Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

September 1999 Newsletter 

Thanks again to Martha Colinas for the meeting minutes this month.  “Miasis Dragon” without her notes!  Probably the real reason I get these minutes regularly is our president, Carl Borst, wants to keep these newsletters somewhat accurate (we’ll still have some fun).  Speaking of El Presidente, he called the September meeting of the Mohawk Valley Art and Woodcarving Association to order this September 7th, 1999.  The place was the Inman Center, our regular meeting location.  We had 27 members and guests.  Welcome goes out to guests Gerald Lee and Mike Turiel.  Hope you guys become regulars (God knows we have enough ‘irregular’ characters here!).  The minutes of the August meeting were accepted as read. 

Little did I know that when treasurer extraordinaire, Marcus Kruger, announced a balance of $5877.71, that it was to be the last I would hear him do it.  A moment of silence…  This was indeed a sad day.  I have to explain later in this newsletter; it’s just too much to deal with right now.

George Hallenbeck, show Co-chairman, reports that plans for the May 2000 Show at Christian Brothers Academy in Albany are movin’ along.  Hey! We got the name right this time!  Maybe we can refer to it as CBA now.  Fred Jenzer is having raffle tickets printed.  He reminds us that folks are needed at the door each day to hand out tickets for door prize drawings. The search for a dinner site continues, but is ‘firming up’.

Mike Bloomquist reported that he would continue doing the Newsletter as long as needed.  You know, until someone steps up and takes that job from him, this literary abuse will go on!  Read his part of the Newsletter at: if you can't wait for the mail.  Lodge your complaints with him at: .  Let him know how appalled you are at what he does to the English language!  While you're there, look for the addition of George Hallenbeck's writings on Thursday events.  Mike plans to include them also now that he has a scanner.  There’s an example of technology falling into the wrong hands.

Andy Ebli says he will distribute wood blanks for Nativity figures before leaving to perfect his skills at another carving seminar in Austria.  At this rate Andy, they’re going to offer you a teaching position there, and we’re all going be in real trouble here in the States.  Make sure those tickets are always round trip.  Chris Schmocker will have his Nativity on display at the November Show while tickets are being sold.  That’s real generous Chris, thank you.  The ‘real thing’ from a past year is sure to generate a lot of ticket sales.

We were well represented at the fairs this year.  Walt LeClair reported our booth was a big success at the Altamont Fair.  Ron Myers and others had fun carving and talking to fair goers at the Fonda Fair. 

Historian, Ron Redmond, is requesting copies of any Club History you might have to update his records.  As an example, he has an article featuring Walt LeClair, the “Birdman of Altamont” and his carvings.

Carol Ayres reported prices on decals and patches from Cameo are high chiefly since they have to have them done by a third party.  Carl Borst is checking with another, more direct source.  Did anyone notice?  Did she put her knife down before the report this time?

Sr. Mary Ellen will advertise the November 13th woodcarving show at the Inman Center in eight newspapers. The Inman Center itself will promote the show, but they probably don’t realize that with Sr. Mary Ellen on the job, they’re going to have a show bigger than Woodstock ‘99.  Well… a better class of crowd anyway!  Organizers Carl Borst, John Raucci and Pieter Paulding are taking reservations for tables.  If you can help, contact them.  Volunteers are needed to sell Nativity tickets and there are plenty of other things that need helping hands.

Fred Jenzer made Tuesday meetings and Thursday carving group calling lists and is setting up separate chains for those gatherings.  He made name tag/membership cards, which are available when dues are paid.  These tags are super!  Well worth the $6.00 single dues or $10.00 family memberships (due this month) by themselves.  The Bloomquist clan went for the family plan and got two nametags.  It’s a deal!  You can send dues to:

Don Painter 
1397 Currybush Road
Schenectady. N.Y.  12306

Andy Ebli thanked those who sent cards during his absence.  He read a note of 
thanks from Barbara Scheinbach for the sympathy card sent after her husband's death.  In the future, during Andy's absence, Marcus Kruger or Martha Colinas will do the Sunshine Committee duties, but you’ve got to let them know.

Dick Moran outlined programs as follows: 

October - David Easterly on the carving Grinling Gibbons 
November -  George Hallenbeck will present a slide show

December meeting will be the Christmas party.  Hey Dick, I actually remembered to call David and remind him like he requested.  Does this mean the note that’s grafted to my forehead can come off!

