Russell Gillespie (1922- ) was born in a log cabin in Western North Carolina. He spent much of his early life in the mountains, truck farming and raising tobacco. In 1950 he became an ordained Baptist minister and was the pastor of the Happy Valley Baptist Church (Asheville) for many years. In the late 1960’s he began carving scenes assembled from roots, knots, peeled tree galls and limbs. These scenes are carefully constructed and include fanciful animals, birds and reptiles.