Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association
February 2001
by Michael Bloomquist 

In wood, you must work with care,
 respect, and love.
For wood has soul and spirit,
and is not at the mercy of triflers...
                                     - R. Llewllyn

The quote above might have been included here before, but it must be so far back that it's due for a repeat. I went back into the archives looking for it and realized I've been writing the newsletter for almost two years now.  Yes, I realize it seems longer for most of you.  Members like the "Naysayer", El Presidente (Carl Borst), John "How in the Heck Do You Pronounce His Last Name Anyway", Marcus (when he was treasurer), Carol "the Knife" Ayers and several others would probably like to see the pen passed on, but it aint gonna happen!  Well... yeah... it could.  If anyone is interested in a guest shot, your more than welcome (but just one month, then I get it back <grin>). Actually, I could use more contributions so, get those pens out, sharpen the pencils, warm up those keyboards, and help me out here.  I can't be the only one having this much fun carving wood!

  John Raucci made a couple of contributions this month.  First up is his show report:

Hello from down here,
     Having a great time in the sunshine state. This was my second years visiting the Port St. Lucie Woodcarving show. Like last year I was impressed most by a large attendance and the way they were able to do it all in one room.   Exhibitors, Venders, food and lots of visitors.     About 2,000 estimated over the two days and with about 65 exhibitors, let's just say the room was pretty busy.
     It did seem to me that there were more vendors than last and maybe a few less carvers.  I saw some of the same faces behind the tables that I saw at the
Lakeland show from the previous weekend.  Lots of talent moving from show to show.
     One thing that always strikes me as odd about these Florida shows, not a lot of caricature carvers.  And with all the characters down here, who are practically screaming to have their likeness carved, most carvers here are focused on birds and fish.  I get the feeling that a sense of humor may have something to do with latitude, or maybe to live in
the Great Northeast, you better have a good one.
    All said and done I think there show was a huge success, and I was glad to able to view it.
    Hope all is well with you up North. And I sure do miss all of your great sense of humors!


Like I said, we've got a couple missives from John this month.  Here he shows his versatility, and gives a report on a health related issue.

I just got back from the Keys and it seems I contracted a strange disease...called Keys Disease.  It is painless but has many symptoms including laziness, Darkening of skin tone and an appetite for Margarita's.    It is not a fatal disease but it can have a severe effect on your ability to do anything work!   It seems the only real treatment for the symptoms are lying around in the sun and swimming in the warm tropical waters around the coral reefs or sailing. I tried these things for a few days but it had debilitating effect on my finances so I stopped treatment and returned to Melbourne to continue my recovery.    Also it seems that it is highly contagious but only if you drink from the infected persons stash of rum... so stay away from my stuff. I hope to make a full recovery soon soon as the booze is gone.
   Hope all is well with you all and I'll write more soon... when I am over this bug.


Sounds serious John.  Tell you what, it seems like you need some assistance in researching this terrible disease.  Send me a plane ticket and we'll send someone down there to discuss research strategies.  Poor Florida, first "pregnant chad", and now this "Keys epidemic"... will it ever end!

  Before we leave John I'd like to print a retraction. Yep, this is my first.  In last month's newsletter it was suggested that we appoint John to some position of authority in his absence.  Well, after John read the newsletter, I got an immediate e-mail.  Seems John took my suggest in absolutely the wrong way and, well, I won't go into the details of the threat, but it wasn't pretty.  Being from Rome, NY, I take threats very seriously, especially when the threats originate from individuals whose surname ends in a vowel, so ... icksnay on the lectioneay! 


Santa Carving Contest: Final Installment

Well, I finally got official notice.  Shawn Cipa of Burgettstown, Pa. is the top dog in Santa Carving 2000.  There's some noises about things for some of the runners up, but nothing definite.  The notice mentioned a calendar featuring the winner and others (there were 53 store winners).  It also mentioned patterns from some of the winning pieces being featured in future issues of Woodcarving Illustrated.  What I know for sure is that all the store winners are going to be on display at the Fox Chapel Publishing open house (East Petersburg, Pa. near Lancaster) so, those of you going down there, scope 'em out. 


February Meeting

Don't have formal meeting minutes for you or our usual Thursday Group report from George Hallenbeck, but boy!...  did we ever have a great show-n-tell session this month.  There were all sorts of carvings on the center table.  I'll try my best to describe them here, but if you can get to the web site version of this newsletter: 

you can catch some pictures.

Andy Ebli brought all the nativity pieces carved so far for the raffle.  As usual they all look wonderful.  Richard Vandenheuvel did a spectacular job on the creche.  The roof was carefully shingled with pine cone flakes.

Joe Rusik is back with birds, and how.  Real good looking’ saw whet owl.  The drift wood it was mounted on was a prize from a road trip with his son-in-law.

