Discipline is the name of the game in woodcarving.
“In order to be a good woodcarver, you have to be able to stop,” said Angela Callow-Mosher, an artist and local woodcarver, “or else you pick, pick, pick, pick at it until you don’t have a piece anymore.”
This Saturday and Sunday, everyone is invited to see where some of the local artists felt the need to stop at the annual Northern Colorado Woodcarvers event at the Thomas M. McKee Building at the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
The event is part competition, part sale and all art. There will be about 40 different artists (some of whom may be wielding a chainsaw) and a large variety of art, including wood and gourds, painted and plain.
“”There’s all kinds of techniques and styles,” Callow-Mosher. “You’ll see anything from stylized to realistic, nature, humans, abstract, caricatures. There’s quite a variety of different carvings and styles.”
“You have to figure out what you’re worth,” Callow-Mosher said regarding prices. “You want your prices to be reasonable to get your name out there, but you don’t want to insult yourself either.”
Pieces will range greatly in size from the size of a dime to as big as a human.
“I like to do ones I can hold in my hand,” said Alice Huffman, another carver. “I’m more into 12 to 16 inch pieces, maybe not even quite 16 inches.”
Huffman began carving about a decade ago. “I went to a resort in Arizona. They had everything you could do, so I tried quilts and ceramics … but I liked wood, so I joined their group — they called themselves the ‘Easy Bleeders’ — and I took a class in wood shop.”
Since then, Huffman has fallen in love. She carves both wood — she has a preference for basswood, though she hears cottonwood bark is a good material too — and gourds. In October, her jack o’ lanterns are fantastic.
At the event, you can expect to see anything the carvers can imagine, from characters to animals to caricatures.
“My favorite part is, if I’m doing a character, finishing the eyes,” Huffman went on to say. “I like watching people looking at and smiling at my work.”
The art is undeniably beautiful, but Callow-Mosher and Huffman have known people to balk at the prices.
“Some people don’t know how much time goes into creating a piece,” Callow-Mosher said. “You need discipline; it’s not like clay where if you take a piece off you can put it back on. You’ve got to slow down and take time to enjoy the process.
“It’s not a craft; it’s an art.”
The price of the pieces will vary based on who carved it, the size of the sculpture and the skill involved. The event is free to attend.