Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

Aug 2000 
By Mike Bloomquist
Sorry Folks, but ‘yours truly’ has nothing to report to you first hand.  Do to circumstances waaaay beyond my control I failed to make the meeting or the picnic this month.  Despite the rocky start, August did turn into a fine month, but we will get to that later.  Luckily we have a first hand report on the picnic from someone who was there, George Hallenbeck.  Take it away George!...
Club Picnic 2000
 On a warm somewhat cloudy day 35 people attended our annual Picnic at the Kawanis Park in Rotterdam.  Doris and Neil Seeb “strung up” their badminton net and Chris and Shirley gave a lively demonstration of Frisbee tossing and catching.  Chris made a variety if catches rivaling the canine Frisbee catchers of TV fame.  Horseshoes was an all day thing.  “Some competition" and a few close games.  Ev Botsford showed his low down pitching form and take no prisoners attitude to become the dominant horseshoer of the day!  All this means he was just lucky.  And the food!  Coffee, doughnuts, bagels, and muffins were available for the early people and the afternoon feast was another sumptuous exercise in gustatory effort.  Simply it was a lot of good eats including meat platter, Zucchini Parmesan, sausage sandwiches, sausage and peppers and lots of salads, baked beans and of course the deserts.  Again no duplications and all delicious!
We had a whittling contest with no winner but a lively group, amusing too!  We were also entertained by a bass fishing contest. (21 boats) the winner caught 5 fish weighing 11 pounds 13 oz.  73 fish were caught and all were returned to the river.  The rain held
off until late afternoon and everyone had a great time.  Next year will be bigger and better!  Be there! 

Wow, a picnic and a fishing report.... George is just plain versatile!  And here’s the minutes from someone who was actually at the meeting, Martha Colinas.  Your on Martha!

Club Meeting August 1, 2000
The August meeting of the Mohawk Valley Art and Woodcarving Assoc. convened  at the Inman Center with twenty one members and guests present. President Carl Borst presided. Guests Lou Carusone and Steve Forsthoffer, who attended the May Show, were welcomed as prospective members. Minutes of the July meeting were not read as they were published in the Newsletter for all to read.
Don Painter reported the  treasury balance of $5673.86.
Walt LeClair was welcomed back after recent surgery. He reminded members that carvers are still needed to sign up for some of the days at the Altamont Fair August 15th to 20th. 
George Hallenbeck, Show chairman, reported that invitations for the Show to  be held the last weekend in April,2001 are being reworded. Dinner reservation at the  Northway Inn for that weekend are also being made.
Ernie D’Alessandro brought a copy of The Evangelist featuring Sr. Mary Ellen  Putnam who holds classes in woodcarving for Sisters of St. Joseph at the Provincial  House in Latham to be placed in Club History.
Andy Ebli sent greeting cards to members and related persons who were recuperating from surgery or illness.
Dick Moran, Program Chairman, reported as follows:
September - Woods of the Bible by Sr. Mary Ellen
November -  Carving Native American Flutes by Mike Bloomquist
December -  Christmas Party
The annual picnic will take place at Kiwanis Park in Rotterdam Junction August 6th. Marcus Kruger will supply beverages and John Raucci will bring ice. Everyone  brings table service and a dish to share. Horseshoes, bocce, and fishing are available.
Carl reviewed carving display and staffing for the September meeting of the GE Quarter Century Club meting at Altamont Fairgrounds. He will have final details at our September Club meeting.
Ron Myers was prevailed upon to present a slate of officers for the coming year to be voted on at the September meeting. Nominations from the floor will also be accepted.
Bud Murtlow offered to show slides of falcons for a meeting program. Andy Ebli also offered sharpening assistance. 
After adjournment, George Hallenbeck presented a slide show of carvings, carving shows, and workshops attended. Good Show!
Respectfully submitted
Martha Colinas
All right that wasn’t so bad.  I would have loved a little detail on George’s slide show though.  Maybe someone can send me an unbiased report on that.  There is no way I missed that slide show voluntarily. Guess it’s time for me to make a meaningful contribution to this month’s newsletter (won’t that be new and unique!).  How about a book review?  To bad!  Here’s one anyway.  L.S. Irish has a new one out called “Landscapes in Relief”.  Anyone with sharp eyes at the Lancaster, Pa. openhouse of Fox Publishing (reviewed here earlier) caught the ‘test shot’ of the book’s cover.  Well, I managed an autographed copy by ordering through her web site (eat your heart out!). 
  Just to whet your appetite, the book starts off with a gallery of her work .  Then there’s a chapter on building materials as they relate to the many barns, churches, mills, and homes in her landscape reliefs.  Chapter 2 is titled ‘Pattern Work’, and includes enlarging the patterns with the ‘ancient’ grid method, drawing circle and oval frames, and transferring a pattern. This chapter also has great techniques on perspective and reflections (in ponds).  Chapter three deals with carving woods.   it discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the different species, has a glossary on wood buying terms, and tips on buying them.  I found this section kind of useless since I tend to mooch my wood off friends, right Harold!  The following chapter covers the tools and all the accessories to keep them sharp.  It ends with some basic carving cuts and terms.  Let’s see... Chapter 5 is a step-by-step of Mountain View Farm, the feature project.  It starts of with a discussion of how to lay out the different levels of your composition, and I think the whole thing was well done.  Chapter 6 is a wonderful section on painting your carving by dry brushing oils over a linseed oil base.  The idea is to color stain the wood, not paint over it with opaque colors.  Finally, Chapter 7 is all patterns, all landscapes.  Most are accompanied by shaded drawings to help the carver determine the different depths of the scene. 
  IMHO ( In my humble opinion) the book gets four stars on a five star scale.  It’s well worth the $19.95 price, and a great library addition for the novice or intermediate relief carver.  A couple of ‘buts’ though.  The photography in both step-by-step chapters (carving and painting) is in color, but has an overall brown cast.  In the carving chapter this sepia tone works well, but in the painting section there isn’t enough color separation to support the text ... um... I had a hard time telling the colors apart.  A second problem:  Lora Irish’s artwork is wonderful, and her perspective on buildings made up of squares and triangles is flawless.  It’s wonderful the way she use perspective for tricking your eye into believing the carving is much deeper than it’s true 1”+ depth. However, she seems to have a hard time with curved surfaces.  Good examples of where the perspectives fail would be the water wheels of the mills ( I would have bought this for the mill patterns alone! ), the arched footbridge, and the rings and roof of the barn silos.  If you use her patterns you should rework these curved items for yourself.  Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.  I can hear Carl Borst now, “Patterns from a book?... Bah! Humbug! Serves them right to have crooked wheels.  Should be drawing those patterns for themselves!”  Anyway, check her work out for yourself at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or in the latest issue of Wood Carving Illustrated. 

