The ancient art of wood carving is alive and well each Friday at Englewood's Malley Senior Recreation Center as men and women bring their talent and their tools to transform blocks of wood into animals, birds, angels and other artworks.
On Feb. …
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On Feb. 10, music played in the background and the carvers engaged in conversation as each carver focused on his or her project. The work being done was definitely not whittling a piece of wood with a pocketknife.
Each carver brought a variety of tools to the gathering. There were a lot of different types of knives that were used, depending on the carving task at hand. There were awls and punches, plus most crafters had sandpaper available to smooth the wood when the carving was done.
Ralph Mueller, who used to teach the wood carving class at Malley, said the current gatherings aren't classes, but just offer a chance for people who like to carve wood to get together and talk about their craft or a variety of other subjects.
“I always liked to whittle and I got started wood carving in 1991 when I took a class here at Malley. I eventually became the class instructor,” Mueller said. “Now carving is a hobby. I like to carve animals. I have done a lot of different animals and right now I am trying to make a carving of a musk ox. I am using pictures to help me do it right. It usually takes me a couple weeks to complete a carving. I give away my carvings because I am making them as presents for friends and family.”
He smiled and said he has a table set up so he can work on his carvings in his basement.
“I go down there to watch TV, and if there isn't anything worth watching on TV, I work on my carvings,” Mueller said.
Nearby, Ted Breed was carving an angel out of a block of wood.
“About 20 years ago, I was retired and took a wood carving class at an RV park in Arizona,” he said. “I liked carving and decided to stick with it. There was a time when I took my carving to craft shows, but now I carve for fun and give my carvings away. It is great coming here on Fridays because if you have an issue, people will help you.”
Attending a wood carving show got Fred Pillow interested in the craft.
“I bought some wood and a couple tools to give it a try and found I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I think it is peaceful and rewarding to carve wood. My favorite subject is bunnies and I carve a lot of them because it is fun.”
Mem Putnam said she enjoys carving wood as a hobby.
“I started carving in '96. I don't think I have made a lot of improvement but I really enjoy working with wood,” she said. “I have made some carvings of birds and know I am doing this decorative piece as a different subject.”
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