Braxton Ponder was a self-taught wood carver who didn’t begin creating art until age seventy-one when he retired from the grocery business. Born in 1915 on a farm in Lester, Arkansas, Ponder also attended school in that state. At age twenty-one, he took to the road and traveled all forty-eight states, Canada, and Mexico. Along the way Ponder worked a variety of jobs from farming to fishing to panning for gold. Ponder married in 1942 and served active duty in the U.S. Army during World War II. Ponder and his wife settled in Alabama in 1965. There they purchased a country store and became active members of the Baptist church. Ponder’s subjects include a menagerie of animals from polar bears to buffalo and he is also known for creating group carvings depicting religious and biblical themes. Ponder worked by first roughing out the basic shape with a jigsaw and then finishing the carving with a pocketknife. He preferred to use spruce or cedar. Each piece is sanded and then given a coat of spray paint. He added details such as eyes, ears, claws, and tails by using found materials such as small brads, electrical wire, bits of plastic, and rope. Ponder’s work is held in many private collections throughout the United States.