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Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association

July 2002

edited by
John Raucci & Mike Bloomquist

Next Meeting:
Aug 6, 2002
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Inman Senior Citizen Center, Amsterdam, NY
Program: Blocking out Carousel Animals - Walt Ruess, formerly of Carousel Magic of Mansfield, Ohio


Letter from the President

Well Gang, Dick Moran did it again, and this time it wasn’t long after he’d already done it once.  The Jeff Phares class was spectacular!  Saturday morning fourteen of us showed up at the Inman Center with our Workmates and C clamps in hand and three days later we all had an Indian or Mountain Man bust carving to be proud of.  I would like to again thank Dick Moran publicly for all his hard work, making it all come together. Also, thanks to his wife, Nancy, for having us over for the pot luck dinner Sunday night.
    A couple of other club events we have going, are the Altamont Fair and the Fonda Fair.  Anyone wishing to take part in either one of these events may do so by contacting Walt LeClair (Altamont) or Ron Myers (Fonda).  Their Phone numbers are in the last newsletter.   
    There’s another event coming up you don’t want to miss, and that’s the club picnic.  There will be great food, great games, great conversation, and, if Armand gifts us with them, great stories.  Don’t worry!  If your not into “those stories” you can join others carving in the other corner of the pavilion where “the lighting’s better”.  Details are elsewhere in this newsletter. Don’t miss ‘em, and hope to see you there.

Your Prez,
-Mike Bloomquist->


Aug- 8th thru the 18th  Hamburg NY  16th annual international woodcarving competition/expo at the Erie County Fair Grounds  Contact  Lloyd Chrissman @ (716) 675-0987 for details.

Aug-17th  Morrisville VT.  Green Mountain Woodcarvers  29th annual exibit/sale at the Peoples Academy.  I know Carl and Kay Borst are going so contact them for directions.
Aug. 31st -Sept.1st  The Caricature Carvers of America Carvealong is at the Erie County Fairgrounds… Contact Ken Kohl @ (716) 937-3228 or email to

The Second Annual NWA Woodworking Symposium will include lectures and demonstrations of all manner of woodworking and related topics and the two days will include an Instant Gallery, Coffee and donuts all day , and a catered lunch.
It will take place at Sears in Colonie Center on October 5 and 6. This is a Saturday and Sunday. Setup for the Instant Gallery will be Friday October 4 all day until 7:00
Topics will include
-    Five different Demonstrations of Woodcarving
-    Five different Demonstrations of Scrollsawing
-    Five different Demonstrations of Woodturning
Most topics will be scheduled in more than one time slot during the weekend.
Registration is limited to 275. Register by calling Ken Evans at 518-753-7759 or email
Cost of the event is $20 for the weekend if you place one or two items in the Instant Gallery or $25 with no Item for the Gallery.

Fletcher Farm School for the Arts & Crafts, in Ludlow Vermont is holding several woodcarving classes this summer.  Just to name a few… “Carving A Caricature Bust” with Pete LeClair,  “Scandinavian Style Figure Carving” with Harley Refsal, and “Chip Carving” with Wayne Barton.  For more information on these and other classes, call the school at 802-228-8770 or check out their website at   

Two MVAWA Members Attend
Helen Gibson Class

A few meetings back we saw two beautiful carvings of Moses carrying the Ten Commandments on our center table.  When Dick Moran did his usual fine job on the Show-N-Tell section of our meeting, we found out these artworks belonged to Walt LeClair and Ernie D’Allesandro.  Seems these two were visiting points South this winter and hooked up with a woodcarving class taught by Helen Gibson.  Helen, a member of the Brasstown Carvers (Brasstown, NC) and a instructor on the staff of the John C. Campbell Folk School, is also the author of several books on woodcarving.  In addition to “Carving Moses”, the source for this class, she has written “Carving the Nativity”, “Carving the Animals of the Nativity”, and “Carving St Francis of Assisi”.  After talking to Walt, I would say Helen’s classes come highly recommended since both our members produced A+ carvings, and had a good time doing it.  Hey Guys, sure hoped you mentioned our club while you were there, ‘cause you sure did us proud.  Great work.

Keep on Carvin’

-Mike Bloomquist->

Program Report
By Dick Moran

Meeting on Aug. 6 is Blocking–out Carousel Animals - Walt Ruess, formerly of Carousel Magic of Mansfield, Ohio.  Also, members are asked to bring a recently completed carving to share with everyone during the "Show and Tell" portion of the program.

The programs scheduled for the next few months are as follows:

Sept. 3 – PocketKnife Bird Carving – Allen Aardsma, Resident Carver at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake.

Oct. 1 - Everyone Carves Something" night. Everyone is asked to bring some woodcarving tools and whatever carving project he/she is currently working on. Also, members are asked to bring a recently completed carving to share with everyone during the "Show and Tell" portion of this informal program.

