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Gathering Of Woodcarvers (GOW 2008)
Everyone Is Invited

Have you ever wanted to throw a party, for a group of friends that would last for days? It was that desire, plus the model of the woodcarver Roundup in Evart, Michigan, the multiple short seminar format, that inspired the GOW. Everyone is invited to the GOW. Come enjoy the company of other woodcarvers while learning from a wide variety of seminars.

What? GOW 2008 is a Gathering Of Woodcarvers for fun and learning in multiple short seminars.
When? Begins noon Monday, September 15 and ends Friday night September 19, 2008.    
Where? The Sandwich Illinois Fair Grounds located in Sandwich, Illinois about 60 west of Chicago.    
For the seminar schedule and information go to web site:

The GOW is a gathering of woodcarvers that begins on a Monday evening and doesn’t end until Friday night. We have about 50 seminars on almost every aspect of woodcarving focusing on the beginner to intermediate carver. GOW 2008 will be our 8th gathering. The reason the GOW has grown to about 150 is the quality of instructors teaching the seminars. Here is the list of last year’s instructors (Ol’ Don Burgdorf, Floyd Rhadigan, Chris Howard, Joe Dillett, Bob Mau, Jan Oegema, Gordon Sorenson, Tony Erickson, Mel Johnson, Bonie Graser, John Susin, Mike Harmon, Sally & David Nye, Gene Westerberg, Dave Kublank, Jim Byrne and Sharon Bechtold). This year almost every instructor is coming back plus we’ve added several more. We’ve extended the classes into Tuesday and Thursday evening. This year we have added more classes for the non-carving spouses, such as drawing, scrap booking and stamping.

Every year the GOW gets bigger. It’s gotten so big that we’ve outgrown my shop so GOW 2008 has been moved to the Sandwich Fair Grounds which are 2 miles from my shop. The classes will be held in buildings instead of a tent. Camping at the fair grounds will be crowded like at my shop but there will be showers.

Our goal is to keep the costs of GOW 2008 as low as possible. We are not-for-profit so our facility fee pays for renting the fair grounds plus renting tables & chairs, insurance and supplies. The instructors normally fall short of meeting their expenses. The average cost to participate in the GOW is $10 per day for Student Facility Daily Fee plus the Instructor Fee $10 per day (plus supplies and material). There is a $10 per week Non-Student Weekly Facility Fee for non-carving spouses, which entitles them to take one class. Camping fees are $15 per night. Your estimated cost for the whole 5-days for you and your non-carving spouse would be (Camping Fee $15 per night X 5 nights = $75) + (Student Facility Daily Fee of $10 X 4 days of classes = $40) + (Non-Student Weekly Facility Fee of $10) = $125 which includes the use of facilities, camping, showers plus it includes raffle tickets for the Friendship cane. Instructor fees are $10 per day X 4 (if you take classes all 4 days = $40) + cost of blank, supplies etc from the instructor [see class schedule for exact cost]. There you have it, under $165 plus blanks & etc for a week of classes from some of the best instructors in the business. That’s a great deal.

What about food? Even though we have lots of restaurants in the area we try to keep everything convenient and inexpensive for you right on the fair grounds.  Lunches are able to be purchased on site, for a reasonable cost, thanks to Brenda who brings her grill to the GOW every year. Monday evening we have a social with snacks available. Tuesday evening is the Chili Dump. Bring a can of chili or throw $5 per person in the kitty. Wednesday evening is pot luck so bring a plate to pass or throw $5 per person in the kitty. Thursday evening dinner is on your own. Friday evening is a no-charge hot dog and chips. Coffee is available until noon every day and maybe later if it is cool outside.
Evening activities begin Monday at 6 PM with the Opening Ceremony. You will meet the other carvers, hear the announcements and the introduction of instructors. You will get a chance to talk to the instructors, see their seminar projects and sign up for classes that still have openings. To insure a place in a seminar I recommend that you register early with Bob Mau . Check the seminar schedule at

Tuesday and Thursday evenings we have classes. This is the first year that we scheduled classes in the evening. People working during the day asked that we hold some evening classes. These classes are open to everyone and space may be reserved with Bob Mau.

Wednesday evening, after the pot luck supper, there is a Speed Carving Contest and Blanket Trade. The speed carving contest is between Joe Dillett (using hand tools) and Mike Brown (using power tools). This will not settle the argument of which method is faster but it will be fun and entertaining. Proceeds from our carvings will be donated to charity. The Blanket Trade is a fun tool swap where everyone is entertained watching each other swap tools, supplies, junk, treasure and even money. Bring stuff to trade for different stuff.

Friday night is music and hot dog night. Bring an instrument and join in the music and story telling.
People may begin arriving at the Sandwich Fair Grounds at noon on Monday, September 15. Please do not arrive before noon. Everyone must break camp and be off the fair ground by noon on Saturday, September 20. As you arrive you will first come to the Registration Area to register. If you are camping you will be directed to your camp site. If you are camping please pre-register with Sandie Burgdorf Sandie is in charge of all registration and camping.

There’s more. On Saturday September 20th there is a Carving Show right across the street from GOW 2008. It is put on by the Fox Valley Carvers with Ol’ Don Burgdorf as the Featured Artist. Please contact Gene Westerberg for information and table rental.

For camping reservations contact Sandie Burgdorf
For reserving a place in a seminar contact Bob Mau
For any other information please contact me, Joe Dillett

Many thanks to my hosts who help me organize the GOW, Sandie Burgdorf (camping and registration) Bob Mau (seminars and publicity), Sharon Dillett (food), Joe Dillett and Gene Westerberg (facility and activities). Without them there would be no GOW.

Many thanks,
Joe Dillett, the Ask Joe guy in Carving Magazine.

The Carving Shop
645 E. LaSalle St. Suite 3
Somonauk, IL. 60552
(815) 498-9290 phone - (815) 498-9249 fax [business web site] ['Ask Joe' column]


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