The GOOD WOODLEYS are “A little line of good standing people” that speak for themselves.  First hand carved by me, each are inspired by memories we all have in common, drawn from old family photographs, playground experiences, good lessons learned – and from ideas submitted by friends just like you. For instance, this is my dad and me on my first 1952 slide ride, the inspiration for RELEASE, the first StoryCarving in the Playground Collection.

REJOICE was my first Good Woodley design, originally carved as a cake topper for my “I do!” day with Chevin.  It’s also the first in our LOVE & ADORE COLLECTION.  Our love story began on a 1958 jungle gym where I kissed on the wrist the new little girl in school.   And “Yes!” that she and I, together in second grade and together now.  Our story was so enjoyed by wedding guests that we created the Good Woodleys, a last name combination of Woodruff and Kelley, while the Good has everything to do with the Craftsman in our lives – and there is much more to that good carving story.  Rejoice was also the last word Janda Sims Kelley, my wife of 38 years, whispered in my ear before God called her home – and the one word that best describes the loving-God bond that Chevin and I have.

Every Good Woodley™ comes with the story that the carving well tells, and that’s how StoryCarvings came to be, a gift category unique to our wholesome, homespun and Americana designs. They come with a StoryCard that narrates the story behind the carving and if I receive a photograph of your StoryCarving in your family hands and the reason you selected it, I’ll send you a Good Chip of wood from the original carving and a Certificate of Authenticity.

YOUR DESIGN SUGGESTION  is very welcome.  In fact, that’s how I decided to base every Love & Adore design on a vintage elementary school, cut-out Valentine’s Day cards, just like the one pictured.  Those whose ideas are accepted are invited to co-create it in my workshop and also receive a signed and artist-enhanced version and a family feature on StephenKelley.com.

I believe everybody is a story, a story that we “write” and those closest to us “read” every day. Many of them become good and lasting memories and often recall life lessons while pics of them might be found in treasured photo albums. That’s why every Good Woodley™ and Christmas Story™ design is a StoryCarvings™, a carving with a story tucked inside, intended to be as memorable as an old home movie or photograph – and if you share yours with me, I just may create a Good Woodley™ based on your story.

Release, from the Good Woodley collection, is a good example. I took my first slide ride in 1953 as the very young, first son of Bill and Jeane Kelley – and I have the picture to prove it. Even though you might not have your own playground picture or memory, you quite likely have one or your children or grandchildren, so why not relive it every day. But this playground piece and all StoryCarvings carry a better life story. No matter how great this playground experience was for me, nothing happened until I let go of the rail that was holding me back – and isn’t that true with every opportunity, while often all the better when Mom or Dad are there to encourage us, to slow us down or to stop us fast.

Your stories are mine and my stories are yours and aren’t we all kindred spirits with memories, interests, experiences and life lessons alike. That’s why I invite your story that just might become the next Good Woodley with an illustrated CarvingStory™ carded inside its gift box. That’s a “big whittled difference” between a figurine and a StoryCarving, but not the only one.

Read more about StoryCarvings