Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A better ambassador...not likely

Something not seen very often...a full figure from one the best...Pete LeClair.  This figure was on display by Pete at this years Charlotte Woodcarvers show.  While the piece seems simple it is very well executed and the there is a lot we can learn from top to bottom. 
If you have never met Pete, well lets just say he has an abundance of character like the figures he carves.  I have met Pete on several occasions and have taken a class with him as well.  A better ambassador for woodcarving could not be found and us Caricature carvers can only benefit from his efforts.  A perfect example of this was the Charlotte show where everyone was a friend and he spent an abundance of his time sharing with everyone he met.  He spent the better part of two days just answering questions and giving demonstrations to anyone who passed by.  He could have ignored those around him, but that would not be Pete...he has a passion for carving that is infectious and you would be lucky to spend some time with the man and his work.  A more giving carver you will be hard pressed to find and that is why I admire the man...he truly advances the art.
Thanks Pete for all you do, we appreciate it!
Now why aren't you carving something? 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A moment of pride...

A second story for me coming out of the Charlotte show was the fact that one of the carvers I have been encouraging decided to come with me to the show. The young man has talent and being his mentor I wanted him to see that as well. My conditions for brining to the show was that he must bring some carvings to the competition and that he must participate in Tom Wolfe's whittling competition on both days. The purpose behind me stating these conditions to assist him in advancing his abilities.

Now as I have stated before I am not necessarily a prolific carver but rather one who likes to take his time, so whittling competitions will always be a challenge for me. At the end of the first day's whittling contest I finished just about mid-pack, but my friend...well...he done beat me! He did well on the second day as well however I made sure I worked a little harder than he did so as not to be beaten a second time. It was a good experience for him as he got to see what people value when judging caricature carvings (e.g. clean cuts with no shredded wheat). He was flexing his hand a lot over the next day or so but I assured him the ache was only temporary and would not last.  (The competition was to carve anything from a 2"x2"x6" block of wood in 1 hour and 30 minutes)

For those who wonder about entering a whittling competition, the experience forces a carver to carve more instinctly with bolder cuts. The lessons learned are carried over to your everyday carving which usually results in higher quality carvings in a much shorter time.

As far as the show competition goes, I had him enter his pieces in the Novice class as he has not been carving nor competing for that long...not only did he take Best of Caricature(Novice), but he also took Best of Novice! I was delighted to tell him he would took home $75 in prize money...not too shabby.

All-in-all it was a good experience for him and a little reward for me seeing one I encouraged do so well.   BTW...I cannot say enough about my fellow carvers and how welcoming they are to folks who are new to the art form,  it makes me proud to be a part of this art form.

It's a beautiful weekend...get carvin!