Dick Moran says the club’s video library stands at 33 titles.  He will order two more tapes on European woodcarving.  Marcus!  You’re good with numbers.  Help me here!  That makes… that makes… um… 35 titles!  Am I right?  Am I right?

Results of election of officers for the 1999-2000 year are:

President - Carl Borst
Vice-president - Joe Rusik
Treasurer - Don Painter
Secretary -  Martha Colinas.

Since Marcus Kruger asked to be replaced, there was no contest.  Marcus!  Tell me it isn’t so!  Secretary cast one vote to elect the slate.  Man, if the U.S. Presidential race was that easy.

Walt LeClair asked for patterns, which he will copy for the Schoharie 
Chippers, who are in need of them.

Dick Moran reported that Caricature and general Carver, David Sabol accepted 
the invitation to speak at the Show dinner in May.  He will also conduct a workshop for up to twelve people Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the Show or Monday and Tuesday after the Show.  His fee is $1000.00 plus transportation and lodging for the 4 nights.  By a show of hands, there appeared to be adequate interest but Dick requested a firm commitment with a $25 deposit to assure at least ten participants.  That would keep the cost at $100.00.  Contact Dick as soon as possible, if you are interested.  This has never been a slouch show, but with Pete Ortel last year and David Sabol this year it’s getting to be world class.

Mike Bloomquist reported that the consensus of Clubs he contacted in regard to vendors at woodcarving show is the more variety, the better.  Some businesses actually looked more for exposure for their catalog business rather than large sales at the shows.  Vendors seemed to prefer being scattered among the carvers rather than an isolated vendor’s area.  A motion by Dick Moran to allow one general vendor, and specialty vendors (i.e. knives or books) at the discretion of the show committee with preference given to Club members who sell.  The motion, which was seconded by Kay Borst, was carried by a 9 to 7 vote with some abstentions.

The meeting was adjourned.  The program that followed discussed Austrian painting techniques and was presented by Sr. Mary Ellen.  Does any one on the mailing list know an artist who works in oil colors?  I’m real scared to try this technique, because I have a whole artist box full of oil colors and oil painting equipment that’s going to be worthless as soon as I do!   O.K., here it is:

Step one: Give your carving a bath.  Yep, it’s rub-a-dub, your carving’s in the tub!  Use soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and blot off as much water as you can with a towel and let dry.  This step takes off all those hand oils, grime, and other crud left from the carving process.

Step two: Prepare the rabbit skin glue.  Hey, I don’t make this stuff up!  Rabbit skin glue. They had to find something to do when that pregnancy test gig went away!  Get over it!  Anyway, 1 part glue powder to 2-3 parts water.  Sr. Mary Ellen was measuring in tablespoons.  Let it set overnight and it turns into a gel.  This will be your sealer.

Step three: Take your gel and heat it in a jar placed in a pan of water heated on a hot plate, or in a crock-pot. When the gel gets warm enough to liquefy, take a brush and apply a nice even coat over the entire carving.  That’s your sealer coat.  It will allow a nice even ‘take’ for the following colored stains.  It also won’t let them penetrate so deeply that they can’t be removed if needed.

Step four: Mix your base stain.  This comes in a powder also, but it isn’t rabbit skin, its tree bark.  There was some conjecture at that point in the program on what type of tree the bark might be from.  Carl suggested the bark would be from a dogwood… Ooooooooookay then.  This is mixed to your own tastes and left to stand overnight.  Sealed in a good jar, the mixture is supposed to have a long shelf life.

Step five: Watercolors supply the hue.  Sr. Mary Ellen was using a back-to-school set of watercolor cakes.  I suppose the fancy tube stuff would work as well.  MTCW, but the art store brands are probably more permanent and resistant to fading than the school art brands (too bad I gave all mine away when I discovered woodcarving!).  The color is mixed with water and some of the stain on a white ceramic or shallow white saucer.  Your looking to stain the wood with color, not cover it.  If the first wash is too light, let it dry and lay another on or add more pigment and stain.  If it’s too dark the sizing will allow you to wipe it of with a damp cloth.  This is true even weeks down the road.

Step six:  If you’re satisfied with the results, apply a coat of Minwax or other finish wax of your choice too seal in the color, and give the finish a soft sheen.  Buff off excess with shoe brush or soft rag.  Realize this is the point of no return for your painting process.  No changing your mind after the wax coat goes on!

Sr. Mary Ellen, those carvings you brought back from your Austrian Seminar are great.  Bring them back after you’ve painted them, so we can enjoy them again.

