The wood carvers settle down to work on a project, look at pattern books or have coffee and catch up with friends.
“It’s our first meeting of the season and we have some new members here, some with no experience but everything is great,” said North Okanagan Carvers Society president Ken Don, recalling when he was new to the society and carving three years ago. “I came to an open house and won a year’s membership and I’ve been here ever since. I always liked working with wood.”
He said people can start carving with one knife, which costs about $25, and a piece of bass wood for $10. After that, depending on the project, the tools and wood can get more expensive.
“We start people out with carving a boot so that they can learn the basics. After that, everybody does their own thing. We all help each other and share our experience. All you have to do here is sit down with a piece of wood and there will be somebody standing over your shoulder with suggestions,” said Don. “I’ve learned how much I’ve got to learn. There’s so much you can do with wood and knives. There’s no limit to it.”
While most of the carvers use hand tools, some use power tools if their hands are not strong or for special effects. The group has a library of books and videos for members’ use and keeps the membership fee at $35 a year, just enough to cover costs. The meetings are held Tuesday afternoons at the Arts Centre weekly except for holidays and summer break.
Bill Van de Braak, an experienced carver, was at a meeting for the first time.
“Everyone is friendly and there’s good information, I can see that there are some tricks I can learn. For me, carving is great relaxation. When I’m carving, all I’m thinking about is keeping my fingers intact, and troubles disappear,” he said.
Brenda Groeneboer joined the society last year, and is working on an advanced project, a ball in a cage.
“There’s so much talent in this group and everybody is willing to share their knowledge,” she said.
The society’s open house and show of members’ work for prospective new members takes place Oct. 25 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Vernon Community Arts Centre. For more information call Don at 250-542-1907.