Nov. 6 – Carving the Human Figure - Carl Borst

  Highlights of June Meeting…

  • New faces in old jobs-

    • Pieter Paulding - Raffle Committee Chairman

    • Fred Jenzer - Club Historian

    • Andy Ebli will oversee the Christmas ornament project in addition to Nativity
      chairmanship.  See him for information and patterns.

  • Walt LeClair still needs carvers for the Altamont Fair booth August 13 to 18.

  • Dick Moran will take reservations by September 3 for a Cheryl Dow carving workshop next May.

By Dick Moran

Cheryl Dow Workshop
May 5, 6 & 7, 2003 - 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Amsterdam, NY

The Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association will be sponsoring a Cheryl Dow Workshop on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, May 5, 6 & 7, 2003.  The Cost for the workshop will be $150 for members and $175 for nonmembers and for members signing up after the September 3rd, 2002 due-date for deposits.  A nonrefundable $50 deposit is due at the time of signing up through Sept. 3, 2002; a $75 deposit will be required for signups after that date.  The balance of payments will be due by April 3, 2003 with a $1 per day late fee. Checks should be made out to the Mohawk Valley Art & Woodcarving Association or MVAWA.
      The fee includes 4 Italian Poplar boards and all patterns used in the class.  Class size will not exceed 12 students.  As far as projects go, it depends on the level of the students... Cheryl teaches all levels; she usually does two or three projects per person.  The first day, most work on a barn (with a tree and pump) scene to familiarize people with the skew and shader and how best to use them.  Barns are very forgiving and everyone comes out with a good picture while learning.  The second and third day, students usually do a fur type animal and a bird.  She teaches shading, undercutting, and many other techniques using these pictures.  She is mainly a carver's wood burner.  She also asks that carver's bring in any objects (flat-relief or in-the-round) if they would like Cheryl to spend a bit of time on a help session with them.
      You can check out Cheryl Dow's website at or her regularly published articles on wood burning in ChipChats for more information on her work and the types of projects done by her students in similar workshops.

*Deposits and payments will only be refunded in the event that the workshop has to be canceled because of inadequate numbers, cancellation by the presenter, etc. However the original person to make payments to the MVAWA can turn over his/her deposits or payments-in-full to another interested party.


I'm working with Dick Moran in trying to line up a few classes with some of the professional carvers.  These classes are very helpful in learning new techniques and tricks of the trade.  We do need a little input from the members as to whether there is enough interest for us to pursue this.

 As of now, I'm working on such carvers as
    Rosalind Daisey-(realistic & caricature animals),
    Phil Bishop-(caricature people & animals),
    David Sabol-(santas, caricature animals & people),
    Peter Ortel-(caricatures & other),
    Desiree Hajny-(realistic & caricature animals).

Most of these are hard to get as they fill up their time slots far in advance.  Some are not available till 2003 or 2004.  Please give us an idea of which of these you would be interested in and, also, how many classes do you feel we should hold.  How does 2 in the fall and 2 in the Spring sound?  These classes usually run about

$125-$150, and are for Friday evening 5pm-9pm; Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm.  They can be held during the week, but weekends allow the working people to take the classes.  There is much to be learned from any of these as they each have their own style of carving.  It takes  time and persuasion to get these people, and we are lucky to be able to get them to come to our area.  Please let us know your opinions. 

You can contact either myself:

     Dolores --  
or  Dick --
or  Mike --  

Or you can see one of us at one of the meetings.

Dolores V. Kramkowski

Soap Carving at Amsterdam Hospital
Senior Day Care Center

Thursday July 25th  This is the forth year that we, Pieter Paulding, John Raucci, Jim Harvey and Joe Rusik  have done a soap carving workshop with the patients at the day care center in Amsterdam.  All 22 patients were instructed and assisted in carving “little people” out of a bar of Ivory Soap.  A good time was had by the entire group… including some of the hospital staff…

Pieter Paulding

by George Hallenbeck

Bert Czwakiel, one of our new members tells me that Curtis Lumber on Route 67 in Ballston Spa will give us a 10 percent discount on basswood, butternut, etc. for any member of our club.  See Dave Whitehouse at Curtis Lumber to receive the discount.

Jim Harvey displaying an interesting group of Swedish Horses, six in a variety of colors and sizes, brightly painted in blue, green, brown and natural stain.  Jim is becoming a "Swede" guy.

Eric Lawrence doing a gnome of Harley Refusal's.  Harvey is influencing everyone.  Eric is one of our newer carvers... and coming along great!

Martha Colinas, our "social butterfly," doing a large butterfly wall plaque.

Carolyn Conde brought her Lighthouse relief carving which she carved in Bob Stadtlander's class.  "It's the first thing I ever finished!"  Well, it's nicely done, and I hope it's the first of many-a-lovely carving.

