patgodinHUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Born in 1953, in the charming town of Brantford, Ontario, Pat Godin grew up alongside his brother Brian and sisters Carlene and Michele in their home near the Grand River. Many believe that he entered the world with an innate desire to explore the woods, the water, the wetlands and all of their animal and vegetative inhabitants. The Grand River quickly turned into his playground and he became a dedicated student of nature, immersing himself in the world of fauna and flora out of pure interest and admiration. It wasn’t long before his interest in the natural world seamlessly collided with his innate ability to create. His interest in model making and his passion for fishing inspired him to develop his very first, truly original fishing lure at the early age of 11. He carved the lure from wood and finished it with paint that he found in his father’s workshop.

Pat’s inevitable progression into duck decoy carving was encouraged in 1967 when he stumbled onto a book in his local library by Eugene V. Connett III entitled Duck Decoys: How to Make Them, How to Paint Them, How to Rig Them. Interestingly enough, the book was published in 1953. At the age of 16, Pat purchased his beloved 1953 Fargo pick-up truck and took on the role as an eager summer employee in a tool and die machine shop. It was during his years in the shop that he developed an extensive working knowledge of high precision machinery, gaining and refining skills that would become the foundation of his future successes. It wasn’t long before Pat began avidly hunting waterfowl in the waters and marshes of Long Point Bay on Lake Erie, experimenting with taxidermy and crafting duck decoys. His appreciation for and exposure to the anatomical make-up and lifestyle patterns of the birds greatly inspired his post-secondary educational choices and future career path.

EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE

After graduating from high school, Pat’s interest and passion for nature lead him to further his education at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario and to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. During those college years Pat also worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service and spent his summers with a dream job studying various species of waterfowl in the wetlands of Ontario. At the completion of his B.Sc. degree he worked in the summer of 1976 at the famed Delta Waterfowl Research Station, Delta, Manitoba where he assisted M.Sc. and Ph.D. students conducting research studies on waterfowl. This experience convinced Pat that he should begin the work on his Master of Science degree. His research on Mallards on a series of small wetlands in southern Ontario helped him to determine some of the factors influencing the temporal and spatial distribution of this species.

CPHOTO3GOLDENEYEHEN1974Extending his passion for wildlife and carving into a lifelong career was a natural transition for Pat. In 1973, at the age of 20, he entered his first competition decoy in the Toronto-hosted Canadian National Decoy Contest and met several expert Canadian carvers who became cardinal role models. Completely enamoured with their work, Pat focused his skills and in one year developed a decoy for the 1974 Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition in Salisbury, Maryland. This decoy won Best of Show at the Amateur (Intermediate) level of Decorative Decoys.

One year later, Pat began competing at a Professional (Open) level and in 1976, he won his first World Championship title in the World Championship Decorative Decoy Pairs class for his innovative pair of Common Goldeneyes.

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In the last five decades, Pat has achieved multiple World Championship titles in four out of five World Class categories. Most recently in 2015, Pat won his fourteenth World Champion Award in the World Championship Shootin’ Rig class named the Jimmie Vizier Memorial Award after his father-in-law.

Pat’s other accolades include:

  • Two Best in World awards in the Shootin’ Rig class
  • Two titles in the World Decorative Lifesize category
  • Five titles in World Decorative Decoy Pairs category
  • Five titles in the World Decorative Miniature category
  • Best of Show awards in several competitions including: the Canadian National Decoy Contestin Toronto, the North American Wildfowl Carving Competition in Livonia, Michigan, the Midwest Decoy Contest in Pte. Mouillee, Michigan, the Gulf South Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana, the California Open Wildlife Art Festival in San Diego, California, the Pacific Flyway Wildfowl Art Show in Sacramento, California, and the Northern Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Pat is the proud recipient of numerous other honours including an invitation to represent North American carvers at the opening of the International Bird Carving Exhibition in Yokohama, Japan in 1993 as well as his induction into the Waterfowl Festival Hall of Fame in 1994 and Brantford’s Walk of Fame in 2001. Most recently, Pat was honoured at the 2015 Ward World Champion Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival in Ocean City, Maryland and presented the title of Living Legend by the Ward Foundation.

LIFE OUTSIDE OF CARVING

Outside of the intricate world of carving, Pat has developed hands-on educational seminars and discussions about his personal carving approach and philosophy in addition to writing, illustrating, designing and publishing four instructional books for bird carvers entitled Championship Waterfowl Patterns, Volumes One, Two, Three and Four. He has also established a popular series of instructional videos and still image CDs for aspiring decoy artists.

More personally, the carving life blessed Pat with his beautiful wife, Jessica Vizier, daughter of the highly respected and legendary carver Jimmie Vizier. The two were first introduced in 1981 by Jan Brunet, wife of Tan Brunet, at the Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland and have been together ever since. Over the years, the two have grown into a family of five, becoming proud parents of three children Jim, Ben and Emilie. Proudly following in his father’s footsteps, Pat’s eldest son Jim has even entered his own creations into the World Show in 2006 and 2007. .

The carving world certainly has provided Pat with the opportunity to leave a great legacy in his work, but much more significantly his decision to create beautiful bird sculpture as a career has afforded him a very fine family that continues to grow with Jim’s wife Amanda and their son Hunter and daughter Violet.