Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

November 1999 Newsletter 

Well, this month Joe Rusik was pinch hitting for president Carl Borst and called the meeting to order at 7pm November 7, 1999.  It seems Carl was enjoying a performance by comedians Tim Conway & Harvey Korman at the Pepsi Arena.  It might have been a let down for Carl from the comedy acts he usually resides over on Tuesdays!  Anyway, George Hallenbeck, who was sitting in for Martha Colinas, read the meeting minutes from last month.  Minutes were accepted as read and the ‘B’ team carried the meeting off real well.

Don Painter gave a lengthy, three-sentence treasurers report.  Not my observation Don.  It’s here in the minutes.  I actually thought the dynamics were getting better.  You must be getting coaching from your predecessor no doubt.  Bottom line is, we’re still pretty flush with a grand total of $5693.95.  Don’t forget to get your club dues to Don (if haven’t already taken care of that item).

George Hallenbeck gave the show committee report.  This was quite a trick since he was also taking the meeting minutes.  That might explain why this paragraph of the minutes is so hard to decipher… just kidding George.  Invitational mailings went out this month.  Harold and I distributed some entry forms out at the Erie Canal Woodcarvers meeting, and I think the Oneida County Contingency is going to increase by a couple of carvers this year.  George knows that Woodcraft purchased the ‘Blue Moon Saloon’ from the Caricature Carvers of America (CCA) and he is seeing if they’ll display it at our show.  They said they usually only display near Woodcraft franchises.  Hey!  Plant one of them puppies in Albany!  Wouldn’t THAT be a win/win situation?  Thanks to Fred Jenzer, show posters, handouts, and raffle tickets for the Nativity are ready.  Proceeds help fund our big show and the Christmas Make-a-Wish fund we donate to.  Everyone should grab at least a handful.  George thanks all his show committee cohorts for all their help so far.  They are:

Jim Molitar                 -    club table
Walt LeClair               -    table setup
Fred Jenzer                 -    nativity raffle
John Raucci                 -    front door
Sr. Mary Ellen             -    publicity
Marcus Kruger            -    judging
Ron Meyers,
Monte Foster,
Betty Meyers
& Ernie D`Assandro    -     ribbons & entries
Dick Moran                 -     guest carver & seminar
Ev Bottsford &
Nelson Downs             -     Whittling Contest
Martha Colinas            -      Judging Report & Auction

… more to come

George Twillinger and his gorgeous cane production got a great write up in The Gazette.  Way to go George!

I’m real happy to report that there were some contributions to the newsletter this month.  Whew! That’s a relief… I’m starting to run out of material.  There’s a limit to how much of this stuff I can make up!  We’ll get to those later in this letter… promise.  I really don’t want the contributions limited to the e-mail folks.  Anything you got, drop of to me at the meeting or snail-mail me at:

Mike Bloomquist
117 Riverview Parkway S.
Rome, NY 13440

Our Christmas covered dish supper follows the December 7th meeting.  Yummmm!  Can’t wait.  One dish per couple is your ticket, and if you didn’t sign up, call Kay Borst @ 355-2933.  Bring your own cups and silverware.  Plates, coffee, tea, and soda will be provided.  Don’t forget that Christmas carving to show off at your table.

Carol Ayers says our patches will be ready in a couple weeks.  She made a motion to sell them to members for $3.50 and non-members for $5.00.  See?  Your $6.00 dues already saved you lucky members an easy $1.50.  The vote went to many, many, MANY, enthusiastic ‘ayes’.  There was one ‘nay’… the usual.

Dick Moran reported on the upcoming programs.  We’re in need of some talented folks to present programs for Jan & Feb 2000.  Come on!  We know you’re out there.  What a way to ring in the millennium!  Yeah, yeah, I know.  It doesn’t officially start until next Jan, but hey, 2000 is such a nice round number.  You know it’s special.  If no one steps up, I’ll be forced to give a dissertation on the Y2K computer bug which will be old news by then, and ten times more boring than it already is.  Now there’s a threat!  There is a bright spot since March 2000 promises George Twillinger, Carol Ayers, & Bill McCormick with a program on Carving Canes & Walking Sticks.  Dick listed suggested subjects: carving antlers (a rather pointed discussion), carving safety (or ‘why I can only count to seven’), carving carousel animals (we could go round and round all night on that subject), painting and staining techniques, air brushing, carving fish, creating appropriate mountings/habitat, and deep relief carving (at this point it would be a ‘deep relief’ if
someone would volunteer).  Dick also reports that the David Sabol program has thirteen sign ups with twelve of those having paid their deposits.  We have thirty-five videos in the library.  There were 170 sign-outs over the last 28 months.  The top loners were the ‘sharpening tape’ (signed out 19 times), and Dave Bennett’s ‘Relief Carving in a Different Light’ (with 17 sign-outs).  Great stats Dick.

