With a chisel in one hand and an oar in the other, Roman Horoszewski combines his two passions: woodcarving and rowing. A former competitive rower, Roman now cuts through wood instead of water, constructing custom pieces for clients and auctioning off other examples of his handiwork to benefit the U.S. Olympic rowing team.
Q: What are some highlights from your rowing career?
A: I was fortunate to earn a partial athletic scholarship at Rutgers as a walk-on, and being invited to the 1990 Olympic Development Camp. These days I’m coaching high school rowing which is a lot of fun – there’s not much better way to end your working day than out on the water teaching the next generation.
Q: When did your passion for wood carving begin?
A: A few years ago, but it’s hard to say why. I’ve always been a good artist and grew up using tools; so I guess wood carving is a natural juncture of the two. My grandfather was a machinist, and my father was fairly handy, too. I’ve remodeled houses and worked in real estate and construction, so I’ve learned a lot from tradesmen over the years. I’ve always had tremendous respect for skilled craftsmen. It’s unfortunate that our society has mostly marginalized them post- WWII.
Q: Do the two—rowing and wood carving—have any crossover?
A: Rowing is a tradition-rich sport. In fact, until the early 1980s, racing shells and oars were still made of wood. So the wooden plaques I make for rowing carry on that tradition.
Q: What are the most common items you carve?
A: Every piece is unique. Most are plaques for a rowing clubs or personalized pieces clients can give as gifts. I rely heavily on word-of-mouth to generate business. Luckily, the rowing community is very small and tight-knit. I also construct pieces purely as works of art.
Q: How has your passion for rowing been kept alive?
A: My involvement in rowing for nearly 30 years has given me far more than I can ever hope to give back to the sport. It shaped much of who I am today, gave me my best friends and some of my best memories. What I do now is a small attempt to pay that back.
Check out Roman’s work on his Facebook page.
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