Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

April 2000 
By Mike Bloomquist
 The Meeting

 Well, the meeting got off to a fine start, called to order by MVAWA president Carl Borst on April 5th, 2000.  Thirty-five members and guests were present.  Then it got better with a standing ovation for Martha Colinas for not reading the minutes from last months minutes (well, almost standing... well, some people actually leaned forward... well, there was clapping).  Reading of the minutes from our last meeting were waved since it was all in the newsletter, and I didn’t have a copy on me. Hey!  I don’t mind doing double duty(especially since Martha is real nice about supplying the minutes to me via e-mail), but I got accused by some of being ‘prolixic’ in the last newsletter.  I had to look that one up, and they didn’t even spell it for me.  The nearest word we found was ‘prolix’, but that can’t be it.  The thesaurus says ‘prolix’ is an adjective that can be replaced by the words verbose, wordy, long-winded, tedious, diffuse, redundant, lengthy, rambling, or wandering.  OK, maybe ‘wandering’, but then we would offer ‘circuitous’ instead.  Then, since in good literature it’s often not the destination, but the journey... a circuitous path is good.  Besides, they’re just jealous ‘cause the voices talk to me and not them...  Alrightythen, let us enjoy a circuitous path through the rest of this BS....errrr, newsletter.

After show receipts, expenses, and other miscellaneous items were totaled, treasurer Don Painter reports the club balance comes to $6829.21.  There was more detail, and Don invites anyone interested to view the books for those (details).  Thanks Don, but I respectfully decline!

Show co-chairman George Hallenbeck reports that Ron Waldron agreed to be our auctioneer again this year.  There’s a good piece of tradition being carried to our new location.  George also reports that 58 tables have been sold at the show and 50 dinners have been reserved at the Northway Inn. 58 tables! That’s up about 50% from last year.  Hey, you miss this one, and you’re gonna be sorry!  Bet George could squeeze one or two in still, but Friday evening might be a little late.  Sr. Mary Ellen has made 63 advertising contacts for publicity of our show.  She tells us that Channel  6 will feature our show on May 3rd and Saturday, May 6th from 5:00 to 7:00 am.  Sounds like the area is well covered.  Thanks for additional exposure goes to Jim and Jane Harvey who got us in the “The Capi’toller”, a newsletter for Tole Painters in the Albany area.  Remember folks!  The show is May 6th and 7th near the Albany Airport.  Take Exit 4 off Rt87(The Northway), take Rt155 West, and Christian Brothers Academy is on your left.  Be there or be square!

 Dick Moran tells us the 39 club videos are nested snugly in their new file cabinet home. The club program schedule as it stands: 




May 2 
Ornamental Carvings; Fish, Feathers, Birds & Bolos
Mike Fields, Walt Leclair &
Joe Rusik
June 6
“Everyone Carves Something” Night … If you like... Fish, Feathers, Birds & Bolos! (see
previous month’s program), otherwise BYOC
July 11
Deep Relief Carvings
Bud Murtlow
Aug 1
“Everyone Carves Something” Night … If you like... Deep Relief, otherwise BYOC. Bonus, a slide show by George Hallenbeck
Sept 5
Painting Techniques
Mystery Presenter
Oct 3
“Everyone Carves Something” Night… Carving Christmas Ornaments and Decorations with a pattern exchange.
Nov 7
Mystery Presenter
Dec 5
Christmas Party

 Andy Ebli reports the Nativity set is complete, looks beautiful, and Ron Redman has taken pictures of it.  Fred Jenzer reports 250 tickets sold to date, and reminds us that more help is needed for selling raffle tickets and hand out door prize tickets during the show.  Door prize tickets will be used to estimate attendance. 

 If anyone hasn’t ordered one or needs more, Carol Ayers is still taking orders for shirts & hats.  Club patches are still in stock, and can be purchased any time.

 Andy Ebli says cards were sent to Pieter Paulding and Lena, a cook in the Inman kitchen who was ill.  Pieter’s card must have worked since he’s carving already.

 Dick Moran says the final installment for David Sabol’s workshop.  Expenses of the workshop at this point are covered by the fourteen participants.  I’m peal-me-off-the-ceiling excited about this workshop,  it’s my first.  May 3rd, 4th, & 5th, then follow that up with the show, and I’ll need to go back to work just to rest from all the fun!

