Cliff Mire is a self-taught wood carver who has been honing his skills for more than four decades. He got his start carving after his wife was unable to find the type of wooden jewelry she wanted. Beginning only with a pocket knife, a 4-sided rasp and sandpaper made from actual sand, Cliff quickly found he had a natural talent for wood-carving. He since moved into carving wildlife and one-of-a-kind wooden mystery boxes sold at Vermilionville's gift shop, La Boutique.
Clif works with all types of wood, including pine, walnut, mahogany, oak and white cedar, but his favorite is cypress collected from the Atchafalaya. A process called spalting makes Cliff's creations as visually appealing as they are functional. Spalting is the result of a naturally occurring fungus invading the wood an can take upwards of six to eight months. The fungi introduced to the wood sense the presence of one another and secrete chemicals to mark their terriotry, causing the discoloration of the wood. Once the spalting process is complete, Cliff removes the wood from the damp area and moves it to a dry area where the fungus cannot survive.
Cliff is extremely passionate about his work at Vermilionville and has carved every day for the last 41 years. He enjoys speaking French with visitors to the village and actively involves himself in sharing his craft with the community. He is the father of six boys and one girl and the husband of a woman who gently nudged him into his dream career.