Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

September 2000 Newsletter

There’s lot to talk about this month, but first lets hear about a couple events that our club was well represented at.  First up is George Hallenbeck...

GE Quarter Century Picnic
By George Hallenbeck

 Our club was invited to demonstrate and display our talents for the GE Quarter Century Outing on Sept.9th at the Altamont Fair Grounds.  GE expected 3000 to 4000 people!  The weather was threatening and some 2000+ showed.  Cider donuts and coffee at 9:00am with muffins and fruit salad!  At 11:00 am sausage and peppers, chili, clam chowder and hot dogs & sauerkraut!  Then at 1:30pm, NY 10oz strip steaks, grilled salmon or bar-b-que 1/2 chicken!  Fried Dough, beer and soda were served all day.  One of our members was seen inserting this entry in his Diet Book, “Disaster Day”!  Although the weather was not great, we had a great time.  From 10am to 2:30pm we had hundreds of people at our tent, constantly.   We carved, answered questions and gave club info to many interested carvers.  I thanked GE and expressed our hope of being invited next year.  Our thanks to Fred Jenzer, Andy Ebli, Margaret Farrell, Bud Murtlow, Pieter Paulding, Jim Harvey and John Raucci. 
P.S. I was there too!  All this fun, all this food, and they donated $100 to our club!

Don’t know about you folks, but I gained 10lbs just reading that report!  Bet we get a few more attending next year.  The next report is anonymous, but came to me through John Raucci...

Fonda Fair

 For years Ron & Bette Myers have represented us at the Fonda-Fulton County Fair.  Eileen Douglas, in charge of the Fairs Agricultural Bldg., thanked and applauded them in an article which appeared in the Amsterdam Recorder.  Marcus Kruger, Dick Moran and John Raucci, a formidable array of talent, who displayed and demonstrated their wares as well, accompanied the Myers this year.  They created much interest, and demonstrated to many of the fair attendees.  Ron just (quietly?) goes about his business of furthering the interests and reputation of our club.  Thanks a load Ron & Bette.

Don’t know who wrote it, but using the word ‘quietly’ in the same sentence with Ron Meyers takes a lot of writing skill (even with the ‘?’).  This month I actually attended the meeting.  Let’s see if we can convey the mood and motion of the gathering (probably just have to make stuff up as we go).  Most of this comes from Martha Colinas with only small embellishments.

Thirty three members of the Mohawk Valley Art and Woodcarving Association  convened at the Inman Center for the September meeting. President, Carl Borst, presided.

Minutes of the August meeting were accepted as read. The treasurer, Don Painter, reported  a balance of $5638.13. He also reported that the current balance is $240.08 below the  same month last year.  Carl mentioned something about actually being ahead of last years total if you take into account Don’s truck payments.

Walt LeClair reported that the Carving booth at the Altamont Fair went OK,  although overall attendance was down.

George Hallenbeck, Show Chairman, has confirmed CBA and Northway Inn reservations. Plans for early publicity will be made soon.

Newsletter Editor, Mike Bloomquist, is seeking contributions which should be  submitted to him early in the month to be included in the next publication. Book  reviews may be included occasionally.  Yep, especially if  contributions are down, so be forewarned!

Andy Ebli discussed the suggestions made for the Show raffle, which include a  small Christmas tree with carved decorations, Noah’s Ark or repeat the Nativity.  Another suggestion was made to sell tickets in advance for admission and raffle chance combined and perhaps raffle something else at the Show. Carving ornaments for  additional prizes was also suggested. Carol Ayers suggested carving ornaments as an  after-meeting program. After a motion was made to repeat the Nativity for the 2001 Show  and assemble plans and patterns for Noah’s Ark for the following year, it was  seconded and carried. Andy also requested approval to pay Walt LeClair for the wood which  he will supply for the figure blanks. This was also approved.  This last subject turned into a marathon.  This is not a criticism since my personal two-cents-worth did not shorten it but, we think Andy set a club record.  The official raffle projected was voted on, and it will be the Nativity, but a couple of  good suggestions were made.  Raffling something in addition to the Nativity was suggested so that anyone who felt their specialty was other than figure carving could contribute.  The same logic held for the ornaments idea which appears below in our October club-carve-along. Notice that the next three were so in awe of Andy that they had no reports!

Carol Ayers had no report on Club shirts, hats and patches.

Sister Mary Ellen had nothing to report on publicity for next year’s Show.

No activity on printed material was reported by Fred Jenzer.

Andy Ebli sent no greeting cards. He was given names of Walter Bydairk and  George Terwilleger, both of whom have current health concerns. Andy should send himself a card... he was obviously exhausted.

Dick Moran outlined upcoming programs as follows: 
October - Carve-along of Christmas ornaments. Bring patterns and blanks to share.
November -  Mike  Bloomquist will demonstrate carving Native American flutes.
December will feature the annual covered dish Christmas party.

Communications relayed by Carl Borst are Onondaga and Mid-Hudson Newsletters containing carving patterns. Member Ron Dechant, who conducts Adult Education carving classes in Burnt Hills, would like guest carvers Mondays 7:00 to 9:00 PM in November. He also has access to butternut trees located in Chestertown. If  anyone is interested in either subject, please contact him at 399-6620. Also Wayne Barton has openings for his annual 15 day Swiss Tour later this month.  Please tell me someone takes advantage of those butternut trees.  They’re a bit far away from where I live.  Besides, Yvonne has given fair warning what happens if I bring another log into the yard.  Something about using one of my knives for purposes it was not intended for.  Didn’t press for details, but gathered it would be small comfort to me if she picked one of my sharper knives.

There were additional volunteers for carving display at meeting at the Altamont Fairgrounds on September 9th.

