|God-given gifts are often discovered unexpectedly in life. This is definitely the case with Mr. Jerry Traufler of Le Mars, Iowa. Mr. Traufler began carving in 1975 after a trip to Arkansas that led him to experiment with carving. Never having taken lessons, he taught himself by trial and error. He worked from photographs, using the old-fashioned method of chisel and mallet.
Mr. Traufler, a postal employee, then entered and won numerous national and international competitions, some of which include: Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto; International Woodcarvers Congress, Davenport; Fur Rendevoux, Anchorage, Alaska; Iowa Woodcarvers Show, Waterloo, Iowa; and the California Woodcarvers Competition, Knott's Berry Farm.
After winning national and international competitions in 1986, Mr. Traufler decided to try the religious theme of the "Last Supper." In 1989 he gave up woodcarving competitions so he could devote more time to it.
Having drawn a pencil outline first, and in order not to copy the work of da Vinci, Mr. Traufler then asked his wife and friends to pose for photographs, dressed as individual apostles, the Christ figure being the last to be carved. This impressive life-size rendition of the "Last Supper" soon came to life with his own individual style impressed upon the wooden figures. Relying on his creative talent, Mr. Traufler labored seven years to complete his masterpiece.
Jerry and his wife, Arlene, wanted to have this religious work of art in the locality of Le Mars, and on display for the public, so they donated it to Trinity Heights, Queen of Peace. This impressive, inspirational, life-size masterpiece, with all the individually carved goblets and unleavened bread on the massive table, can be viewed in the beautiful octagon room of the St. Joseph Center-Museum where it is now on permanent display.
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