Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association
July 2001
edited by
John Raucci & Mike Bloomquist

Next Meeting:  August 7th, 2001
Time:  7:00pm
Program:   "Everyone Craves... " 

Letter from the President
I guess that I will start off with an apology, because I was on a vacation the week of the last meeting. But from what I`ve heard so were a lot of others. Word also has it, that the meeting was sparsely attended but the program was great, as you would expect it to be with Mike Bloomquist heading it. - sorry that I missed it Mike. I would like to remind you that the Altamont fair is coming on Aug 14th and Walt Leclair is looking for carvers to man our booth from Tuesday thru Sunday. As you know this is an ideal way to contact new wannabees and make the general pubic aware of our great club. You can catch Walt at the next meeting or on Thursdays or by phone @ 861-6544. Oh by the way even if you are already signed up - it is worth calling him anyway just to hear his great answering machine message, I love it! In closing just one more reminder of our picnic on Aug 12th at the Kawanis park in Rotterdam. It is a covered dish affair and bring your own plates, silver and table covering. It is a rain or shine date as we have a large covered area. Most of the gang will get there from 10am on but there always are a few necessary early birds that show up to capture the picnic pavilion, so come early and keep Betty and Ron company. We will have horse shoes, fishing, frisbee throwing, card playing and story telling. We have also had a carving contest break out so you had better bring a knife . Be there or be square!

Carl Borst


Here are a couple of events coming up in August...

Don’t forget to mark Aug.12th on your Calendar for our Club Picnic.  Look on the last page of this Newsletter for all the details....

Aug.9-19th    Hamburg NY  15th Annual International Woodcarving Competition/Expo in Mt. Vernon Bldg. Erie County Fair Grounds.
For more Info Call Lloyd Crissman at (716) 675-0987

August 18th  Morrisville, VT.  28th Annual Green Mountain Woodcarvers’ Show at Peoples Academy Gym. Contact Collise Brown at (802) 664-5039  or Betty Gergely at

Walt LeClair reported that the Dutch Barn where woodcarving was displayed at the Altamont Fairgrounds is not expected to be open this year. Fair Officials will find space if the Club will participate August 14 to 19th.  Walt needs a minimum of 24 carvers to staff the booth adequately. Contact him to reserve your time.

At our last meeting
  • How many elected officers does it take to conduct a meeting? One would have been enough on July 3, 2001 to have an official meeting and make an even 20 carvers in attendance. 
  • Walt LeClair circulated the Altamont Fair schedule for signatures to cover the Woodcarvers’ booth from August 14 to 19. At least 24 carvers are needed to cover two shifts each day. Fair officials have yet to decide where our booth will be located.  Contact Walt at 861-6544 to reserve your time.
  • Dick Moran reviewed programs for the coming months.
  • The carvers present benefited from the abbreviated meeting which allowed Mike Bloomquist time to do justice to his presentation of carving basket weave, rope and Celtic knots. He made it look easy. As a reference, Mike referred us to the Nancy Goff carving pages at for more basket weave carving.
Martha Colinas,  Secretary Pro-tem 

Classified Adds
  • Sears 3" x 21" Belt Sander - Like New - comes with extra belts…..$55.00
  • Fordem Unit - Great Condition - Has foot operated switch, etc...$160.00 
  • Basswood - Cut to Order - Also some Cherry and Butternut….Prices on request Will furnish Bird Blanks from your plans or mine…..Prices on request depending on species.

For any of the above items please contact
Walt LeClair @ 518-861-6544

  • Panavise - Ball & Swivel on Base - 2 1/2" Jaw - 7" High
  • Panavise - Swivel Frame Clamp - 7" Arms - 12" Wide
  • Woodcraft Bench - Folding/Wood Vise on End - 20" x 20" x 33" High with Heavy Duty Attached Wood Carver Swivel & Ball - NEW

For any information on any of these items, please
contact Steve Madej, 518-842-7219

To place want ads for any wood carving related items please contact Carol Ayers by e-mail at " "
or by "snail mail" at 
3 Poe Court
Ballston Spa, NY  12020
or by phone at

Program Report
By Dick Moran

Our program for this coming meeting is our last "Everyone Carves..." program for 2001:  Aug. 7 "Everyone Carves Something" night. Everyone is asked to bring some woodcarving tools and whatever carving project he/she is currently working on. Also, members are asked to bring a recently completed carving to share with everyone during the "Show and Tell" portion of this informal program. 

