What is woodcarving, you might be asking yourself? The dictionary definition is “the action or skill of carving wood to make functional or ornamental objects.” Clearly, that’s quite a dry definition. Woodcarving’s better definition is that it’s an art form of individual expression using a natural, organic element, i.e., wood. Woodcarving is one of the oldest of all the arts. Think about the tools, utensils, home furnishings, or toys on display in museums. Many of them were carved from wood, sometimes with additional embellishments to make them pleasing to the eye, as well as functional.
The Triad Woodcarvers, founded in 2009, is the most active woodcarving club in the Carolinas and is comprised of members from around the Triad and Yadkin Valley. Members work to enhance their skills, sharing techniques with other members; to expand the interest in woodcarving to the community-at-large; and work on projects for local organizations. Their members have received numerous awards in regional and national competitions. Presently, their membership is at 67, with 19 women carvers and three young people.
Triad Woodcarvers has a well-defined mission statement. “Our mission as a club is to enhance the skills of other carvers by teaching, sharing, and learning new techniques for all carvers, both novice as well as master carvers. Our focus is to promote the art of woodcarving within the general public. We are committed to giving back to the community.” As Ray Branch (Chair, Public Relations & Membership) shared, “We are a busy, sociable group who love to share our art with others.”
What Are Triad Woodcarver Activities?
Members work on their individual projects and specialties as well as club projects. Their projects are varied and over the years have included:
In 2017, Triad Woodcarvers displayed a 7½´ Christmas Tree at the Sawtooth School for Visual Arts, decorated with over 200 hand-carved ornaments. The ornaments were sold, raising approximately $5,500, half of which was donated to Sawtooth’s Youth Scholarship Program.
The Sawtooth project was such a success that they sponsored another Christmas Tree at Sawtooth in 2018. They also displayed and demonstrated woodcarving at two local libraries, participated in five major festivals, including the Bethabara Apple Festival, and conducted carving demonstrations at the Dixie Classic Fair.
What have they done in 2019?
The group partnered with the Ronald McDonald House to carve and donate 100 Angels of Hope (small hand-held angels). They’re planning to continue this work by carving “comfort birds” for the Ronald McDonald House residents.
During festival season, Triad Woodcarvers participated in the Bethabara Apple Festival, Horne Creek Historical Farm Fall Festival, Hanging Rock State Park Chili Festival, and the Dixie Classic Fair. In total, for 2019, the group participated in 17 events. They also provide demonstration events for organizations; visit their website for more information.
Yes, indeed, they’re a busy group, having fun and promoting their art! They also love some friendly competition. They issued a challenge to the Piedmont Woodcarvers of Mauldin, SC—to see which club could enter the most carvings in the Charlotte Woodcarvers Showcase of Woodcarvings (the largest show in the Southeast), scheduled for February 22nd-23rd, 2020. Make plans to visit the show and cheer on our local, talented artisans!
Triad Woodcarvers provides instruction for high school homeschoolers, so that they have an art option in their studies. They developed the program earlier this spring, with a master carver directing the 13-session program. They’ve already received a request for a second semester. They plan to showcase the students’ creations later in their school year.
Triad Woodcarvers are hard at work building their calendar of events for 2020.
Interested in Giving Woodcarving a Try?
Come to one of the Triad Woodcarvers meetings. No need to bring anything, just your interest. The club provides tools, wood, patterns, basic instructions on safety, tools, and how to get started. Classes are free and include up to four weeks of lessons. Learn about different carving techniques—chip carving, relief carving, wood burning, cottonwood-bark carving, carving in the round, painting.
Join the Triad Woodcarvers at one of their regularly scheduled meetings. They meet weekly each Monday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Miller Park Community Center (400 Leisure Lane, Winston-Salem). It doesn’t matter whether you have any experience in the art of wood carving, you’re welcome, and they’re happy to teach you their art.
For more information, visit their website (triadwoodcarvers.com). You can also follow them on Facebook. Check their 2020 schedule to see where you can meet and enjoy their creativity and talent!