In Focus: Blackduck Woodcarver’s Festival Brings Carvers Of All Kinds
For more than 30 years, wood lovers have traveled from all over the country to Blackduck to check the ultimate one-stop shop for everything pine, cherry or oak. The festival has come a long way over the decades and now features a lot more than just the wood.
Rob Stomberg, coordinator for the Blackduck Woodcarvers Festival, says, “Within a couple, three years, the arts and crafts started to join in and it became more of a community event and it became a bigger event.”
Marsha Emarine of “Marsha One Of A Kind,” a vendor in this year’s show, says, “Everybody’s so friendly up here. We used to do a lot of shows down in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and it’s just very friendly people here. Very down to earth.”
Woodcarvers are hard to come by nowadays, so this show gives those in the field their chance to shine. For many, the journey started with a love for drawing and a little whittling.
Jon Smith, a woodcarver with Blackduck Woodcarvers says, “I love wood. I love the grains of wood and I have an art background and so, being that my mom and dad had all the tools and the paints and everything, I decided to do it.”
Cathy Winger, a chainsaw carver says, “I started carving in high school by hand with a chisel and I was always interested in it, so I took pictures of everybody’s carvings, and then I had a friend that actually taught me how he cut one side of the bear and I cut the other side.”
To be a good woodcarver, you not only have to have the skills. You also have to have a creative eye.
“Woodcarving is a dimensional art. It’s totally different. And in woodcarving, you’ll see intarsia, which is cut out and carved images, and so it’s a combination of a dimensional look that makes woodcarving totally different,” says Stomberg.
Many carvers will tell you it’s more than just picking up a block of wood and then going at it with a chainsaw. Some like to draw out their image on the wood and then make the right cuts.
“A lot of people draw a picture first, like dimensional so they know which side to go to. You can actually draw on the wood so you know where you want the ears and the arms, which helps a lot of people,” says Winger.
If this story has you thinking about picking up a saw and finding a stump to practice on, the first rule is always be safe. The second rule is try and try again until you succeed.
“If you enjoy doing crafts and art, then what you can do is just start on your own and draw and just whittle things, and pretty soon if you start enjoying you get to see what happens with the wood because everything that’s in a piece of wood has something there that needs to be found,” says Smith.