答：我小時住鄉間，喜歡看木工作木具，看竹工作竹具，雖然無親手工作經驗，但是無意識中，模仿了匠工手藝。留學美國學成工作時，因為 DIY 流行，受環境影響，閒暇時，自然養成木工嗜好。第一個工作成果是，一九七七年從休斯頓 (Houston, Texas) 轉職到俄亥俄州辛辛那提 (Cincinnati, Ohio)，搬進新屋後，我花了二年的時間，把空空水泥四壁的地下室，裝墴成可播放幻燈片和8-mm電影的小教室，乒乓球間，客人臥室，酒吧，靠近牆壁書架，冬天盆栽花木避寒角落（圖一），更有可從樓上搖控的收音機和電唱機設備（圖二），也增闢一間淋浴設備（圖三，鉛管工人合作）等等。自己也當電工，完成了所有地下室電線裝配。
興趣從木工轉向木雕，可說是潛能經由貴人啟發。一九九一年，我和牽手買了經營權，經營小教授書店 (Little Professor Book Center) 。門外需要裝上一個店名招牌。為了省錢，我就買紅木自己製作（圖七、八、九）。沒料到這塊招牌，後來竟然成了我進入雕刻工作的媒介。
那時，有一對美國人老夫老妻，Joe and Marion Thomson（圖十: 左上）常來書店訂購有關木雕的書籍，日久就成了對談聊天的好朋友。我告訴他我對木工有興趣，書店門外的招牌是我用鑿子 (Chisel) 鑿成的。他說他一直以為那是書店裝墴的現成品。他馬上就又走出門外端詳了一番，進來後，二話不說，就邀請我參加他所屬的Springfield Township Senior Center 松年雕刻班。此松年中心離住家只有二哩多路。二十年前木雕工作從此開始，在此繼續，二十年如一日。
當時我從沒見過雕刻刀，對雕刻毫無印象。說來也算歷史偶然，一九九四年末，我患腸癌，手術後，化療十個多月，每週一次，每次二小時。二小時點滴，旁無他事，嫌太無聊，我就想起松年雕刻班，先去拜訪，二位老人家 Joe Thomson 和Marlin Oglesbee（圖十: 左下，妻Mary）熱心好意，初見面兩人就各遞給我一把雕刻刀（圖十: 右）。我用到現在，還不知當時他們是要送給我的，還是要借給我的。他們沒說，我也沒問。他們生前和我歡樂相處好幾年，我善用手刀（hand knife），他們還給我取了一個天生彫刻家（“born carver”）的美名; 他們爲他們送我的小刀感到高興。現在這兩把小刀是我的珍藏紀念品。有了刀，從此每週化療二個小時，我就不再閒來無事了。那年我雕了一隻小魚，一個小天使，一隻小貓頭鷹，送給我三個女兒 (圖十一)。後來也雕了同鄉會徽章（圖十二，1995年辛辛那提台灣同鄉會文化中心開幕藝展拍賣 $250，得主：Jennifer Hsu），和洋蘭（圖十三，答謝鄭美紅同鄉1994年遠途從Dayton 到 Cincinnati探病。背後題詩：「時時數念 / 病中深情愛顧 / 一蕊蘭花 / 答謝一路遠途」）。其他還有一些作品。
答：我參加了松年雕刻班後，隨班員參觀每年一次的 Cincinnati 和Middletown雕刻比賽展。雕刻展品主要是美國中西部業餘雕刻家的作品，藝術家、匠工，雕刻種類應有盡有。二、三年後，我看出有一個領域少有人嚐試，就是我現在專心雕刻的相似人像（likeness of human portrait）。
為了取材方便，我到現在只作深刻浮雕 (deep relief) ，不做立體全身人像（in the round）。木材寬度不受限制，但是深度小，尺寸與人頭實際寬度與深度不成比例，浮雕面部深淺甚難拿捏，斜面人像又比正面和側面人像困難，每一修正，往往牽一髮而動全「面」，非有極大耐性，作品無法稱心滿意。這時我只自己買了二把圓形鑿（Gouge）,看著英俊大衛雕刻美麗愛妻（圖十七），觀者稱道。
木雕風格 不在藝術 在情趣
親情有腸癌化療中完成贈三女兒之三小件「小魚、小天使、小貓頭鷹」(圖十一)，「女兒餵孫圖」(圖二十)，「荳蔻年華的愛妻」(圖二十一)，和「幽默小豬 PIGture Perfect (亮相十足)」(圖二十二) 慰問屬豬的弟婦玉體欠安之禮物等。
友情有「一朵蘭花」（圖十三）答謝朋友遠途探病，有答謝好友李喬和胡民祥為我的長篇虛構自傳小說《母語踏腳行 Taiwanese Language: An Acoustical Journey》（圖二十三）寫序等 （圖二十四、二十五）。
並且鑄銅四十件（圖二十六中右）。以後在Cincinnati 雕塑家 John Leon 工作室學橡皮模，翻成石膏（圖二十六右）。
有朋友購贈鑄銅給阿扁伉儷，我意外榮獲總統親自簽名《海洋國家、進步台灣》一冊（圖二十八左），題字：泰澤博士賜正「台灣芎蕉，民主成果、世界人權，人類航舵，催生新憲，公投成功」陳水扁 吳淑珍 同謝 1//5/2006。他特地加上「催生新憲，公投成功」二句（圖二十八右），看似表達他在總統任内留下這二項未完成的重大任務。
其中有一件鑄銅，二O一一年在台北母親節陪扁媽祈福餐會（圖二十九），拍賣十二萬元新台幣（合 $4000美金）http://www.taiwanenews.com/doc/20120511105.php ；
http://youtu.be/naoZ8FqjrIA （7:05 與 11:20 二次時段）。
以上的努力，讓我幾年來獲得 Middletown Miami Valley Woodcarvers (Ohio) 比賽四次（一、二、三、三名）頭獎（圖三十一）。
我也因此有機會主持最近二年（2012、2013）的辛城 (Cincinnati Carvers Guild) 木雕比賽展（圖三十二）。
