Sunday, August 28, 2016

This is what mentoring is all about...

Best In Class Carving by Rob Lucci (2016)
...another wonderful month of carving for sure! 
  Me and the gentlemen I "encourage" took to the Erie County Fair that is held each year outside of Buffalo, NY.  The Fair, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is the largest in New York State and the 3rd largest in the US.
  Rob, Jim, and myself packed up some carvings and threw in with the Buffalo crowd for a good old competition and as you can see from the picture we had a measure of success.  (Rob having the greatest success)  Each of us was able to walk away with shiny new ribbons and also some extra carving money as well!   
  As you probably know if you are a regular reader of this blog I started mentoring these gents a few years back and man has it payed back in spades.  I enjoy seeing their success and watching them grow in the art. 
  This year I estimate I will have been carving for ~ 25 years now,  and through the years one thing I have noticed is the sense of family we Caricature Carvers share.  As we all know times are changing with many interests trending towards the electronic age.  Knowing this it is up to us to share our art and encourage others to join us.  Who knows, you might get the same enjoyment I am getting while growing our family.
  It's another hot one here in Western NY,  sunny and dry...a perfect reason to sit in the AC and get some carving done.  I hope you are doing the same!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Toto we're not in Kansas anymore...

Scarecrow handcarved by Jim Hiser (2016)
...true but we were in East Berlin, PA!!!

Just got back from a weekend hosted by Jim Hiser and the Conewago Carvers with renowned instructor Chris Hammack.  Me and the Rochester gang took his 2-day Caricature class that was held in the East Berlin Community Center.

It was our first visit to this venue and I could tell from our host that this would be worth the almost 6 hour drive.  Jim does a great job of facilitating and supporting the instructor and students with ample communication and direction.  Jim is also a recent inductee into the Caricature Carvers of America(CCA) organization.  A well deserved honor (see his 2nd Best of Show carving in the CCA competition in 2015).

Jim has carved himself a little niche with his wonderful scarecrows that utilize a Chris Lubkemannesque technique for generating the required straw (see image).  These whimsical scarecrows are a great demonstration of movement and you can see the pride and skill in each piece.

As for the class,  Mr. Hammack has, as expected, outdone himself as his varied and constantly changing roughouts provide an elevated challenge for the caricature carver and as demonstrated by his Barflies great interest has followed.  Chris is a patient and knowledgable instructor and should you get the chance to spend time with him,  it is money well spent.  Chris and the whole flock of CCA members will be attending this year's Artistry in Wood show that will be held Labor Day in Wilmington, Oh.  Each of the members will be displaying some of their works. 

As far as future classes in East Berlin go...Jim states that he will have a handle on 2017 classes in early November.  To register you can either keep on eye on copies of Chip Chats or visit  (Note: the facility is well lit and ample power is provided...overall a perfect setting for letting the chips fly)

Well this class has got my carving juices flowing...what are you doing to keep the chips flying?