  • Aug. 7 "Everyone Carves Something" night. Everyone is asked to bring some woodcarving tools and whatever carving project he/she is currently working on. Also, members are asked to bring a recently-completed carving to share with everyone during the "Show and Tell" portion of this informal program.
  • Sept. 4 - Creating Decorative Scenes and Habitats for Mounting//Displaying Carvings - JoAnne Brady (** Rescheduled from March cancellation.) 
  • Oct. 2 - Carving Hands – Part 2 - Carl Borst
  • Nov. 6 - Carving Kachinas - Monty Foster
  • Dec. 4 - Christmas party (potluck dinner).  Bring your favorite Christmas carving for display. Slide Show of Club Activities - George Hallenbeck
  • * Programs and "Everyone Carves Something" sessions will normally last between 45 minutes and one hour.

    ... also, regarding programs, I intended to pass out and discuss a survey regarding programs for 2002 at our July meeting, but attendance was so sparse that I decided to hold off until our Aug. meeting; for those of you who like to get a head start on things, a copy of the survey is listed below: 2002 PROGRAMS I am looking for your input regarding what you would like to see offered as programs about carving during the 2002 year. So please respond to the following few questions below. Thanks! ---Dick Moran

    1. Do you have any suggestions regarding interesting programs about carving that you would like to see presented during the next year in any of the following general categories? (Please be specific!) Relief Carving -  Bird Carving -  Carving Human Figures -  Power Carving -  Painting or Staining -  Other Topics ?? –

    2. Should we continue the "Show and Tell" portion of the program? ____("yes" or "no") If "yes"... do you have any suggestions about how we could improve it?  Should we continue having the "Everyone Carves Something" informal programs on an alternating monthly basis with formal carving programs? My concern is that the "Everyone Carves Something " sessions frequently merely turn into "talk time"... and that many members don't bring their tools or even a blank piece of wood and a knife with them to those meetings. Also, and it may just be my imagination, it seems as if attendance at "Everyone Carves..." meeting nights seems to be not as good as when we have a formal program scheduled. If you feel that we should continue these informal programs, please suggest ways of encouraging more people to actively participate.

    Mike In Motion
    by Michael Bloomquist

    “Where do you get your ideas?”...

    ...At times ideas come from everywhere and anywhere -the shape of a tree, a glance from a fellow bus passenger, the slouch of a figure, a musical phrase, a picture in a newspaper, a character in a book: these are the sparks that  often light the tinder.

    from Sculpture in Wood
    by John Rood.
        ...or the sight of one too many bears carved with a chainsaw.  I do recall once where a piece of music inspired an idea for a wood carving, but it should have been sketched quickly or scrawled somewhere for it doesn’t come back to mind now.  Maybe when that music comes on the radio again...someday.  Times like those is why you always have that notebook/sketch book handy like Peter Ortel advised us a couple years ago.  When possible, it’s great to literally file the idea away .  There’s an old, cheap file cabinet in my shop with a drawer devoted to patterns and ideas: a folder for mammals, a folder for birds, one for Santas (Victorian Homes has a great yearly special),  and of course a folder each for dragons, gnomes, and faeries.  When the inspiration is a single article or advertisement in a magazine that is do to be recycled, just clip it out and file it.  If the source is not yours to mutilate, then a Xeroxed or computer scanned copy is the way to go.  Collecting pictures off the web is a whole separate article, but it’s an incredible source as well. 

       It seems carving ‘ideas’ take on personalities of there own.  Sometimes they seem like friendly ghosts.  They come back and haunt you from time to time, triggered by some situation or activity similar to the one that gave birth to them, but unlike most phantasms, they become less ethereal and more well formed with each visit.  This trend continues until, one day, you see a certain piece of wood and that ghost taps you on the shoulder and says, “It’s time”.  Another happy, un-ghostlike characteristic is that, when the carving is finished, the spirit isn’t given ‘peace’ and dispelled.  Instead, it is made real in the form of the carving, and maybe you are given some peace... until the next haunting resumes.