Chris Schmocker doing a wood spirit cane, with the bark on & five faces.  Different type of carving by a very "spirited carver".

Nice to see Walt LeClair back carving.  He has an order for an Emperor Penguin and is working hard at it.  Must remember to put the "waddle" in this penguin along with a majestic bearing.

Bill DiCaprio is doing a golfer and its going to look like one... sooner or later.  Just kidding, Bill!  It's coming along just fine!

Fred Jenzer back to work on his beautifully intricate spoons.  The definition is expertly done.

Larry Jasenski's tramp is looking good and just about done; it is a relief about 20 inches by 30 inches with a great smiling face.  Can't wait to see it painted!

Joe Rusick’s Pileated Woodpecker, nicely done with a fine base & dead limb.  Display means a lot, and this is a good one!

Phil La Porte showed his first carving, a large elephant.  This is a fine carving, and we were all astonished at the quality of a first piece.  I can imagine what the next one will be like.  Great work, Phil!

Marcus made Nelson Downs a carving bib.  It's 6 inches by 9 inches long with a decorative strap.  It's kinda cute even though it looks like the ones kids drool on!  Actually, it's a protector when you carver toward your chest.  How about that?

“Mike in Motion”

Tell me and I forget.
Show me and I remember.
Involve me and I understand.
                                      "Chinese proverb"

The Jeff Phares class was awesome, killer, spectacular, and all sorts of superlatives that I can’t think of quickly enough.  Harold and I camped at North Hampton State Park and commuted into Amsterdam as planned.  It worked out great, and we even got a little carvin’ in Friday night as warm-up for the class.  Saturday morning fourteen of us showed up at the Innman Center with our Workmates and C clamps in hand.  Jeff had several variations of Native Americans and mountain men in pictures and left what combination we wanted to do pretty much up to each individual.  I finally settled on a Native American straight from his book with only minor variations.  Harold, I thought, was doing one too, but at the last minute saw a Santa in the gallery of Jeff’s book, and went for that.  Hmmm... we’ll keep you posted on it’s progress as I describe the weekend.

Most of Saturday was whacking off the corners, with a little face shaping at the end and the beginnings of the nose.  You gotta know there was some very impressive piles of chips by the end of the day.  That evening several of us went with Jeff to this restaurant Carl suggested in Rotterdam.  It wouldn’t matter if I remembered the name, I couldn’t find it again if it meant a free tool roll full of new “Swiss Made” chisels.  Thank God we were able to hitch a ride with John Raucci.  The dinner was great, with the conversation covering Jeff’s home state New Mexico, horses, motorcycles, and Jeff’s converted greenhouse carving shop.  We got mistaken for a biker gang by this couple one table over who didn’t seem to mind the good time we were having (and loud  laughing).  Don’t know why bikers... they might have got that impression from John I guess.  After the restaurant we went to Carl’s carving shop, home of the infamous Tuesday Group.  Very impressive, and strangely cleaner than I expected.  Although no one would sit in it, we also saw the revered carving seat of one Ron Meyers.  Carl even sent me away with a souvenir log of “butternut”... what a guy.  Now I ‘m not one to look a gift log in the knot, and I’m shamefully poor at identifying wood species, but when I got this log home, split it, removed the bark, and began planing it.... it look an awful lot like red oak.  Hmmmm.

Sunday was more wood chips, and the faces were all slowly taking shape thanks to patient, small steps doled out by Jeff.  Sometimes it took a while for him to make a circuit of the class, but he always made it to each one, and there was always plenty of  non-crucial wood (nothing near the face) to remove in between visits.  Most times I would take a valiant stab at the step he had just illustrated, but he would appear and, with great sweeping cuts, show me how it should be done on one half of my piece.  Then he’d leave me to match the other half... well that is after I picked my jaw off the floor I would try and match the other half.  Sunday night we were invited over to Dick and Nancy Moran’s home for a pot luck dinner.  They even let us out-of-towners who didn’t have a pot come.  It was another great evening and Jeff shared stories of  how he got started in carving, stories of the CCA (gee! we know a couple of characters who belong to that group), how he came to write books for Fox/Chapel, and how his bronzes are produced.  We also got a tour of  Dick’s shop and his collection of cacti and succulent plants.  Another great evening, and thanks to hitching a ride with John once again, Harold and I got there and back to Amsterdam in the same evening.

