Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

December 1999 Newsletter
By Mike Bloomquist

Well, this is the last newsletter for 1999.  Happy New Year wishes are in order as well as a belated Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah. Being my first year of newsletter writing, I consistently messed up holiday wishes this year.  I tend to start New Year Resolutions a month early so as not to jinx them. Therefore, holiday tidings for 2000 will be on time starting with this newsletter.  Hopefully, I also start getting these writings to John Raucci on time, and in the correct format.  Hope the Holidays Season was/is peaceful and joyful for everyone.  We're probably one of the few groups that hope Santa brings us sharp objects for Christmas, and can't be certified mentally unstable for wishing for it publicly.  This year the "jolly old elf" brought me a set of Flexcut mallet gouges, tuition for the David Sabol class and several carving books.  We'll let you know at the meeting and in the next newsletter how the tools are.  The Sabol class is a given.  As for the books, it's a personal goal of mine to carve one item from each book on my shelf.  If they stop writing the damn things this year, and I live to age 104, it might happen. 

Hope everyone survives the Y2K bug.  It's not supposed to have an appetite for wood, so we're probably OK.  Never fear!  I have my portable typewriter from college handy.  Problem there is, if I have to resort to that, you'll probably see January's newsletter sometime in May. It will be a more adventurous 'read' picking through the spelling and grammar errors.  My feeling is the whole event will be like these religious groups that predict the Second Coming of Jesus.  The magic hour will come and go, and then they'll redo their calculations and come up with a new pamphlet for the 'next' Second Coming.  Thankfully, for the Y2K bug it won't be an issue again until 3000.  Why wait?  I think the government should start Y3K research now.  As for the millennium hype (actually a separate topic) they'll remind us that, because of the way we count years, the 'real' millennium is still 366 days off.  Just wonderful!  Talk about room for error, anyone research the history of our calendar system?  If you tweak the numbers just right, you could make a case for it occurring on the 4th of July, three years from now!  It just occurred to me that this paragraph has been pretty much unrelated to woodcarving.  My apologies.  Let's get down off the soapbox, and back on track.

The business part of this monthís meeting was very short and very sweet, so we could get to the good stuff.  It was so short that I failed to take notes, and didnít get minutes.  If you really need those, come to the January meeting, and theyíre sure to be read.

The club's Christmas Dinner was wonderful this year, as usual.  Unfortunately there were some MIAs due to health or other matters.  'Good Thoughts', which I interpret as a PC (politically correct) version of Prayers, go out to Carol Ayers who's having back problems, and Sr. Mary Ellen who was with a recovering friend.  Kai Henderson made it!  We havenít seen her since she dumped... ummmm, handed over newsletter duties to me.  Kai I think thatís legally considered a hit-and-run!  Kai, donít be a stranger.  Iím really enjoying the job.  I canít speak for the rest of the club that suffers through reading this, or John who sweats through their late delivery, but I think your safe from harm.  We had a late visitor... well he was on time for the regular meeting, but we started early with the dinner.  Welcome to Jeff Jackson who was the victim of a Carl Borst magic trick.  More on that later.  There were casseroles and crock pot creations galore. Trust me, I tried a little of everything, and they were all great.  Almost didn't leave room for dessert.  Hey! It could happen.  Although I didn't/couldn't sample one of each dessert, I have reliable sources that say there wasn't a mediocre one in the desserts category either.  After the eating was done, everyone just hung around, visited, and checked out some of the Christmas carvings that were on display.  OK, some of us hung around because we were immobile from the eating, but that was all right too.

Carvings in attendance were: 

Joe Rusik's monk tree.  Seems Joe carves this little Christmas monk for each of his grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and they are displayed on this series of circular shelves mounted on a pole. Since the shelves have smaller diameters as they go higher, the effect is this Christmas tree made out of monks.

