PEOPLE OF LA SAL
David has lived in La Sal for six years.
Raised in Castle Dale, Utah, in a family of avid outdoorsmen, David spent a lot of time outside hiking, hunting, four-wheeling, etc. He loves to be outdoors and especially to see wildlife. In fact, that is part of what drew him to La Sal in the first place, it’s proximity to outdoor opportunities in the La Sal and Blue Mountains and the red rock desert. (Estimates say there are over three hundred bears on the south side of the La Sals alone.) David is constantly hiking around the area exploring all the nooks and crannies looking for wildlife, seeing new country, and shed-horn hunting. Shed-horns are antlers that are shed by deer and elk every year. His stockpile of antlers is continually growing. When asked if he ever gets lost, he says, “I’ve never gotten lost. Just delayed”
David has a knack for seeing wildlife. Some would say he attracts it, because animals seem to always turn up wherever he goes. One extreme example is when he was chased by a mountain lion in the Bookcliffs. He was on a four-wheeler when a mountain lion ran across the road in front of him and dissappeared behind a ridge. David stopped, got off the four-wheeler, and hiked to the top of the ridge with his video camera to get a shot of the cat. He was looking through the lens of the camera and lost sight of the animal. He took his eye away from the camera and scanned the area when he saw movement in the tall grass. It was the lion, walking directly towards him. David started to back off when suddenly the lion growled and began to run, right for him. David turned and burned. He reached the four-wheeler, turned it on, and gunned it. But the four-wheeler didn’t budge. The parking brake was on. By the time he released the brake and started going the mountain lion was only ten feet behind him. The roar of the engine deterred the big cat only for a moment, long enough for David to get away. When there was a safe distance between them, David stopped and looked back. The cat crept towards him. Then ran at him, again. David took off again. The cat stopped. David stopped, thinking the animal would be frightened enough to run off by now. But the lion ran at him a third time. By now David realized he was on the menu so he floored it as fast as he could and got as far away from the mountain lion as possible. David has had so many other encounters with mountain lions, although not as threatening as this one, that his brothers have nicknamed him “Cat Nip.”
All the time David spends outdoors transfers through his fingertips onto elements found there: stone, wood, and antlers. He started out etching on stone with an electric engraving tool over twelve years ago. His ability to draw has come natural to him ever since he was a child. He’s even produced a few impressive paintings. After engraving about two hundred scenes into stone in seven years he got a little bored and wanted to do something more three-dimensional. So, after being inspired by some carvings done by Ron Ramsey, he excitedly decided to turn it up a notch. He was going to carve something. He started with a slab of cottonwood, a Dremel tool and some bits. There was a slight learning curve with figuring out what effect each bit could produce. It was slow going. But he readily absorbed the new techniques, which combined with his natural artistic abilities, he was largely confident with his skill by the time he was finished with his first piece.
He has done thirty-five wood carvings and four on antlers so far. With each progressive piece that he does the detail becomes more intricate and the dimension more realistic. The biggest piece he’s done was a large scene on walnut that was about four feet by two and a half feet. He’s done two pieces for the Rocky Mt. Elk Foundation, and he’s received an Honorable Mention at the San Juan County Fair for his work.
Currently, David works as a welder’s helper and pipe fitter for Ivor Bradshaw (read Ivor’s story here), but when it comes to his art he knows no bounds and is working his way toward carving full time. Doing doors, mantles, and larger signs. David Lake will soon be a name to look for when needing custom carvings for high-end homes, cabins, and businesses.