DSC Member: Roman Horoszewski, Wood You Rather

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...

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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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