Chris Schmocker and Mike Bloomquist did the woodcarverís version of  wearing the same gown to the senior prom.  We both brought our renditions of Rick Butz's Adirondack Santa, complete with black bear with adirondack pack baskets full of gifts.  Personally I'm glad we weren't in competition.  His was wonderful, and showed much more of his personal style in the carving and the finish work.  Chris also brought a snowman ornament which my wife would kill for, and a Scottish Santa head ornament.  Now thereís a scary mental image... Chris and I in prom gowns.

Harold Kaltenbach brought some of his well done miniature Santas.  These guys have been real popular at the craft shows heís been at this fall.

John Poselovich brought wonderful carvings of Santa and a Snowman.

Bill Heffernan had with him a carved pin of a flying Santa blowing a trumpet.  It was very nice, but his larger carving of Santa halfway into a chimney was awesome, and complete with detailed bag of goodies.

Andy Ebli brought a complete nativity set with him.  Obviously this was carved in that beautiful Austrian style heís been perfecting over the last couple years of vacations there.

Everett Botsford  brought his wonderful Cardinal that George wrote about in a previous newsletter.

Monte Foster had a well carved a nicely painted Kachina.  Hey Monte, how about a program on  Kachinas.  Bet Dick Moran can find a slot for you in a heartbeat.  Donít wait too long, that threat I made about a Y2K dissertation seems to working.

George Hallenbeck had a skiing Santa ornament,  a Santa with bells both well done IMHO(in my humble opinion).  My favorite of his pieces were the relief carved rabbits done in catalpa with a natural finish.  They are gorgeous as is the wood.

Ron Meyers carved a Christmas pin which Bette was proudly wearing.  He also gets credit for a relief carving of  mountain sheep.  Seems heís made a couple of nice sales and commissions with his relief carvings lately.  Congratulations Ron.

Carl Borst had a seated Santa and a seperate scene called ďSantaís Day OffĒ, complete with hound dog and spilled eggnog.  In typical Borst style, you didnít need to read the title, just looking at it made you smile.

Also in the just-a-look-makes-you-smile category was a John Raucci caricature.  The expression on Santaís face as he peers down into an empty bag actually made me laugh.  Yes, yes, Iím easily amused, but I saw several others have the same reaction.  These reactions were followed closely by a scratching of the head, and muttering ĎHow the heck does he carve those faces?!í.  He also brought a Santa ornament and series of beautiful letter openers done in several themes, including a mouse, a catamaran, and a butterfly.

I know this latest section of the newsletter is looking a lot like George Hallenbeckís section, but I canít help it.  You donít mess with style when the style works!  Weíll try to limit the copywrite infringement to this Christmas Dinner edition, howís that?  If I messed up on credits, let me know, and blame it on me not having as much practice at this as George has.  Last and absolutely not least, weíre not forgetting a wonderful standing St. Nicholas that Jeff Jackson brought.  Now I didnít witness this, but it seems Jeffís carving has a detachable head.  At least it does since that Ďincidentí where it was too close to a Carl Borst magic trick, and some spilled coffee.  Sorry these are only fragments of the story.  Iíll try to get the full version, but lately everyone does a duck-and-run when I come near with the notebook!  Jeff, I have it from a couple reliable Thursday Ďirregularsí that if Carl really likes your carving, his eye-hand-coordination bottoms out suddenly.  As strange as it seems to some of us, Carl is really paying you a compliment, and
Iím jealous since heís never dropped one of my carvings.  Just a friendly tip from one woodcarver to another since we would all like to see you become a regular at our club.

Hey folks, thatís all Iíve got.  See ya at our first meeting of the year 2000.  Make sure all those chisels, gouges, and knives are sharp and Y2K compliant!  While I'm thinking of it, have a Happy Valentine's Day, a memorable Memorial Day, a great 4th-of-July, a productive Labor Day, a....  !

Thursday Wood Carving News 
By George Hallenbeck

Thursday, Dec. 9th   - Twenty-four carvers in attendance 

Our Xmas party was another social and culinary success.  I heard many comments that the Center is much more "homey" and comfortable than the school.  We had 32 people doing away with a wonderful buffet.