John Raucci has secured space in a file cabinet at the Innman Center for books, patterns and the like.  We have two donated books, one a carving fish, and Laura Putnam Dunkel’s “Whimsical Birds”.  Plans are in for a motor and wheel for honing carving tools.  Poor John, there were so many phonetic variations on his last name flying around at the meeting that I forgot how it’s really pronounced!  Luckily, I know how to spell it, and he answers to ‘John’ (isn’t that right Mr. Rachi?).  I don’t like to point fingers, but George Hallenbeck started it.

Ok, now the November 13th show at The Innman Center.  In a nutshell, it was a disaster as far as attendance from the non-carving world, but… it was a screaming success in so many other ways that none of the woodcarvers (or their friends) cared.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t there, so here’s where this month’s contributors come in to bail me out…

I thought it was very well represented by our club members.  I would like to thank all who helped make it possible.  To bad it was so poorly attended by the community in Amsterdam.  They sure missed a great exhibit of diverse talent and a lot of fun and laughs. "As usual."

   John (Raucci)

Hi mike
 Well we had about 22 tables set up with about 25 or so displaying their works of art. The displays were great with a good mix of different styles and subjects. Any club would be proud of the quality of work that was displayed.
            As you know the goal of this show was to help generate a few bucks for the Inman center. Ed Prevost, the manager of the center, and I were talking about the show last week and he said " if we come out a dollar to the good it will be a good deal". Well we did do better than that; I
believe Eddie counted over $200 when the raffle and donation boxes were empty plus whatever the kitchen did.
           So in that respect we have to call it a success and of coarse we all had a good time just being together and seeing the new carvings that were shown. But as far as the attendance goes----------- a real bomb. If a few regulars from the center and Johns parents didn't show up no one would have been there. 
           We are looking forward to May, a show in the populated area will hopefully be a more rewarding venture, as far as the public is concerned.
           The prizes for the raffle that the center had were a dozen or so carvings that were donated by some of our generous members. In fact most of them were won buy the same members, Ernie D`Assandro won the cane that he donated, re-donated it and I believe another member won it back, or something like that. I guess this gives you an idea of who bought most of the tickets.
           Chris Schmocker brought his nativity for display to sell our raffle tickets on and Pete Paulding manned the ticket booth for most of the time with some help late in the day. 
            The only competition was a peoples choice ribbon for " best table" and "best carving”, they were both won by our now " World Famous" John Raucci. John’s 1/3 life sized carving of his dog was the best carving winner. It was well deserved and his Mom said that she voted for Ron’s table. For those who didn’t know it Johns article and pattern made the back cover of Sept - Oct Chip Chats magazine.  
             All and all I feel that it was a good show and a worth doing again. The people in this area can’t ignore us forever.

              Carl (Borst)


 Just in case you hear that our Saturday show at the Inman Center was a disaster and if we had 15 people that was a lot, I would like to add my two cents.  And, please put this in the next newsletter.
    For me, the show at the Inman Center was a special gift.  Why? Because everybody got to walk around and really study the magnificent pieces we have carved.  Someone said to me, "Isn't it awesome, these two mountain men are the same pattern and look how different they are.  Each person sees the piece in their own way." 
    Mostly, since the attendance was low, we had the opportunity to chat with one another and that was so special.  Sometimes on Thursday we walk around and check out each other’s carvings but Saturday, we really visited.  People actually sat down and chatted with one another.
    Saturday was a special gift because we stopped to reverence one another and affirm the wonderful talents of woodcarving we share.  Thanks everyone.     
Sister Mary Ellen


No offense to the other two, but I obviously saved the best for last.  If Sr. Mary Ellen ever writes a newsletter like that, I’m out of a job!