 Carl Borst reports that Al Doty was featured on the cover of the Northeast Woodworker’s Association publication.  Speaking of the NEWWA their expo was well attended and Carl did a woodcarving demonstration and passed out handouts for our show.  Carl also got a letter and picture from Mal Doolittle, former member and wood supplier extrodinaire who moved to Virginia two years ago.  He’s established another carving club down there called the Yellow Suspender Group.  Yep, that’s Mal.  His e-mail is  We were the carving program this month, and did a fine job of it thank you very much.  Thanks go to Andy Ebli for demonstrating the proper use of the fine sharpening system he built for the club. 

Open House at Fox Chapel Publishing

"So how was it at the open house in Lancaster, Pa?" you ask. 
" Like I died and went to woodcarver heaven!" says I. 
And it was pretty friendly... parked the Caravan, got out, and Dick Moran is standing on their loading dock, engrossed in an Arbortech demo.  Paid the admission, came in the door, there’s John Raucci and George Hallenbeck.  Go through the museum, ran into Pete Ortel.  He even recognized me.  Yeah, yeah... loud, scary, and obnoxious, how could he miss me.  Regardless, since he couldn't escape quickly enough I got to talk to him, and told him the club was excited about having him return to our show this year.  Bill Ralston was looking over the Flexcut mallet tools... I hope his wife forgives me for talking him into the bigger set.  No lack of familiar faces at this open house, that was for sure! 

And it was pretty funny too... went down there thinking I would buy more tools, maybe 'a' book.  That was until I got downstairs to the scratch-and-dent sale.  Lucky for me Yvonne made sure I had 'mad money' with me.  My prize 'find'?  It had to be "Custom Tools for Woodworking" by Petrovich which my wife actually discovered (knew I brought her for a reason... well, besides keeping me within budget).  Reading it reminds me of the great tool making presentation Fred Jenzer did last year.  The book covers making a simple center punch to making your own hand planes, with plenty of gouges and carving knives in between.  Even has a nice color chart on the back cover for reading the steel while you temper your tools.  It also covers forge tools, and setting up a simple backyard forge.  Anyone have an old anvil?  My second best 'find' was Jack Price's latest book on carving small characters.  We got home at 12:30am Sunday morning, slept in late, and then I went into a 4hr carving 'zone' inspired by this book.  Produced a pretty fair wizard using a 6" length of basswood, 1 1/4" square.  Sure, John or Carl would have only taken 1hr, but anyone who's seen me carve at our show's whittlin' contest knows my middle name ain't 'speed'.  I'm embarrassed to say what I spent on books, but it was easily half of what these books would have cost me at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or even  If someone’s willing, and goes next year, I motion that the club authorize some funds to them for boosting the club library. 

The museum was fun to look through, but at the same time it left you wishing for a larger, less focused collection.  Some fine examples of flat-plane figure carving, folk art, and chip carving.  However, there were no examples of Bali, African, or Northwest Native American carvings that I remember.  Still, it's worth a visit even without all the other activities present.  There was an organization there dedicated to carousel carving and restoration.  Besides Pete Ortel, there were several carvers with booths in the museum area.  I was able to have a conversation with Art Shoemaker who was carving a Santa.  Several finished pieces at his table were very familiar having seen them in his frequent articles for Wood Carver Illustrated. 

The tool sales and some demos were in the loading dock area.  The Arbortech demo was loud and obnoxious, but I could appreciate what an excellent tool that would be if I were into that scale.  There were high speed engraving tools, wood burning/detail tools, Chromacolor and Jo Sonja paints.  Foredom was there, as well as power carving guru, Frank Russell. Foredom was handing out samples of  "blue stone" burrs, and I had to buy some of their Typhoon burrs... Boy! Will these things go through black walnut!  But be sure to wear a shop apron, some sort of protection from the wood dust, and be aware of the location of all your digits at all times!  Dave Bennet was there with Flex Cut tools.  He brought a DEEP relief carving of a tall ship fitted with steam power (side-wheeler?).  All rigging was carved from wood like he shows in his video, and the carving was displayed inside a lighted cabinet setting on a mantle.   It wasn't hard to imagine the display cabinet modified into a wall hanging version.  This thing was getting a lot of "oh-my-God" reactions, and for good reason.  I bought a set of their carving bits for the Ryobi detail carver, another loud and obnoxious tool I had bought for Melissa, but that's a story for another newsletter.  The price was great as they were, and then all purchases in that area had an additional 15% discount.  Yep! Woodcarver heaven. 

