,” states Steve’s oldest son, Mike. “I once asked him to make me a cribbage board out of a deer antler and he did,” recalls Mike. “He took the idea and made it happen.”

Pictured is the cribbage board made from a deer antler

Not only was Steve an artist with his hands, he also spent 10 years writing about hunting and fishing in Clayton County. Steve wrote weekly for the Billboard newspaper. He also spent years volunteering his time creating projects to be raffled at local events such as Whitetails Unlimited and Ducks Unlimited.

Sadly, Steve passed away on December 7th as a result of a heart attack. Steve spent his last day on earth hunting with his sons, grandsons, and life- long friends. Though Steve is no longer with us, his artistry lives on at The Left Bank Art Gallery where he is remembered by the other artisans who also share their work. “Steve was a lovely man,” states Liza, an artisan at the gallery who also shared how impressed she was that Steve could take something off the floor of the forest and make it into a beautiful piece of art.

A bowl carved from a knot in a tree

If you wish to view Steve’s work, you can browse a selection of bowls, walking sticks, carved fish and more at The Left Bank Art Gallery in McGregor, IA.

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