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Acclaimed wood sculptor designing new sign for The Old Mill

Following termite damage to The Old Mill's sign, acclaimed wood sculptor Lee Halbrook is working to bring a new one to the historic North Little Rock landmark.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — You can find Lee Halbrook outside his Conway barn sawing and sculpting away at different wood projects. 

He said that the shed, which hosts his supplies and creations, acts as his 'therapeutic' place. 

Halbrook is the owner of Custom Log Carvings and is now taking on yet another passion filled job. 

"When I'm carving a tree, a stump, it doesn't always go exactly how I have it in my mind, because the wood itself has something to say about what you carve out of it," said Halbrook.

The solitude he has in Conway is a complete 180 from the noise his impact has made in North Little Rock. 

RELATED: Artist beautifies North Little Rock with incredible wood sculptures

The Old Mill sign in North Little Rock is getting an update, and it's courtesy to Halbrook. 

He's done some great work for the city in the past, and now he's back for a new sign installation, having previously carved the original sign in 2018.

"I actually carved The Old Mill into the log and that's what we're going to do again, only this time we're going to use cedar," said Halbrook.

Cedar is a wood that doesn't rot and has less issues that arise from insects. 

Halbrook said the log on the original sign was becoming destroyed because of termites.  

Ahead of his work, the city of North Little Rock said that they're excited about having another one of Halbrook's pieces beautify the historic landmark.

Parks & Recreation Director, Steve Shields said it won't be the last time they'll work with Halbrook either.

"He's going to start the process of doing another one in the near future and he's just really talented at what he does. He produces great artwork and our people love it," said Shields. 

Halbrook said he originally only carved creations for fun, until people started to take notice. Now, he does it full time running his own business. 

He found his start working with the city when Mayor Terry Hartwick noticed one of his animal sculptures. Back then, Hartwick was the Parks & Recreation Director.

"It just brings character and it's just fun for our citizens in North Little Rock," said Shields.

While all parties are excited, Shields said the sign won't be up for another 2-3 weeks. 

For, this is just building upon a passion for wood sculpture that he's had since he was a child, creating pieces for others and earning him worldwide acclaim.

"I put a little bit of myself into everything I carve, because I enjoy doing it," said Halbrook.