Friday, February 24, 2006

Isn’t wood-carving supposedto be about whittling things down to somewhat smaller sizes?
Apparently not.
Because if this were so, then the annual event for the Coastal Carvers Club would be shrinking each year, instead of growing.
“Fourteen or 15 years ago, we started originally with 25 people,” said Andy Anderson, chairman of the Coastal Carvers’ 14th annual “Artistry in Wood” show. “We met at the Sitka Center, and we outgrew that. Then we met at the Elks Lodge, and we’d have 20 or so carvers and would get 200 to 300, and we were happy. Now we meet at the (Chinook Winds) Casino, and we get 3,000 to 5,000 people.”
The 14th Annual Coastal Carvers Show and Sale, a free art show with dozens of wood carvers with their work on display for both appreciation and for purchase, was held at Chinook Winds Casino Resort, Saturday, Jan. 14 and Sunday, Jan. 15.
Demonstrations for children and adult carvers will also be conducted, as the traditions of the original Carving Club continues to be spread. For aspiring artists, as well lovers of the art or those interested in taking up carving or replenishing their carving tool sets, supplies will be available for sale also.
This year’s featured artist will be Theodore Smith from Nampa, Idaho, who has been a full-time carver since 1979.
Smith’s specialty and passion is birds. He lives three miles from the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge in Idaho, and loves to go bird watching, his favorite spot being Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. The artist, who has his own gallery in Idaho to show his work, dreams of one day carving a “life size golden eagle on a carved rock with a ground squirrel hidden among the rocks.” Lately, however, he has been rendering carvings of hawks, mallards and on and on he goes.
“I am currently working on a life size Canada goose. I also have a number of commissions coming up, including a spotted owl, a roadrunner and a gyrfalcon,” he said.
Picking up on Native American influences is 63-year-old Joe Boyett, who draws from the traditions of the Pacific Northwest; from the masks and totem poles of the Tlingets and Tsimshians of British Columbia. He likes the bold, powerful forms, and the mystical style of the work.
To get the right look, he needs good, soft wood.
“I use cedar, like the Indians did,” said the resident of Coronado Shores. “I’m fortunate to have a supply of Canadian Cedar, scrap pieces from when they re-did the Salishan Lodge. People were burning that for firewood. I have enough to supply me until my hands wear out.”
Anderson said many of the longest-standing members are working within the legacy of long-time local carver, Roy Setziol, who passed away recently.
“He would talk about the spirits of the wood, and how they would tell him which way to carve.”

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