Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association
March 2001
by Michael Bloomquist 

Well, this is a first.  I finally combined woodcarving with airline travel.  Plane flights are usually a waste of time carving wise, but I finally got smart and signed out one of the company laptops which is what I'm writing this with.   Always lamented about all the flight time I wasted not being able to carve until I heard a story about an overseas flight where one of the passenger was carving wood.  Couldn't figure how they let him on with a carving knife when, on a domestic flight, they balked at my pair of screwdrivers and needle nose pliers.  "Take me to Havana or I disassemble this window.  Don't mess with me!  I have a Phillip's head screwdriver and I know how to use it!"  Anyway, back to our flying woodcarver. Half way across the Atlantic the plane suddenly hit some bad turbulence, and at the wrong moment for the woodcarver, because he nearly severed his thumb.  The good news is he survived and returned to carving, and I no longer have any desire to carve while flying.  So, for the first time I'm typing out part of your newsletter while flying.  I'll tell ya, it was a heck of a trick alternating between flapping my arms and tapping the keys without loosing altitude. That should conjure up some images for you caricature carvers!

We got another show report from John Raucci, and here it is: 

Went to the Melbourne Carvers club for the first time since I have been down here. They still meet in the same place and a lot of familiar faces were there. They are having a show on Saturday and I was invited to take a table. So Saturday is going to be a long one for me. The table is free and selling is permitted so I don't mind going but I am hoping these guys can get a sense of humor and tell some jokes or something. I think they need a dose of Ron Myers...  Maybe if I hang around long enough they will loosen up or when You come down here can get them going. Anyway...I'm going to have fun at this show if it kills me...or them! Sure do miss all you guys. Things just aren’t the same without my Tues.., and Thurs. dose of fun...  Take care and I'll keep you posted on what happens///


“A dose of Ron Meyers” hmmmm, now there is a scary thought.

Our Woodcarving Show

Received a letter from George Hallenbeck.  He says show entries are still coming in and of 45 available tables, 36 are spoken for already.  We have 33 signed up for the banquet Saturday evening where Pete Ortel is our featured speaker.  Remember, you don't need to have a table at the show to attend the banquet.  George says April 27th is his birthday, and having lots of folks sign up to set up tables and stuff that evening would be all the gift he would ask for.

Check out the end of this newsletter for a detailed map.

Thursday Carving Group

Now that he's back from points South, George also was at the Thursday woodcarving group and sends this report:

Thursday, March 15 - 14 carvers in attendance.

Jim Harvey is still working on his mouse!  The ears are getting bigger and bigger, the feet are getting smaller and smaller, and the tail is getting longer and longer!  Can't wait ‘till this “rat” is finished.

Armand Herbert has another pair of Belgian draft horses with just beautiful harnesses!  The forehead blazes are made from pieces of his wife's old toaster!  Armand really “plows” through these carvings.

Ron Meyers found an old drift wood log about 3’ long 2 years ago!  Now it's cleaned up and ready to go for a water scene.  Ron usually gets his wood at a ‘good’ price.  Canoes, birds, alligators? may decorate this one.

Carol Ayers walked in with four or five pins on her jacket, a humming bird and a few feather pins.  They were carved by Walt LeClaire.  What a pretty walking ad!  Carol is working on her canes and what lovely canes they are!

Our Ambassadors

George also includes this report on some ambitious club members:

On Friday Night, March 2nd, Peter Paulding, Art Jackson, and Harold Cummings sat down with some Cub Scouts and a carved a ‘little person’ out of soap!  At the end of the session all the Scouts qualified for their woodcarving merit badge.  Everyone had a great time except for the two “carvers” who got their soap wet and failed to qualify.  Seriously, these are the things that our club stands for and it's rewarding to see the results of these generous endeavors.  Thanks guys! 

