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Wood artisans dish up creativity
“From soup to nuts,” is how Gordon Day describes woodcarving tastes among his students and co-club members.
“You get a little bit of everything,” he said.
The Pacific Northwest Wood Artisans club hosts a diverse group interested in carving caricatures, animals, making furniture and chainsaw art, and piecing together intarsia, a wood inlay art.
These styles and more appear at the club's annual Wood Artisans Show on July 14 in Pioneer Park.
“People just want a chance to show their work,” Day said. “Some want to sell but I'd say less than half sell their work at the show.”
Day donates most of his work to charities and his attitude is infectious. Cooperation is evident among artisans at their Tuesday workshop instruction class in Day's shop. They share methods, projects and ideas.
Ron Bean joined about a year ago after visiting the art show where he met Day. He tried a few of the Tuesday workshops and found himself hooked.
“It's been a ball,” he said.
His current project involves carving a block of wood into wizards, which he'll turn into pins for giveaways at the show.
Dick Peterson of Sequim joined a year ago, too, even though he's turned wood for 20 years and makes his own pens.
“I wouldn't say the club has helped with my turning skills but with learning about the different kinds of woods out there that I didn't know about,” Peterson said. “I like getting together with everyone. There are lots of types of woodworkers but we still find we have so much in common.”
Gary Cummins of Port Townsend started carving while working for the National Park Service.
“At the time, I managed 300 employees and wood carving was like taking an anti-stress medication,” Cummins said. “I just got into it. Now, it's not an obsession, but all my spare moments go to carving. It's a pure joy.”
Pat Donlin, joined the club early on in 2006 when Day first opened his workshop.
She makes caricatures, wooden spoons, decorative Santas, golfers and more out of wood.
“It's relaxing,” she said. “I daydream sometimes while doing it.”
Laid back might be one description of the group, but these artisans take their work seriously.
Rather than using a utility knife, club members mostly use professional carving knives they've custom fit to their hands.
“Most of these people are excellent carvers,” Day said.
Many of the artisans learned under Day, who started in cabinetry as a hobby but segued into oil paintings and eventually carvings of animals, particularly eagles.
Artisan Gale Lawrence-Krum dabbles in intarsia, caricatures and more, and said drawing abilities are essential for the craft.
“You must research everything from birds to horses to see exactly how they look,” she said.
Despite countless hours of practice, Day is happy to open his shop for free 1-4 p.m. every Tuesday.
People don't need to join the club ($16 annual membership) to participate.
The Pacific Northwest Wood Artisans meet at 9 a.m. the second Thursday of each month starting in August at the Port Angeles Senior Center, 328 E. Seventh St., Port Angeles.