While we’re on Wood Carving Illustrated, there was a great article on Ian Norbury.  He is a British wood carver who specializes in busts and figures.  I bought his hardcover book, “Carving Figures” in 1996 for... well... it was the most I’d spent on a carving book ever.  It also helped me past some sticky points on a figure I was carving at the time.  Tell you what!  I wouldn’t want to judge a contest between this guy and Cogelow.  So I’m reading through this article, trying to keep the drool of the magazine, and it starts talking about the US tour he’s doing of all the Woodcraft stores, and teaching seminars at each one.  Well I’m smiling like an idiot because I already knew, and that’s the only good news that saved my August from being a totally lost month.  Yep, yours truly is going to be able to give you a first hand report of Ian Norbury’s seminar in Philadelphia.  I blame it all on Dick Moran... he (and the club) made that Dave Sabol class earlier this year affordable enough so even I could take it.  Now I’m hooked... a wood carving seminar junky... and I’ve gotta go to Philadelphia to get my fix!  Compound that with the fact that the site of the seminar is a Woodcraft  Store, and I’m in deep you-know-what.  Anyway, I’d like to tell you I’m funding it totally with woodcarving funds, but the truth is I had to come out of retirement from my paperhanging sideline and snag a couple jobs for room-and-food.  Wish me luck, and you can get all the gory details here, in a future newsletter (whether you want it or not... why?  ‘Cause I write the newsletter.. Bwah! Ha! Ha!).  Actually if you bribe John Raucci enough he could edit it out! 
Well Gang, ‘till next month... keep them edges sharp, the X-Acto blades fresh, the chips piled high, and keep them red body fluids off the carvings! 
Full of It, As Usual,
-Mike Bloomquist->
A last minute contribution from George:

 The Green Mountain Woodcarvers held their 3rd annual Carving Camping Weekend,  July 24th thru July 28th.  Mary and I attended Tuesday thru Friday. 18 couples camped at Grand Isle State Park, a lovely grassy open campground in the middle of lake Champlain.  Cost was $5 per day or $15 per week for the morning classes,  Sharpening, painting, Miniature Duck, Apple Wood Spoons and Faces on Fence posts.  All very interesting.  A few other members who live nearby came for a day.  Mary and I had a great time with hospitable friendly people.  Bill Simmons is the member who arranges for the week.  He is a prolific carver of Birds, Whales etc. and does a marvelous job both with his carvings and the carving week.  They want info on our show and hope that MVA&WCA members attend their 2001 Camping week.  Their show is Aug. 19th, 2000 at Morrisville and they hope to see us there.
George Hallenbeck