Monday saw the faces really come together, and I saw several masterworks around me at the end of the day.  My piece?  I was happy with it... it was average for the group... and it was humanoid looking.  Can’t tell you how many gouge techniques I picked up watching Jeff work.  Some I had seen before, but neglected to practice lately.  Most of them poor Jeff had to show me more than once before it sunk in how he was making that chisel fly like that.  Yeah... flying.  In another life, when I used to bale hay on the neighbor’s dairy farm, I really enjoyed watching barn swallows fly across the field above me.  Diving, climbing, banking, cutting as they intercepted insects kicked up by the machinery.  Yeah, flying... that’s what Jeff’s gouges were doing... like a swallow.  He’d start at one side of the face and then swoop, cut, bank, twist and up!... and it was done.  What took me five or ten hesitant cuts, took him one bold stroke.  Harold’s Santa?  Harold threw us another curve in the eleventh hour and turned it into a mountain man... with a hood... with a tassel.  So it’s a great mountain man, and like most mountain men he has an Indian name... “he-who-flies-with-reindeer”.

    Well, I hope those of you who weren’t at the seminar got a little picture of it.  So, keep them edges keen, the chips piled high, and see ya at the picnic.

Full of it, as usual,
-Mike Bloomquist->

Classified Adds

If you would like to sell something you can advertise it here first and, if you want, you can bring it to our monthly meeting to display it.  Just let the members know when and where they can see what you are selling.  Let me know when you place your ads and I will get the word out if they can see it at an upcoming meeting.  Remember all advertising here is FREE!  
We have already had success with this endeavor!  

********* For Sale *********

Basswood - Cut to Order - Also some Cherry and Butternut….Prices on request
Will furnish Bird Blanks from your plans or mine…..Prices on request depending on species.
For any information on the above items please contact Walt LeClair @ 518-861-6544

Club Crew Neck Sweatshirt - size Medium - Never worn - wrong size ordered -
If interested please call Fred Jenzer @ 518-384-7313 or e-mail

Reliant Dust Collector - Model # NN720 - Paid $260.00 for it will take $130 - Runs on 110 or 220 volts.  Call Tony Monte @ 518-357-4602

Delta Scroll Saw - 18" Variable Speed - Approximately 4 years old with very little use.  Original cost $450, willing to sell for $300. Call Bill Johnson @518-399-5927 or e-mail @

Alaskan Chain Saw Mill - used to convert logs to lumber- 36" w/accessories - very good condition                                                                          $100.00  
McCulloh 20" Timber Bear Chain Saw w/ripping chain and w/extra chains - very good condition $175.00  
Please call Steve Madej @ 518-842-7219 if you are interested in these items.

Craftsman Wood Lathe - with live center, face plate and set of turning tools. $150
Craftsman Tabletop Shaper - with numerous cutters. $85 Call Ev Botsford at 518-438-4788

Anvil  - For sale - Please contact Gordon Litke @ 584-1128

********* Wanted *********

Old draw knife with folding handles, call Marcus Kruger  @ 518-829-7008 or e-mail @

Old, Used Chain Saw Chains -  In any condition.  Call Bud Murtlow @ 518-885-9579

To place want ads for any wood carving related items please contact Carol Ayers @ 518-587-6841,
3 Poe Court, Ballston Spa, NY  12020 or e-mail  ……it's free!  Don't forget that you can also place an Ad for something WANTED.

Club Apparel
By Carol Ayers


All of the items are embroidered with our club logo and the prices including sales tax is as follows:
  • Polo shirt, light ash gray (short sleeve with collar and tab front) is $11.00
  • Long sleeve T-shirt, light ash gray is $12.50
  • Crew neck sweatshirt, light ash gray is $16.50
  • Hooded, full zipper front sweatshirt with side pockets, light ash gray is $22.00
  • Apron, natural with no pocket is $8.50
  • Hat, tan is $7.70
  • Club embroidered patch is $3.50
  • Club static cling decals are $2.00
    (sales tax is included in all the pricing)

Ordering these items is as follows:
Ordering these items is as follows.

  • Patches, hats and decals are on hand and can be bought from me at any time.
  • Shuts, sweatshirts and aprons need a total of six orders, any combination, for me to place an order with the company.
I have ordered a dozen hats and they are in. From now on, I will try always to have club hats on hand, just like the patches and static cling decals for the car window. A hat, club shirt, logo apron or sweatshirt is always a good thing to have when doing fain or shows. I am starting a new list for shirts, since I have just placed an order for six items. As soon as I have another six items to embroider, I can order again.

If you are interested you can place an order by e-mailing me, Carol Ayers at:

or writing me at
3 Poe Court
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
or phoning me at

Club members and other clubs have asked who does our shirts, hats, and now decals. The company is Cameo Productions, Amsterdam, NY . They have quality merchandise, give you personal attention, and are capable of producing almost any quantity. They have also are willing to meet deadlines and fill our small orders. If you would like a catalog please call Joe at 1﷓800﷓8094839 or 518﷓8424839. If he is not there, Lisa will help you.


Letters to the Editor

Send correspondence to...
Mike Bloomquist
117 Riverview Parkway
Rome, N.Y. 13440

Or Email to;

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