From Antlers to Art


LEBANON, Mo — An Illinois man who moved to Missouri a couple years ago has been collecting antlers for years, and he’s been creating something unique with them.

It’s art made out of shed antler bones made by Jim Hughes, in the garage of his humble home in Lebanon, Missouri.

Hughes spends hours shaping, carving and creating fine-detailed collectors pieces made of antler bone. 

He says it all started out as a way to say “Thank you.” 

“My uncles had helped me out with some heating and air work at my house,” Hughes explains. “My dad said, ‘why don’t you make him something?” 

Hughes says his pieces did not always look as good as the do now. 

Seven years ago, that first work of art turned out to look like a feather, but his uncle loved it. 

After grinding out many more pieces, four years ago Hughes decided to leave his full-time factory job to become a full-time artist. 

“I went for it,” Hughes said. “Is this going to be hard? Of course it’s going to be hard, but nothing good comes easy.” 

It is safe to say Hughes has mastered his craft. 

“For the most part, I prefer to work with the most solid piece of moose antler, which is the first 8 inches as it comes out of the head,” Hughes says. 

He says he lets the bones tell him what the final piece should look like. 

“I look at it, and look at it some more. It’s fun to figure out what will fit in that footprint,” Hughes says. 

 Hughes sells most of his work online, and you can browse them here. 

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