Many children grew up watching their grandfathers take a block of wood, with what appeared no potential, and a knife, many times passed down a few generations, and carve what they saw in the wood: a horse, a face, a toy soldier. You just never knew what would be at the end of hours of carving; in my day, my grandpa called it “whittling.” With today’s technology options vying for our attention, and especially our youths’ attention, spending time with that block of wood may not seem cool, but you’d be surprised how a group of people, Triad Woodcarvers, are reaching out not only to show their creations, but inspiring today’s youth in developing their own love of woodcarving.
An Art of Yesteryear
Woodcarving has been an expression of how we see the world around us since the beginning of time. Visit a museum and you will see many utensils, tools, and toys, as well as home furnishings, made from wood, and as man progressed, ornamentation was added. Taking the art of woodcarving and sharing it with people today is the focus of Triad Woodcarvers.
“Triad Woodcarvers (TWC) started in 2009 and has become the most active woodcarving club in the Carolinas, comprised of members from around the Triad and Yadkin Valley. We were formally organized with 17 members and have grown today to more than 100. Anyone 18 years or older can join, and individuals 12-17 can join our group with a parent. TWC participates in carving exhibitions twice a month on Saturdays at Klingspor, a woodworking shop in the Pavilions Shopping Center in Winston-Salem, NC. We are active in the community at church bazaars and local festivals, such as The Carolina Classic Fair, Charlotte Woodcarvers Annual Showcase, The Greenville (SC) Iris Festival, as well as other showcases and competitions across the US and Canada. Locally, TWC works to give back through our partnership with Sawtooth Center to promote their youth scholarship program and with the Winston-Salem Ronald McDonald House to donate 100 hand-carved ‘Angels of Hope’ to their residents annually,” said Will Crawford, TWC Program Director.
Sharing a Passion with the Next Generation
The youth of today have an interest in carving. TWC reaches youth the same way they reach adults, through demonstrations at festivals, county fairs, Klingspor weekends, and community events.
“TWC also offers classes for students at STEM of the Triad, a home-school alliance, through which we offer a 13-week course each semester. All instructors are TWC volunteers and we have partnered with STEM for the past three years. We offer Beginning Carving and Advanced Carving for those students who completed Beginning Carving, and a carving club for students who complete Advanced Carving. Wood burning is also offered to STEM students. For the past six semesters, we have been close to our maximum capacity of 10 each semester. Our relationship with STEM is not only a partnership, but an outreach program to our youth and the community. TWC’s High School Woodcarving Instructional Program is all about developing a new generation of woodcarvers and will be an enduring legacy of the Triad Woodcarvers’ Club. The instructors for the carving classes are Carol Adair, Mark Payne, Stewart Hodges, and myself. Our wood burning instructor is Lynne Patrick,” Will commented.
Sharing a love and passion of an art begun long ago in human history is part of the focus for TWC.
“Our goal at Triad Woodcarvers is to promote the art and joy of woodcarving and give back to our community. The STEM instructional program may be our most fruitful endeavor for promoting woodcarving to the next generation,” stated Will.
For more information, visit www.triadwoodcarvers.com on upcoming events and membership. You can follow TWC on Facebook.