A slate of candidates, prepared by the nominating committee, was presented  for the 2000-2001 fiscal year. Since there were no nominations from the floor, the  secretary was instructed to cast one vote for the slate as follows: 

 President            -  Carl Borst
 Vice President    -  Al Doty
 Treasurer           -  Don Painter
 Secretary            -  Tammy Hansen 
Since Tammy was absent, there was speculation that she might have been unaware of her new position... you know, shanghaied!  Seems they did that to John Raucci once while he was in Florida last winter.

Fred Jenzer needs another caller for notification of members in case of  cancellation of meetings or other special needs.

After discussion to consider other possible charities, it was decided to donate $500.00 to Christmas Wish again this year since it was displayed on Show posters.  Christmas Wish is sponsored by Stewart’s Ice Cream Co. who matches funds collected, and WGY Radio station. There are no administrative expenses and the money is used in the local area to benefit children.

After adjournment, Sister Mary Ellen Putnam presented a program about references to trees that are found in the Bible, accompanied by a display of many of the woods from the collection of Bill McCormack. A very impressive research project, Sister!

Respectfully submitted,

Martha Colinas

Did you notice that ‘Ex-Secretary’ in Martha’s sign off.  She voluntary resigned the position, and I’m going to miss getting minutes from her.  Thanks for the great job Martha.

Sister Mary Ellen’s program was great.  Especially good since she backed up most of the woods mentioned with live samples from Bill McCormick’s collection of wood.  Some of the highlights:

  • 32 different tree species are mentioned in the Bible, there are 287 references total.
  • Top references: Olive - 39 references and Fig -33 references.
  • Joseph was a carpenter and probably used acacia, cypress, cedar, or willow.
  • The first tree mentioned in the Old Testament is the fig.
  • The first tree mentioned in the New Testament is carob.
  • Apple was really pomegranate.

I checked out the centerfold spread that was written on Sr. Mary Ellen and the carving/wood shop she set up.  A few of our members are mentioned in there lending her a hand.  She’s doing some wonderful work there.

Well, I had not planned on including my seminar with Ian Norbury in this month’s issue, but thanks to a last minute business trip earlier that week this issue got delayed and poor John Raucci had to wait for it again.  Thanks to that trip I got to fly the ticket back through Phily instead of  12 hrs of driving round trip to the seminar from Rome, NY.  The down side is hauling most of my carving equipment (including my carver’s arm) through the airports on my way to Philadelphia, Pa. via Tampa, Fla.  While I’m in
Tampa I find out that the Woodcraft flyer had a mistake and the seminar starts on Friday 9am-5pm instead of 5pm-9pm.  OK... that means I get on a plane at 6:05am and still get there late.  You know sometimes things you want to do just seem a little ‘forced’, like there’re not supposed to be?  Still, I get there at 10:15am so that’s 2hrs and 45min longer with Ian Norbury than I would have had.  The glass is half full... I’ll survive.

The Ian Norbury Seminar offered a choice of  five projects.  Out of ten carvers one did the relief carved eagle’s head, two are chose to do a woman’s head, one is carved an elderly man,  four are took on an in-the-round hawk, and two lecherous carvers went after this female torso.  I was lech number two (got there late, remember?).  I really had no choice with the project, Yvonne said after all the raving I did about this guy Norbury as a figure carver that I’d better do something related to the human anatomy or else... At this point my knives entered into the conversation again, and you already heard about them so I won’t bore you with details.  I offered to see if  Ian would let me do a male torso, but she said... ummm... well the conversation kinda degraded at that point, and doesn’t belong in this newsletter.  All projects were band sawed out for us and carver clamps were provided by Woodcraft.  Yeah, that’s 10lbs of carver’s arm I could have left home, sheesh!  The clamps were waiting for us, already secured to the top of several carver’s benches in a workshop classroom.  Very nice set up.

Despite the rocky start, the seminar developed into three days of  pure carving heaven.  Ian and Betty Norbury are both from England, now living in Ireland.  As with most successful couples I’ve met, they are a team.  Through conversations over the weekend you learned that Ian’s artistry and craftsmanship and  Betty’s business and marketing skills complimented each other to a frightening level. Both have published books in there fields.  We traded cultural viewpoints on several levels intellectual and otherwise.  Thanks to humor e-mail I recieved from Carl earlier in the year the terms ‘recreational sex’ and ‘dolphins’ came into close proximity.  This happened during conversations at the end of Saturday’s session.  Obviously it was time to put the gouges down for the day.  That evening, those that could went out to dinner with the Norburys.  The evening was a great bonus to a really full weekend of carving instruction.  Conversations lasted well past dinner and late into the evening. 

Towards the end of Sunday’s session it was obvious I was surrounded by some very talented and experienced carvers.  Combined with Ian’s instruction, there were some masterworks there.  My torso?  Well, it looks female, and it looks human, so I’m satisfied.  From a certain angle it does remind me of this Rumanian ladies shot putter I once... well never mind! 

To cap it off, Ian gave a slide presentation of his carvings.  Where his earlier works were carved from a single piece of wood.  Later works are assembled from several pieces of differing wood species.  Many carvings included metals, crystal and other materials.  In all of his examples you could easily see where breaking with the one-piece-of-wood philosophy enhanced the work’s strength, durability, and variety of color.  Many of his most recent works included acrylic colors painted on the wood as well.  I could not imagine any of these being somehow better if left as natural wood only.  In a year or two the Norburys plan on coming back to the US for another tour.  Maybe we can get them to swing by our way, even if it’s only for Ian’s slide show.

Well gang, keep them edges sharp, the chips piled high, and see ya at the meeting Tuesday.

Full of it, like always,
Mike Bloomquist