Southern Hobbies: Decoy Duck Collector
Meet Price Ainsworth. Personal injury lawyer, recognized “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly Magazine. Home-grown Texan. Decoy Duck Collector. That’s right. Decoy ducks.
We all wear many hats. Some of us don more than others. Ainsworth happens to know a thing or two about unique interests.
“It’s like a disease I’ve got,” laughing, Ainsworth said the collection started while he was in law school, having picked up a few decoys here and there at flea markets. Duck-fever didn’t set in, however, until a few years had gone by when he met another like-minded individual with a knack for collecting decoy ducks. The man displayed his collection, “like modern art,” while Ainsworth said his own looked like a garage sale. Having seen what was possible, Ainsworth knew he was on to something.
With an appreciation for the handiwork and skillset required to individually make each wood carving, Ainsworth is most interested in green headed mallard ducks, displaying more than 20 in his collection. He keeps them stored in his office where he practices law. It is the same office where he finished up his first full-length novel, A Minor Fall. These ducks are not for use though, but purely for collection. While an avid duck hunter, he uses the current day practice of plastic duck decoys. When asked what he thought about people shying away from the labor of carving and moving toward a more modern medium like plastic, he said, “It’s like any primitive art collection, whether it’s duck decoys or iron toys.”
Pictured: a case of green headed mallards on display in Ainsworth’s office in Texas.
Wood carving is one of the oldest art forms known to man. The oldest reported weapon dates back 400,000 years, and was discovered in Clacton-on-Sea. The Clacton Spear was presented to the Geological Society of London, but there were qualms with the conclusion that it was a spear, arguing that humans couldn’t have had the cognitive capabilities then. Upon the discovery of the Schoningen Spears found in Germany three years after the discovery in Clacton, dating 300,000 years proves that humans were hunters, and not just scavengers.
Humans, creative and progressive they are, have adapted all sorts of methods since then to hunt, cook, and entertain themselves that primitive art forms are almost left in that exact spot in history. There is a love for the older practices, and for the way things used to be before you could head down to the store and purchase a rack of factory made ducks to fire off, that is expressed when Price Ainsworth talks about his display of ducks. Primitive art is a great way to get in touch with our ancestors and to appreciate a less complicated and plastic world.