答：遠在三十四年前，一九八一年，我在住地美國俄州辛城 (Cincinnati, Ohio) 初遇史明先生。他在他的曠世著作《台灣人四百年史》上簽名留念（圖三十三）。
雕刻開始時，選取的木材留有下半部空白（圖三十六），本來以為肖像及箴言完成後若不需要，即可鋸除。可是雕刻過程中，慢慢想起，決定手刻生日快樂祝詞：「感謝 史明先生 終身奉獻 台獨革命 感悟人生 勉勵後進 祝 生日快樂 二O一三年十一月九日 王泰澤 敬雕」。同時把 「台灣人四百年史」 頭頁的一九O五年台灣地圖雷射上去（圖三十七），也感念史明先生台獨功業跨越台、日兩地，在左上角手刻台灣玉山，右下角手刻日本北齋海景，題「先生之風，山高水長」（圖三十八）鐳射。延至次年 2014才完成此件生日快樂作品（圖三十九），十一月八日在台中台灣大地文教基金會獻增（圖四十）。次日在彰化慶祝生日會節目上，與衆多會衆共享。
兩三年前，我曾在辛城雕塑家 John Leon 的工作室 http://johnleon.com/about.html，用阿扁伉儷木雕原件學習製作橡皮模（圖四十一），也學習油泥塑像（oil clay sculpture）。
光陰荏苒，十五歲月，我的女兒餵孫圖中十一天的幼孫女（圖四十四），Lauren Montgomery,現在已經十四嵗了（圖四十五右），騎馬、游泳、長曲棍球樣樣來。此作品（圖二十）之所以命名Beginnings ,是三個人生開始：女兒新做母親，孫女新生命，加上我的人像浮雕處女作。
我退休後，緣分好，有機會參加 Springfield Township Senior Center 的雕刻班，發現我的雕刻嗜好。二十年來，每星期三早上十時至中午，出席人數不等，通常五到十多位同好，大家歡樂相聚，一邊雕刻，一邊話天說皇帝。沒有人指導，只憑個人發揮。最可珍惜的是，隔間是設備齊全的木工工作室，每台電動機器，都接抽風管，保持室内乾淨。工作環境好，燈光充足，這是我退休後長時間消遣的好去處（圖四十六）
原作：Taiwan: The Threatened Democracy by Bruce Herschensohn World Ahead 2006
Joining woodcarving group at Springfield Township Senior Center at age 56
Interviewer: KuoFung Chang
Translation and Photos: Taitzer Wang
Q: What do you remember about your carving skills when you first started to carve in wood？
A: I was born and brought up in a small village in Taiwan. When I was little, I liked to go to local shops to watch wood and bamboo craftsmen do their work. Although I had no work experience personally, I seemed to have unconsciously mimicked the crafts. Long since, when I had completed my studies and started working in the States, the DIY popularity attracted me. Influenced by the environment, I naturally developed my woodworking hobby by way of a pastime. My first big project was finishing my basement from scratch. In 1977, my family moved from Houston, Texas, to Cincinnati, Ohio. We moved into a brand new house, and for two years I spent spare time after work converting the empty cement basement into a multipurpose area, where we could show slides and 8-mmmovies on a screen like a small classroom and play table tennis in another area. There was also a guest bedroom, a bar, and built-in book shelves. I even wired the stereo system on the first floor to the speakers in the basement so as to wake up a slumbering guest in the basement. Needless to say, as an amateur electrician, I finished all the required wiring for all the lights in the basement.
