Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Joy of Regional Woodcarving Shows

I recently attended the 37th Annual Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Festival sponsored by the Lancaster County (PA) Woodcarvers. It was an enjoyable and inspiring experience full of beautiful carvings and friendly people. The exhibitors were willing to share their knowledge with anyone who would stop by to chat. They were competing for ribbons. For some, this is a serious hobby. For others, it is their primary source of income. There were carved waterfowl, song birds, funny characters and Santa Clauses. If you were looking to buy beautiful hand-crafted works of art, this was the place to be.

I was totally in awe of some of the wildlife carvings on display. I have never tried to carve a detailed, life-like waterfowl, and I don’t think I ever will. I just don’t have the skills or the patience. No doubt, many of these carvings took several weeks or even months for the artist to complete. The prices on the tags would never compensate the artist for the amount of time spent.

Whether you live in Pennsylvania, or Kansas, or Oregon, these regional woodcarving shows are precious gems. They demonstrate that we are still a nation of talented artisans with wood craft skills passed down from generation to generation. The craftsmanship is honest, down-to-earth and surprisingly good. Many of the exhibitors I spoke with had never taken an art class in their life, yet their work is museum quality.

What has been your experience with regional wood carving shows?