People ask me what I've done so I will say that I finished my Relief "Gentle Feelings", 2 Rabbits in a basket, and my mountain lion Relief.  I'm working on a mermaid and a bird of paradise relief.  Ev Botsford is leaving next week for Tennessee and he "hopes  they'll be done by next year"!  So do I!  We'll all miss Everette until next April, I think!

Judy Goodwin graced our presence this day sporting a new auburn hairdo, short and imaginative.  With black earrings I thought Katie Curic had stopped by from the Today Show!  Nice to have you back Judy smiling & sweet tempered!

Carl Borst hard at work on his Cardinal and a great Indian Head in a slab of butternut!  The face is unique!  It's leering at a scantily clad Fairy perched on a mushroom carved by Ron Myers.

John Raucci's series of letter openers has everyone ooing and aahing!  Done in a variety of woods they are unusually attractive and artfully carved.  John finished his bulldogs done as Santas for x-Mas tree hangers.  These bulldogs would fit right in with the TV commercial with dogs playing cards.  They both would be aces up and have winning hands!

Armand Hebert  is now working on an old western stagecoach!  It will have 4 horses and John Wayne on top?

Nelson Downs has his gnomes looking good, 2 done and 2 to go!

Nice to see Carol Ayers doing something other than canes!  She has a "Santa Duck" that is just so comical and nicely carved too!  Cant wait to see it painted.

Nativity set is coming along nicely.  We have 10 pieces now and more coming.  See Fred Jenzer for your raffle tickets.

Marcus Kruger continually amazes us!  Today he brought in a golf club shaft section made into a gouge!  And sharp too!  We know people make wood duck heads out of old wooden drivers but gouges out of old shafts is a new wrinkle!  Marc just keeps "putter-ing" around!

Thursday Dec. 16th   -      26 Carvers in attendance

John Page brought in his Wood Duck head on a milled base.  Nicely carved and especially well painted.

Nelson Downs received a gift from his Wifeís niece, a lovely ornamental cross carved similar to a pierce carving, done by laser and a small canoe scaled down to three inches.  Really well done.

Welcome to Mike Quay a new carver today.  Hope you like us Mike and plan to keep coming.

John Raucci brought in his 36" high Polar Bear just beautifully done especially striking as it sat under the Xmas tree.  John "bearly" had time for his letter openers, which are also beautifully done!

Our man Steve Madej has done it again!  Would you believe a carousel (2 horses, a train and 2 rocking horses) powered by flashlight batteries.  The carousels are on springs so they go up and down as well as around!  All to the tune of the Jingle Bell Rock!  Some Rube Goldberg is our Steve!

Dick Moran showed up with his "Heavenly Angel" finally finished in "caution yellow"!  If this poor abused creature holds together it will surely win a "ribbon" instead of a "ribbing".  Seriously it's a great carving!

Thursday, Dec. 23rd,1999    -       25 Carvers in attendance

Welcome to John Cross of Elijaville, NY.  John is an exceptional and prolific carver.  His work sells in galleries in New York City and Cooperstown, NY.  Some of his works of art are Negro Baseball League players, Miss America Finalists, a Tattooed Lady, a Basket Ball team and many others.  We hope to see John as a member and as an exhibitor at our show in May 2000!

Monte Foster showed his Kochina Doll, Hopi Zumi type.  Very unusual, in fact unique! Feathered headdress, spear, string of fish plus a few fish still in the net!  A remarkable piece!  What talented people we have in this club!

Walt LeClair back after a siege of early winter malady, cold etc. Walt has a Red Wing Blackbird in the burning stage now!  Richard Vanderhouvel is carving a bird also, Walt looked at it and said "OK, a Downy Woodpecker".  Richard showed it to me (Tail first) and I thought it was a Platypus!  Some imagination!

Mike Fields, Nelson Downs and Jim Harvey still doing Xmas ornaments, better hurry up guys Santa's coming.

Our Director Eddie Prevost is carving a Santa, Pretty nice carving for a director!  Be ready for Xmas 2000?  Seriously he's coming along nicely, Eddie not the Santa!