Book Review

This month we're going to do a book which is out of print.  This may seem a little cruel, but trust me, I’ll help you find a copy afterwards.  The book is “Sculpture in Wood” by John Rood.  It was published in 1950 by The University of Minnesota Press and went through at least 6 printings, the last being in 1968.  The book has only three step-by-step projects in it, but those aren't what you buy this one for.  You buy this one for the ‘read’.  The first chapter is “Art is What You Make It’ and the second is “Wood As Material for the Sculptor”.  These should be a clue as to the flavor of the book, but even the usual woodcarving book chapters “Tools and Their Care” and “Finishing” are good reads.  The book is filled with photos, all black and white, carefully spaced where he speaks to them and reinforces the ideas being discussed.  Many discussions are tied to anecdotes as well as the photos which makes the book even more enjoyable.  Wood sculptors he's meet, other artist's work, how ideas came to him, how the ideas grew... all woven together for a wonderful picture of wood sculpture as he sees it.  Be forewarned if you go for this one, he is very found of wood rasps as carving tools, and his holding device is a huge metal worker's bench vice.  Lack of imagination in holding devices and lack of color are the only faults I can find with it.   How do you get a copy?  I found mine in a used book store in Norfolk, Va.  Almost every area in New York has a used book store, and there great places to browse.  After that there are several book search engines on the Web.  Also there is eBay.  I find eBay to be a much better source of carving books than carving tools.

New Woodcraft Store

Well I just got great news.  Woodcraft just opened a store in Rochester, the only store in New York State.  I had a chance to visit the store a couple weeks ago and meet the co-owners, another husband-wife team.  The store is stocked to the rafters and has a larger classroom area than the one at Bensalem, Pa. where the Ian Norbury class was last September.  With a little luck, yours truly might be teaching there soon.  Negotiations are in progress, so keep your fingers crossed for me.  Regardless of the teaching outcome, this store is worth a visit.  It is true for you Albany area folks this is only about an hour closer than the one in Somerville, Ma., but if you happen to be out this way for other reasons don’t miss it.  The store is on Jefferson near RT390, only 5min north of the 2nd Rochester exit of the NYS Thruway.  Piece-O-Cake!  The Grand Opening is April 7th, same Saturday as the Genesee Valley Woodcarver’s show.  Melissa and I are going to make it to that one, and for reasons I’ll get into next month looks like I’ll be catching a woodcarving show a little east of Toronto.  Hmmm... three shows to cover in the next two newsletters.  Guess we'll get these two out of the way in April, ‘cause you know what show is going to take up most of the May issue.

Upcoming Programs
 April 3 -"Everyone Carves Something" night. Everyone is asked to bring some Woodcarving tools and whatever carving project he/she is currently working on. Also, if you have a recently completed carving, please bring it to share with others during the "Show and Tell" portion of the program.
 May 1 - Peter Ortel on "Carving Hands".   
Pete Ortel Workshops
"... more than one but less than two”

Because there seemed to be enough interest at the time, Dick Moran scheduled a second two-day Peter Ortel workshop on "Carving Facial Expressions" to immediately follow the first.  The originally scheduled workshop will be held from 9 AM to 5 PM on Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1, 2001.  The second workshop... if there are enough participants... will be held on Wednesday, May 2 and Thursday, May 3, 2001.  Right now, we have more than enough participants for the first workshop but not enough to fill the second workshop.  If you know of anyone who is interested in participating, please have them contact Dick Moran immediately; he can no longer delay a decision regarding whether to continue plans for the second workshop or not.   The cost of the two-day workshop is $125 for members or $150 for nonmembers.  As things stand today, we need six more participants to pay the $25 nonrefundable deposit in order to hold the second workshop. Of course, if there are not enough participants for a second-class, those $25 deposits will be returned to those shut out of the first-class.   To reserve a spot, Dick can be contacted by phone at (518) 371-8708 or by e-mail at dmcarve@nycap.rr.comof .  If individuals could not make the Wednesday-Thursday class, but could participate in the Monday-Tuesday class, some shifting within class lists could be made.

I'm gonna sign off quick here so there's enough room for a pattern by Laura (Sue) Irish, author of Classic Woodcarving Patterns (pattern below).  This is the first free pattern she and her husband ever offered on their web site (I think).  He's a bit fearsome looking, but if you slant the corners of the eyes down a tad, and go light on the lines between the eyebrows, it makes him more kindly.  If you want the true “green man” look, keep him intense.  It also got me started braiding beards on my wood spirits.  If you can beg, borrow or steal computer access to the Web, check out their web site.  Wonderful, wonderful tutorials.

So, keep the those chips piled high, the tool edges keen, and avoid staining in blood!
Full of it as usual, 
-Mike Bloomquist->