In Focus: Bemidji Woodcarvers Club Welcomes The Next Generation Of Carvers
The Bemidji Woodcarvers Club is filled with seasoned carvers, but right now, they’re taking those skills and sharing them with the generations below.
“We have kids from – usually we want them about 10 years old because than they understand a little more, and I think our oldest member was right around 82,” says Frank Bera, the vice president of the Bemidji Woodcarvers Club.
The Bemidji Woodcarvers Club currently has about 12 homeschoolers as members. It was Gallery North’s own “Warm Your Heart With Some Art” classes that introduced these youths to the art of woodcarving.
“We’ve been going to the club for 2 years and we just come and the members of the club help us out with the projects and it’s super fun,” says Chloe Knott, a member of the Woodcarver’s Club.
“I got started because I met [member] Les [Sanders] at one of the classes here at the Gallery and he invited us to come and to learn from him, so he’s kind of been my mentor and he’s taught me a lot about carving and I carved, like an ornamental fantasy dagger. It was cool,” says Quinn Knott.
“I’ve done a Santa and I’ve carved a spoon out of birch and that was super fun,” adds Chloe Knott.
In the woodcarvers club, you learn everything from all the different types of wood to what tools work best, not to mention the different styles and techniques to get your piece just right.
“They learn patience. They learn a lot about carving and they learn the safety and they actually get to pick different blanks that they think they’re interested in,” says Les Sanders, a member of the Woodcarvers Club.
Whether you’re a professional or you’ve never picked up a block of wood in your life, the club is sure to teach you something new.
Bera says, “We always start you off with something that’s quite simple so you understand the grain of the wood so when you cut into it, you’re not cutting into the grain and popping a big chunk off. Then you can make – and teach you how to make nice smooth cuts instead of gouging type of woodland cuts.”
Another bonus to the club is like any good group crafting session, you’re always in good company.
When asked about his favorite thing about the club, Quinn Knott says, “Probably the people. They’re awesome. They have so much knowledge they are amazing artists and they’ve taught us a lot.”
The Bemidji Woodcarving Club meets every Wednesday from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M. at the senior center in Bemidji. Anyone interested is welcome to come.