What do you picture when you think of woodcarving? Perhaps a stereotypical picture of guys sitting on a front porch with sticks of wood and knives in hand with a pile of shaving on the floor? Nope. The Triad Woodcarvers has an active group of women carvers who bring their own unique spin to this art form.
Woodcarving, one of the oldest of all the arts, is an art form that allows for individual expression using natural, organic elements, i.e., wood. Consider the artifacts found in museums: tools, utensils, home furnishings, toys, etc. Most of them were carved from wood. You likely noticed additional embellishments to make them pleasing to the eye while retaining their functionality.
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 and enjoy teaching this art form to new members. They embrace the concept of giving back to the community through specific projects, such as Ronald McDonald House. They do enjoy sharing their talents and enjoy healthy competition, as reflected by the numerous awards they have won at regional and national events. Presently, their membership is at 92, with 28 of that total women carvers.
Who are some of the ladies of Triad Woodcarvers?
Meet Ruth McHenry. She is Director of the Ronald McDonald House “Angel of Hope” program. So far, the woodcarvers have created nearly 100 angels and birds for the children and families of Ronald McDonald House. As Ruth stated, “Sometimes, you just need a little something to hold onto.” These small artifacts are designed to be hand-held for comfort and are finished to a satin-like sheen. Some are natural, while some of the birds are brightly painted. Ruth shared that a new delivery is taken to the House about every four to six weeks. Ruth is an active volunteer; she also works with the NC Baptist Men who renovate homes after hurricanes as a member of the kitchen crew.
Lynne Patrick joined Triad Woodcarvers just over a year ago. Her medium is pyrography (writing with fire), which involves using a heated metallic point to burn a design into wood. The detail she achieves in her work is quite amazing. She also serves as the Club’s Director of Social Activities, including responsibility for the annual picnic and annual December Christmas Social.
Carol Mock has been with the club for about two years. She and her husband are active members; Tom is currently the club president. Her niche is carved wooden jewelry in unique designs (fox heads, crucifixes, hearts, and more). Her imaginative pendants make a statement. Tom and Carol have served as Santa and Mrs. Santa at Christmas events in Davie County for many years.
Judith Ruff joined the club about a year ago and serves as the Club Photographer to showcase the club’s work. She is also on the Board of the Senior Games.
Stephannie Walker Seaton is also a relatively new member. She relocated to the area from Utah and has been active in promoting the art of woodcarving at events attended by the club.
Interested in trying your hand at carving? All you need is an interest and a willingness to learn. Plan to visit one of the Triad Woodcarvers meetings. No need to bring anything and no prior experience necessary. They meet weekly each Monday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Miller Park Community Center (400 Leisure Lane, Winston-Salem). 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. You’ll learn about different carving techniques — chip carving, relief carving, wood burning, cottonwood bark carving, carving in the round, painting, and Christmas ornaments — to help find your area of interest.
For more information, visit their website (triadwoodcarvers.com). You can also follow them on Facebook. Check their 2020 schedule of activities and enjoy their creativity and talent! They’re a welcoming group and would love to have you visit!