I only made it to one workshop.  Frank Russell did a fine introduction to airbrush techniques.  It confirmed some purchases I have planned for the future, and set me straight on others. Thanks to the possible USAir strike, the poor guy was wondering how he was getting home during most of his stay in Lancaster.  The previous night’s news had confirmed that the strike would not occur, so all during the demo (his last of the day) Frank would interject with this silly grin and say, "Did I mention that I'm going home tomorrow?!"  Last count Frank I think it was eight times.  As I mentioned John Raucci was there and he sends these comments: 

 I had the pleasure of attending the open house last month at the Fox  Church Publishing and Woodcarving Illustrated Carving Museum in Pennsylvania.  GeorgeHallenbeck and myself had a great time looking around and talking  with fellow carvers. We attended a couple of seminars that I found to be  very interesting. The first with Hershal Borders (Cane Carver). He brought  his civil war theme cane and gave all who attended a great deal of insight  and encouragement about the art of carving theme canes. He was quite  inspirational and an extremely nice man.    The second seminar was with David Bennett, another nice guy with plenty of talent and poise. He gave a seminar on Relief carving which was a  shortened version of the video from our tape library. I have watched the  tape twice at home andafter his seminar I'm looking for the right piece on  mahogany and the right subject to give his technique a try.   The rest of our time there was spent looking over the thousands of  discounted books on woodcarving and any other subject you can imagine. The  openhouse was well attended on both days and even by our own club members,  Dick Moran, Mike Bloomquist & Family, and others as well. All in all I had a  great time atthe show and even got a guided tour from George thru the Amish  country side which is right down the road from the museum. 

John Raucci 

 Thanks John.  Well, since I'm trying to curb my prolixity, we'll end it here.  Hope to see ya at the meeting, hope to see ya at our show, hope to see ya at the banquet... hope to see ya.  Keep the tools sharp, the chips piled high, and don't stain in blood... the color choices are so limited. 

Thursday Wood Carving News 
By George Hallenbeck

Thursday, March 9th   - Twenty-three carvers in attendance 

I'm back from Florida and glad to be back! Mary and I had a great time especially meeting up with Carl and Kay Borst, Niel and Doris Seeb, John Raucci and Ev and Janet Botsford at the Lakeland Wood Carving Show.  A fine show, we even had our pictures taken with the Mayor of Lakeland!

Two new carvers here today, Ed DeSanctis and John Grygiel.  Ed is an accomplished painter and singer!

Dick Quay working on an Alaskan Brown Bear, one of our members noticed it had five legs!  All the better to catch salmon with? 

Don Painter well along on a new carousel horse.  So real it looks as if it could talk!

Steve Madej brought along another Toy for the over 50 children.  A wonderful dancing soldier powered by a small clock motor, hooked up to a cassette from an old car!  A grooved wheel makes him do the River Dance!  Such ingenuity but that's our Steve!  What a joy to have him with us!

Richard Vanderheuvel brought in a Farmer plowing his field with a team of horses.  Finished in natural pine about 24" long.  Really creative type of carving.

Ron Redman showing his wonderful laminated spoons.  He has over 60 Spoons and in 50 different types of wood!  Ron's work's meticulous and inventive.  The work of a fine craftsman!

Thursday,    March 16,  -  27 carvers in attendance 

Last year Steve Madej gave a demo of puzzles that he made to the award winning Greenfield Center School 4th grade class.  His puzzles, tricksters and what-nots were such a hit that he received a thank you book complete with notes and pictures of the students.  He was invited back on March 15th and he brought 3 of our members with him.  Armand Hebart (20 mule team Armand) exhibited his stage coach drawn by four horses.  His stories about horses, his jokes and puzzles enthralled the students.  Armand can really entertain children. George Terwilliger then gave his popular low key dissertation on canes and how he started carving them.  The students were much impressed with his giving canes to people who needed them at no charge.  A young man in a wheel chair was promised a cane.  The student just glowed.  But we know that’s our George!  Marcus Kruger brought his miniature mice, rabbits, puzzles and his arrow thru a bottle and Marcus too was a colossal hit, especially to little Emily, the class hostess for this event, when he presented her with a mouse!  The finale was Steve with his Dancing Irish Puppet dancing to an Irish Jig on a cassette!  He had the classes singing and dancing to the Irish music.  It is a wonderful experience when we relate to children and we exhibit the "little kid" in all of us!  Steve and his group entertained over 100 children (5 classes) by passing them through the lined up guests.  They did their little act 5 times.  By the 5th time they were really getting it right.  Our club is fortunate to have these individual displaying their talents, generosity and thoughtfulness!  We are doubly fortunate to have many more members who emulate these four!  Our Steve is a generous and always helpful man as proud of his niece Anna Bombard who teaches these classes as Anna is of her students.  We are certainly proud of Steve, Marcus, George and Armand for displaying their generosity, talents and good will to the students of this fine elementary school!