Did anyone catch the poem “A Bag of Tools” on page 148 of this latest issue of Chip Chats.  I’ll try to get permission to reprint it here.

That’s it for this month; see ya at the October 5th meeting!  Be safe.  Be healthy.  Andy doesn’t what a lot of Hearts and Flowers work. 

Thursday Carving News
by George Hallenbeck

Thursday,  Sept. 2nd  -  Twenty-one carvers in attendance 

Andy Ebli  finished his shepard and sheep.  Really nice and the Austrian technique is

Don Painter  on a new kick.  He's carving a Dachshund with his middle tied in a knot! 
Many have tried, and few have finished!  No slip knots Don!

John Page  in with his bird watcher, about 10" high. Nice detail.

Nelson Downs  showing his powder horn, tiel gray white with carved ends and  powder
stop.  We have some unusual talents in this club!  You Betcha!

Pieter Paulding  painting a peck of triangle Santas.  They're neat but they need square
chimneys to descend for cookies and milk.  His grandson Mik Morrison age 12 finished
his little farmer and a fine job it is!  Keep up the good work.

My grandson Kyle McCabe age 12 finished his 3rd Relief Carving.  A Light House scene
with flying eagle and old boat.  Came out very well if I do say so!  He's a budding carver
for sure!

Thursday Sept. 9th  -  Twenty-three Carvers in attendance.

Carl Borst finally started his new project!  A portrait in the round of his great grandfather
in his Union Uniform, holding a  sword. He is carving it out of broad leaf quaking aspen. 
That Carl sure is different.

Our director Eddie Prevost "hard" at work on his chickadee.  Pretty darn good for a new
carver (2nd piece) and for a director!

Don Painter still all tied up with his dachshund knotted in the middle.  No square knots
or slip knots Don!

Ron Myers finally took the plunge!  His humming bird's bill is jammed so far into the
flower that you could hang clothes on it!  Seriously Ron it's a delightful carving. (much to
the suprise of many) .

Andy Ebli passed out some of the Nativity Set pieces.  So lets go people.  It's our big
money maker!

Marcus brought in a neat little totem pole about 12 inches high.  Great detail.  Andy Ebli
took one look and said " profile!"  We all know thats the first rule in Andy's
teaching.  "You got to make a profile."  Okay Marcus, do it!

Saw Armand Hebart making a set of wheels.  For his dog team & sled so they can run in
the summer?!

Thursday,  Sept. 16th  -  Twenty-one carvers in attendance 

Nice to see Carl Borst, Fred Jenzer and Andy Ebli working on their nativity carvings. 
The sooner the better, they help ticket sales when they are displayed.

Great to see Monte Foster back from his trip to Ireland.  He didn't kiss the Blarney Stone
but I think he's carving it!

Ron Myers carving love spoons and tenderly too!  Bette will be thrilled.  Surprised is a
good word for those of us who sit near him!  Love spoons make the world go round.

Don Painter doing a nice job on a small elephant.  Thats the 5th or 6th "nice job" that he
has in the works!

John Raucci coming along nicely on his baseball player.  John carves these amazing
little figures, and they just develop as he goes along.  This one will be a big "hit."

Dick Moran is doing a smaller version of the Santa Claus that he did a year ago.  The
first on was a remarkable carving, strikingly stained and painted!  I'm sure this one will
be the same.

Thursday,  Sept. 23rd  -  Twenty carvers in attendance 

Today was a pleasant one after getting my Chip Chats in the mail and seeing John
Raucci's "Little Beggar" on the back cover!  We've had other articles by members but
this is the First Cover!  What's next John, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan?

Bill McCormick brought in a "Religious Carving, carved out of a beam from a church
demolition in Cohoes.  Brother McCormick asked a priest what do you think of er?  Holy
Mackerel was the reply!  You really know your fish father.  It turns out it's a 4' long "Holy
Mackerel" about 23 lbs., not quite a record, snared by a large "Red Devil" lure w/ the
help of a wrecking ball.  You sure have a way with fish Bill!  Poor thing has no eyes yet!
Maybe George Terwilliger can come up with a tapping cane!

I see many Nativity carvings well on the way to completion, Fred, Andy, John, Carl,
Don, we all appreciate your efforts.  Thanks a load.

Walt LeClair working on 2 cardinals and a chickadee.  They should be flying in a week
or so.

Jim Harvey doing his first Totem Pole.  Looks real good, 2 bears and an eagle with
spread wings,  A real flying Demon!  Just a week of Demons, Devils and Holy