John Scholl was a carpenter by trade. He was born in Wurtenburg, Germany in 1827 but came to America in 1853 settling in the forest region of Germania, Pennsylvania. Here he cleared his own land, built his own house and many others, including the village church, the general store, and the local brewery. This was a time of community living and music was hymnal, literature was the Bible and art was household objects and decoration. Yet, within this life were many occassions to celebrate and it was to these celebrations John Scholl turned his attention when he retired at the age of eighty and began his wood carvings.
In his carvings, all done with a jackknife and bandsaw, John Scholl celebrated Christmas, starlight, snowfall, spring with flowers and birds, weddings, circuses and above all - peace on earth. He is remembered as saying, "When a man works steadily and faithfully for sixty years, idleness is an unwanted stranger."
It is difficult to describe John Scholl's work; it is not like anything one has seen although the ingredients are recognizable. The motifs derive mainly from his cultural point of view. He was a Pennsylvania German and he used their traditional symbols: the dove, the bird of paradise, the peacock, the tulip, anchor, crested swan, and the starcrossed circle. The era in which he lived was Victorian. He surrounded his imagery with a framework of delicate tracery and fretwork similar to that on the porches of houses he built, but it was a highly individual concept. "The Wedding", is celebrated by a tier of columns, capped by a blue and white star burst and flanked by a pair of turtledoves, one of which wears a red heart pierced and padlocked.
John Scholl did not sell or even give away any of his works. He simply carved for the pleasure of carving.