Al Doty brought a wonderful South German Santa modeled after a 1909 candy mold.  It had some really good detail and a fine paint job.  Glad he didn’t wait ‘till next December to show us all.

There was a camel, a cow, a donkey and a sheep all done by Fred Jenzer. The carving job on these was A-1, but the paint job was icing on the cake.  He used the Austrian painting technique that Andy Ebli and Sister Mary Ellen showed us several meeting programs ago.  Remember?  Rabbit hide glue, wood bark stain, and water colors.  From listening to Fred describe his painting experiences you can tell he’s a convert.

Monte Foster had a 'weaver' Kachina Doll.  It was well carved and had very subtle colors.  I think Monte might be part Hopi, but he denies it.  Had a long discussion with him, and he gave me a lot of Kachina background that I didn't know.  It's been mentioned before, but Monte would be a great presentation at some future meeting.

We had a real strong showing from Carl Borst.  He had a wood spirit carved into cottonwood bark.  Next was a bear in progress... too early in the carving to tell grizzly from black bear, but I think he said grizzly.  Next was the bust of a civil war soldier, unpainted, and the usual Borst super realistic touch.  Batting clean-up was a black walnut bust of an Native American.  I think Carl said a flaw in the wood forced him to change design midway through the carving.  Could not tell from this angle that he hadn’t planned it from cut number one.

Dick Moran had a relief carving, slightly modified, of the Portlanhead Lighthouse.  The piece honored the spirit of the butternut tree that supplied the material.  Another project that went through some plan changes during the carving.  Just like the other, could not tell from this angle.

Two deep relief carvings, one of a man's face, and one of a woman's caught your eye next.  They seem to be unfinished still, but that elegant Austrian style told you immediately they were Andy Ebli creations.  Beautiful work.

Bud Burtlong also brought a relief carving.  His was a hunting scene with white tail buck in full stride, a hunter, and a third creature, which you had to look carefully for.  It was worth careful inspection because of all the wonderful detail.

Best for last... Armond Herbert's coach.  This was based on a kit and plans of a Fischer Coach Works design.  Somehow he pulled this off without the original plans which turned up recently, 70 yrs later, but badly damaged by mice.  Hope I'm getting this right.  I'm sorry Armand, but if I try to relate the whole story I'll mess it up 'cause the background was wonderful but my notes are terrible.  I think they were eaten by rodents.  Regardless, a full team of horses, the harness detail, the wheel detail, and all the undercarriage work shows an amazing amount of patience by their creator.

If, for whatever reason (like incompetence?), I missed anybody, or got some crucial information wrong, just drop me a line or e-mail, and I'll fix it in the next issue.

Club Programs

  Here’s the program schedule for the next few meetings.

Mar. 6 
"Creating Decorative Scenes and Habitats for
Mounting/Displaying Carvings" - Joanne Brady.

Apr. 3 
"Everyone Carves Something" night 
 (same as Feb. 6 above).

May 1
(Topic to be announced) - Peter Ortel.

June 5 
"Everyone Carves Something" night 
 (same as Feb. 6 above).

July 3
"Carving Hands" - Carl Borst.

Here’s a re-run on the Ortel Workshops:

Peter Ortel Workshops Program chairman, Dick Moran, announces that two separate workshops have been set up for the week following our annual show which this year is scheduled for April 28-29, 2001. The two-day workshops on "Carving Facial Expressions" will be held at the Amsterdam Senior Citizens Center - the Inman Center - on Monday & Tuesday, April 30-May 1, 2001, and presented again on Wednesday & Thursday, May 2-3, 2001. The sessions will run from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day. The cost to participate in either of the two-day workshop is $125 with a nonrefundable $25 deposit required to hold a spot in the workshop. Carving blanks, which are not included in the cost of the course, can be purchased at the workshop at five dollars each... carvers can purchase as many blanks as they feel they can complete during the two-day workshop. Deposits can be mailed to Dick Moran, 13 Northcrest Drive, Clifton Park, NY 12065-2724 or they can be brought to our Mar 6 meeting. Checks should be made out to the MVAWA or "Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association".

This is what our Carve-A-Longs are all about.  This is Carl Borst sharing his carving wisdom with some very intent club members.


The Woodcarving Show and Sale

If you’re going to be in the show this year make sure to get those forms in and reserve a booth. 

We were approached by a gentleman from Smolensk, Russia through the e-mail recently. He wants to participate in our show, but needed an invitation to start the guest visa process.  His name is Alexander Perezhogin, and he was featured in the Sep/Oct 2000 'Chip Chats', page 54.  He has a web site at:

Looks like wonderful work.  He carves political characatures and trucks.  Check ‘em out.

See?  Like I said, get those forms in.  They’re coming from all over the world, so the booths won’t last forever. 

Full of it as usual, 
-Mike Bloomquist->