Our program this month was a slide show by George Hallenbeck.  This guy’s a one-man-show this month.  He even writes the later half of this newsletter!  Actually, it’s comforting to know there’s someone else the spelling-and-grammer checker beats up on as much as me.  He tells me in the minutes here I can write up what I think of his slide presentation…  now he knows I’m not going to take advantage of a wide open shot like that!  The show included photos of the club’s May extravaganza, some club sideshows during the past year, and these neat carving places he finds during his travels.  The photography is awesome, as always.  I don’t know how he gets up on top of those Adirondack Peaks.  I was gasping for air just sitting on my butt looking at his photos!  Besides that, was it Dick Moran behind me, identifying the spots by latitude and longitude?… ya know those are two candidates this tenderfoot won’t be hiking/canoeing with?  “No!  That’s alright boys.  You go ahead and canoe over to that mountain, climb it, and have lunch at the top without me.  I’ll just park myself in this here Adirondack chair, mess around with this nice piece of basswood, and enjoy the view from down here!  Wouldn’t want to slow you down, and I need the carving practice anyway.  Someday I want to carve like John What-his-name.”

Hey folks, next newsletter I report on the culinary delights of our December meeting.  Promise to keep the drool marks to a minimum.  Tell you what… make it easy on me and come sample them or yourself.  See ya!

Thursday Wood Carving News 
By George Hallenbeck

Thursday, Oct. 28th   - Twenty-nine carvers in attendance 

Andy Ebli is back from Austria and displaying 5 or 6 beautiful carvings!  Our home grown "master Carver" out did himself in the Austrian School!  His work is outstanding!

Walt LeClair in with more Cardinals, nicely done and all for sale!  Great X-mas presents.

Sister Mary Ellen hard at work on a sign for a friend’s husband, "Mike's Doghouse".  She's a doggone busy carver!

Mike Fields hard at work on his really attractive fishing lures, trout etc.  Also nice x-mas presents for that fishing person your fond of!

Everett Botsford finishing his Cardinal fluffed out in the snow.  A different style and quite
interesting.  Lots of feather carving!

Thursday, Nov. 4th   - Twenty carvers in attendance 

Our Steve Madej is at it again!  Our "Inventor Originator" brought in a Cowboy twirling his lasso and a Cowgirl both made of horseshoes!  They're painted black and have red neckerchiefs.  What a guy, our Steve.

John Raucci is working on something!  The block of wood has not yet emitted a figure but it's coming.  Maybe a "Big Beggar".

Chris Schmocker finishing his "Waterlilies" Relief.  So professional!  The detailing is

Stopped at Pieter Paulding's station!  He was in the middle of what looked like an emergency operation in a veterinary clinic!  But all the tubes, containers of colored water, brushes, Pepsi Cola and 20 different paint bottles simply meant that he was painting two chickadees!  Just another Michael Angelo in the making.

Thursday Nov. 18, 1999       
Ev Bottsford finally "finished off" his cardinal just in time for winter.  Now that he will be
heading to Florida, he has a pelican in the works.

Ron Myers is starting a relief carving of 3 raccoons, plus he has another ready to go, a pretty woods sprite sitting on a Mushroom, a very romantic looking drawing!  What a relief.  Huh Ron?

Walt LeClair "hard at work" on a Donny woodpecker #33?  It will be flying in a week or 2, I guess.

Monti Foster working on a well dressed PIG! Not in a blanket, but a sports jacket!

Saratoga’s Sunday gazette had a full page spread on Bill McCormack with pictures of his
wonderful "Last Supper" drawn and carved by Bill and also photos of his fish and cane!  He just  had carped tunnel surgery and we all wish Bill a speedy recovery and good health.

Dick Moran’s "Angel" is finally reaching fruition! She’s been dropped, suffered a broken
wing, cracked, stepped on, and abused, as was the ceramic statue, his model.  But she’s looking good and should be fully recovered and on display, a medical marvel!  All kidding aside, Dick, it’s a model of perfection (and perseverance).

Nelson Downs in the middle of a family of gnomes.  X-mas soon.

And how about "Mandrake the magician Borst"?  He displayed his magic trick, showing a small ball in a vase, the ball then ending up in Chris Schmocker`s shirt pocket and then back into the vase!  All this by the waving of a magic wand (a #3 gouge) and some muttered incantations! (The Joys of Toys & the Toys of Boys).  

 Happy Thanksgiving!
 George Hallenbeck