       Then there are the old friend ‘ideas’.  They were around constantly for a period of time, and they were very good friends.  They always showed up for those times when you couldn’t actually carve, but you had time to create.  Then you moved on, or they moved off, or another friend came along.  The idea revisits you from time to time, but they needed much more frequent interaction to keep them alive.  Someday later a picture, or a situation, or someone else’s work reminds you of them.  You try to find their phone number, or the address on the last Christmas card.  You may or may not make contact again.  If you do the phone call is awkward or the letter isn’t answered, and regardless it’s not the same.  It is usually bittersweet, but not a total waste because there are pieces of that idea that made it into other projects, or will make it into future projects.  Those friends live on in other subtle ways.

       Then there are the Type-A ‘ideas’.  They are hyper-active, they are rude, they are bossy, and they have more energy than anything has a right to.  These ideas are sometimes a real pain-in-the-a__.  You suspect they have an intravenous feed for caffeine, and you just want to find it so you can rip it out.  These ‘ideas’ should come with an ‘off’ switch.  They shove aside your other projects and commissions that you should be working on.  They don’t care, because they need to be done right now!  These are the ideas that keep you up late when you really need your sleep.  They grab you by the scruff of the neck, make you grope for your glasses, and shuffle you out to the kitchen or computer desk to make “just one more drawing” of the damn thing.  As annoying as they are there is an up side to them... they are magical.  Typically, the period from concept to completion is lightning fast... only a fraction of what the project should have taken.  For the entire life of the process you are in a ‘carving zone’.  There are no doubts about where you’re going with it, no delays while you agonize about the next step, and, when it is complete, no regrets that you did not do some element just a little differently.  Absolute magic.

      Then we have the “ships that pass in the night” ideas.  Maybe the ‘other sense’ was on the most sensitive setting that day.  The ‘other’ sense, not the ‘sixth sense’.  More likely it is your five senses all coming in with no static or discord, and being connected ‘just so’ with your imagination.  It’s that other ‘seeing’ that everyone can do, but seems to get exercised most by those who enjoy creating.  Many folks exercise this sense whether they admit to being artists or not. Regardless, the receiver was ‘on’, and you were in a certain place, at the right time, and you saw ‘it’, and it became a carving in your mind. Unfortunately, it was a quick and fleeting vision.  It went by like a diving hawk, or she stepped off the bus long before your stop and just after you noticed her, or the traffic light changed and the cretin behind you redefined “a New York minute” to be a few milliseconds shorter still.  You wish for a camera, you wish for a piece of paper and a dull pencil, anything so you can scrawl it down and stuff in your shirt pocket or wallet.  It was that person in the waiting room that for some reason you knew you should talk to.  Something about them told you they  were special, they were living a very good life regardless of their wealth or health.  That sense told you they had found special wealths, they had walked a very unique life-path, and you could and should learn from them.  Then, before you could make that excuse for conversation, they were called from the room.

      I believe we will never live long enough to carve all our ideas.  Probably we should enjoy collecting as many as we are able and not consider it wasteful to not transform them all into wood, just necessary exercise to make better the ones we do manage. I believe you cannot or should not capture them all in actual carvings.  Someday though I hope I hear that musical phrase at just the right time again... and my notebook is nearby.

     Hey Folks, keep the chips piled high, the edges keen, and keep working with that other sense as much as possible.

    Full-of-it, as usual,
    -Mike Bloomquist->

    Hearts & Flowers
    By Andy Ebli

    One Card was sent out this month to Joe Rusik and  Family.  Joe had some surgery recently and we wish him well and hope is feeling better soon.

     Otherwise all seems well and keep it like that!  If you can.... 

