Area woodcarvers ready to show their stuff at local event

From wood spirits to spoons to life-like statues, the Charlotte Woodcarvers Club can do it all. And for the 30th year they will come together with carvers from all across the country to show off their talents in south Charlotte.

The Charlotte Woodcarvers Club meets every Tuesday at the Cathcart Hall at Carmel Presbyterian Church, 2048 Carmel Road, from 3 to 7:30 p.m. The club will host its annual Showcase of Woodcarvings, with the theme of “The Wild, Wild West” Feb. 16 and 17 in Charlotte. The event is free.

The Charlotte Woodcarvers Club 2013 Showcase of Woodcarvings, with the theme of “The Wild Wild West,” will take place Feb. 16 and 17, a Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at the Marion Diehl Recreation Center, 2219 Tyvola Road, in Charlotte. The club plans to see about 100 carvers from 10 different states display their wares in what Ray Branch says is one of the largest woodcarving showcases in the Southeast.

“We will have a number of professional carvers who will have carvings for sale, a raffle and, of course, the competition,” said Branch, president of the local club.  For the competition there will be three divisions with about 31 categories covering all levels from novice carvers to professional carvers.  Carvers also will bring pieces and carving supplies to sell for those interested.

Entering pieces in the showcase costs $15 per carver, regardless of how many carvings they want to bring, and carvers do not have to be a member of the Charlotte Woodcarvers or any other club to enter.  The showcase is free to attend.

Also during the showcase, Tom Wolfe, a nationally known carver who has written more than 50 books on woodcarving, will hold a separate competition where he will give each carver a block of wood they are allowed to carve for an hour and a half.  Wolfe will provide the wood and the prizes for this portion of the showcase.

Branch said events like this are the club’s way of promoting their craft and recruiting new members, which currently has about 125 members.  And for members like Bill McCaughey, who joined during last year’s showcase, the recruitment during the event worked.

“I’ve always been interested in woodcarving but I never tried it.  My wife wanted to get me out of the house so she told me to join,” he said.  After spending a year in the club, McCaughey will enter a few of the 40 objects he has carved throughout the year into the showcase.  The final decisions on which pieces he will enter has not been made, but he knows his turtle, Jiminy Cricket and dolphin will make an appearance at the showcase.

When he joined the club, McCaughey didn’t have any experience in carving, but after he joined members of the club worked with him and taught him all sorts of techniques to use when carving.

“The members are extremely knowledgeable.  We work together.  We teach each other,” Joe Davis, who has been a member for two years, said.

The Charlotte Woodcarvers Club meets every Tuesday at the Cathcart Hall at Carmel Presbyterian Church, 2048 Carmel Road, from 3 to 7:30 p.m.  Anyone interested in joining can come to any meeting and see what the club is all about; membership fees are $15 per year.  About 30 to 40 members come to the meeting each week.

Men, women and children older than 12 are welcome to join the club, but a parent must accompany all children to each meeting.  When members first join they will receive eight weeks of basic instruction during the normal meeting time for the club.

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