My Interest in wood carvings was unexpectedly inspired by a distinguished woodcarver. In 1991, my wife and I bought a bookstore franchise and became co-owners of Little Professor Book Center. The shopping center required that every business hang an under-canopy sign outside of the front door. In order to save money, I made our sign myself with red wood. I did not realize that this sign would one day introduce me to the wonderful field of woodcarving. At the time, Joe and Marion Thompson were frequent customers to the bookstore. They always ordered books on the subject of woodcarving. We chatted often and eventually became good friends. I told them that I was interested in woodworking, and that I had chiseled the under-canopy sign outside the bookstore door. Saying that he had always thought the sign was part of the franchise decorations, Joe immediately went out to take another look. He came back to the store andresolutely invited me to join the local senior carving class to which he belonged.
I had never seen carving tools up to that point and did not have the slightest idea of what woodcarving basics required. It was a mere coincidence that, in late 1994, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, which required surgery and chemotherapy for more than ten months. The chemotherapy was scheduled once a week, two hours each time. Sitting for two hours to receive IV drips and having nothing else to do was simply too boring for me. Recalling the carving class which Joe and MarionThompson told me about, I decided to pay my first visit to the class. Two elderly carvers kindly lent me carving knives. And so, I had something to do during chemotherapy after that. That year I carved a small fish, a small angel, and a smallowl for my three daughters (Figure 1). Later, I also carved the Cincinnati Taiwanese American’s Association logo, a cattleya orchid, and other works.
Visit carving shows and choose a specialty
Q: What types of things do you like to carve?
A: After I joined the senior carving class, I visited annual woodcarving shows in Cincinnati for some years. The exhibitors were mainly amateur woodcarvers from the Midwest. They were artists as well as artisans. Eventually I noticed that there were few people who carved likenesses of human portraits. I have since taken up this type of carving and it makes up the majority of my recent woodcarving works.
Due to the fact that wood of large sizes are not readily available for the in-the-round carving, I have so far carved only the deep reliefs on wooden boards. Because the small depth of the wood is highly disproportioned to the depth of the head, it is extremely difficult to judge the depth of a facial relief project. Furthermore, it’s more difficult to carve a 45-degree face than to carve the frontal or profiled faces; any alteration often results in distortion of other areas of the face. And thus, without great patience, it is difficult to achieve satisfactory results.
My woodcarvings do not emphasize artistic style; they have fun in their own right
Q: What is the style of your woodcarvings?
A: My woodcarvings do not emphasize artistic style; they express the fun in the work. My carvings are related to family, friendship, and politics.
In the family category, there are the aforementioned “small fish, angel, and owl ” (Figure 1), which I carved during chemotherapy and gave to each of my three daughters. Figure 2 shows my daughter feeding her baby. This is entitled “Beginnings”, showing the first granddaughter, the first time mother, and my first relief likeness of portraits. Figure 3 is my wife at age 20, carved from a picture taken in Tokyo, Japan. The humorous piece of piglet on a tripod “PiGture Perfect” (Figure 4) was a gift to my sister-in-law to wish her speedy recovery from an illness.
Fig. 2 Daughter feeding her Fig. 3 My wife at age 20 Fig. 4 PiGture Perfect
In the friendship category, “a cattleya orchid” (figure not shown) was carved for a friend who came all the way from Dayton to visit me at Cincinnati Bethesda North Hospital, but missed me by a couple of hours after I had checked out. To thank friends, Li Chiao 李喬and Hu Minhsiang 胡民祥, for writing prefaces for myautobiographic novel, I carved their portraits (figures not shown).