    Club Apparel
    By Carol Ayers

    Since we have so many new members in our club I would like to explain what is available to our club members and how the ordering works.  All of the items are embroidered with our club logo and the pricing is as follows:

    • Polo shirt, light ash gray (short sleeve with collar and tab front) is $11.00
    • Long sleeve T-shirt, light ash gray is $12.50
    • Crew neck sweatshirt, light ash gray is $16.50
    • Hooded, full zipper front sweatshirt with side pockets, light ash gray is $22.00
    • Apron, natural with no pocket is $8.50
    • Hat, tan is $7.70
    • Club embroidered patch is $3.50
      (sales tax is included in all the pricing)

    Ordering these items is as follows:
    Patches are on hand and can be bought from me at any time.  Shirts, sweatshirts and aprons  need a total of 6 orders, any combination.  Hats  need a total of 12 orders.  When I receive enough orders, I will then request the money for your order and then place the order with the company.  Orders usually take from 1 to 2 weeks to complete depending of the availability of the items.  

    Right now I have been holding onto 3 orders, 1 for a zipper sweatshirt and 1 for an apron and one for a Polo.  I need only 3 more orders (other than hats), and I can collect money and place the order.  If you have been thinking about ordering but have been putting it off, now is the time to do it.  In the fall the company we order from gets extremely busy with school orders for team events………It is great to have a club shirt or logo on an apron or sweatshirt when doing the fairs!!!

    You can place an order by
    e-mailing me, Carol Ayers at:

    or writing me at
    3 Poe Court
    Ballston Spa, NY  12020
    or phoning me at

    Letters to the Editor

     The newsletter looks good....everyone has a column...very newspaper-like. All you need are 3 more sections: funnies, crossword and Dear Abby. Hey, that might not be a bad idea. Call the column Dear Woody and members can write in with some carving problems. You'll have a chance to plug the club's video library and get other members involved as resident experts. Hmmm...I'm starting to like this more and more! In fact, I'm gonna send you the first letter. 

    Doris Seeb

    Great idea Doris!  Thanks for the input and we
    will give it a try....

    Send corespondence to...
    Mike Bloomquist 
    117 Riverview Parkway 
    Rome, N.Y. 13440

    Or Email to;


    Dear Woody,
     I recently moved to a tree-less, though beautiful part of the country. I'd like to carve some more walking sticks, but there are no sticks around here. I usually carve the top and then attach it to a stick I found in the woods. Since that's no longer possible, I'm considering going to the lumber yard and buying some boards. It would have to be strong, but carve-able since I don't have a lathe. Do you have any recommendations on the thickness and type of wood which would be suitable?  Please help.... 

    Living in the desert

    Dear Living in the Desert, 
    First off, my condolences... a woodcarver in the desert, hmmm. Not an optimum move, but I'm sure there were reasons. If you can find it, furniture grade, eight/quarter (8/4) poplar or cherry would be my first choices. 8/4 means it started life at 2" thick. Then drying, milling, and/or sanding might have it down to a 'real' thickness of 1-3/4". You will need someone to 'rip' saw them to 'sticks' 1-3/4" by 1-3/4". Since you don't have a lathe I would suggest a draw knife, and some way to clamp the sticks. That's the way the old-timers got things 'round' when a lathe wasn't handy. 

    In addition to lumber yards you might try some carving supplier's that sell 'sticks' through their catalogues. These would be closer to the raw material you were used to collecting. Try the following:

    1305 East 1120 
    South Provo, Utah 84606 

    Keep on Carvin'

    Dear Woody, 

    Hi. I have really enjoyed looking at the faces carved into wood (woodspirits) and wondered if there is a book or manual to help a beginner get started in it. What tools are needed? Where can I get that kind of information? Thanks. 

    Dr. K. Meyers, 
    Principal Kissimmee Elementary 


    It's possible to carve woodspirits with just a knife, but it goes more smoothly with a couple of gouges and a v-tool as well as the knife. Sizes depend on what size woodspirits you plan on doing. Traditionally, 'found' wood is best for liberating woodspirits, though most any wood seems to hold them. Nothing is as easy to carve as cottonwood bark, but after that basswood and butternut limbs would be my next choice.

    Tom Wolfe has three books on carving them, but my favorite is "Woodspirits and Walking Sticks". He also has a video out (and in our club video library). In another favorite of mine, Harold Enlow has several different faces in "How to Carve Faces in Driftwood". Hope this helps... send some pics along when you get some carved.  If you surf 'The Web', there are some great examples and on-line instructions at: 1.html

    Keep on Carvin' 


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