It was just two months ago at our September club meeting we were each handed a wooden spoon to try our hand at carving. Not necessarily relishing the thought, I set it aside, as I prepared for the competition at Hickory. It wasn't that I was unwilling to participate it was just the same old question what am I going to carve. This question haunts quite a few carvers who just don't want to follow the leader and would like to be able to carve their own designs. Given my tendancies I decided to do it and just give it some time to percolate. I came across a fantastic drawing and decided to modify it somewhat and give it a go. The spoon would be carved as a relief and then I would wood burn for effect. This is not a normal practice for me but I decided that since I had nothing invested in the project (other than time) that I would push myself to try different techniques. So I decided to wood burn and practiced shading techniques by just varying the teperature of my pen and the type of stroke I was using. For the sky it was a series of dots burned at differing temperatures and spacing.
Overall I would not say this is a masterpiece by any means, but as a positive, I did try different techniques (relief and burning) and therefore have just that much more experience.
So if your club prompts you to participate in an event, take the chance, participate, don't worry about the result but rather enjoy the journey. The result will take care of itself and in the long run you will become a better carver who has a much wider range of experience that you will be able to use in the future.
Now, pick up that knife, give it a good stropping and carve something...anything. You'll be the better for it!