In the politics category, former President Chen Shui-bian and the first lady 陳水扁總統伉儷 were my first portraits (Figure 5: From right: bronze, the original wood carving, and plaster). In late 2003, while visiting Taiwan, I was touched by the scene on TV when President Chen was leaving for New York City to accept the International League of Human Rights Award. At Taoyuan Airport, he leaned forward to kiss the first lady good-bye. The first lady had been confined to a wheel chair for life due to an injury inflicted after an election campaign some years back, allegedly conspired by Chens’ political opponents. The design of this work includes carvings and inscriptions: Heart – Lovers’ hearts; Map of Taiwan – Love for the motherland; Banana Flowers – Taiwan’s budding democracy; ILHR logo –Human rights are the foundation of human civilization; Dated Feb.28, 2004.
Fig.5 Former President Chen and First Lady
I finished the piece in time for my return to Taiwan to participate in the 228 two-million people, Hand-in-Hand, 800-mile around-the-island demonstration of solidarity of Taiwan – Say No to Chinese missiles (photos added in translation; the carving is shown in the photo on the left).
Judy and I were bussed to the location of Toufen, Miaoli, 苗栗頭份where we had never been to before. I made forty bronze duplicates of the carving of the President and his wife, one of which was given to the President by a buyer. Unexpectedly and delightfully, I was given a just-off-the-press book, “Taiwan – An
Ocean Nation“, authored and personally autographed by the President, who asked his friend to mail the book to me. Another bronze copy was auctioned for $4,000 USD at the Mother’s Day dinner party in honor of President Chen’s mother in 2011.
Since I started carving likenesses of portraits six years ago, I have won four ‘top three’ prizes: Best of Show first place (2008), Best of Show second place (2010), and Best of Show third place (2012, 2013). I was also the chairman of the 40th and 41st Cincinnati Carvers Guild Annual Woodcarving Shows.
My own fun in carving is to give the work in exchange for a big smile.
I carved the portrait of Su Beng to honor his monumental book and his lifelong devotion to Taiwan Independence
Q: Please describe the reasons for, and characteristics of your 96th birthday gift to Mr. Su Beng (Fig. 6).
A: I first met Mr. Su Beng in 1981 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I lived. He autographed for me his monumental book “Four-hundred-year History of theTaiwanese People“. In 2000, I started carving likeness of human portraits. After I finished the portraits of the former President Chen and the first lady in 2004, I began to contemplate carving the portrait of Mr. Su Beng, but I did not start the work as I had considered for quite a long time.
Then, it just so happened that in May, 2010, Professor and Mrs. J.C. Huang came to Cincinnati for Professor Yang’s funeral service. They stayed at my house and I told them about my idea of carving the portrait of Su Beng. They were very pleased with the idea and then sent me Mr. Su Beng’s reading expression photo(Fig 7, Su Hsiu-Chin / photo). The following year Mr. Su Beng spoke in New YorkCity. In his speech he encouraged the Taiwanese audience to “be a good person first, then you can be a good Taiwanese.” I often had a thought of “human chaos being often due to bad people in power”, the good and the bad people decide the fate of a nation. I adopted the sentence as my motto and then asked Professor J.C.Huang to contact Miss Binhong Huang 黃敏紅, the Executive Director of the Su Beng Education Foundation, to ask Mr. Su Beng for his autograph so I could laser-etch it on the wood carving to preserve his handwriting.
At the beginning, I left the lower half of the wood untouched, thinking that, if not needed, I could remove it after I had finished the portrait and the autographed line. But during the carving, it occurred to me that I could hand-carve birth-day congratulatory remarks in this space, which turned out to be: “In gratitude to Mr. Su Beng for his lifelong devotion to the Taiwan Independence revolution and
setting a good example for the young to follow. Happy 96th Birthday from Taitzer Wang 王泰澤, November 9, 2013“. I also laser-etched on the wood the Taiwan map, which appears on the first page of the book Four Hundred-year History of the Taiwanese People, which is shown in figures 6 &7. The carving was thus completed.
Fig. 6 Portrait of Su Beng Fig. 7 Su Beng’s reading expression (photo by Su Hsiuchin)