Archive for March 2017

March-April 2017 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine


Adina Huckins – West Fork, AR

AIW 2016 

Hello, Friends in Carving

Welcome to March-April edition of Woodcarver Online Magazine.  This issue contains the photo galleries from the Dayton Carvers Guild Artistry In Wood 2016.  There are some wonderful carvings in the galleries; be sure to take time to check them out.  Please remember that all the winners images are clickable to display a much larger version of the photos, so you can really look at the details.

In this issue:

  • Photo Gallery Artistry In Wood 2016 
  • Pete LeClair: Hargrove
  • Ol’ Don’s Drawing Table: Carve-A-Troll
  • Notes From The ‘Net: Photographing Carvings 
  • Update to Events, Happenings and Goings-On

As always, we welcome your feedback, ideas for articles, etc.  Please use the contact form on the About page in the menu bar above.  Please support our sponsors (including the CarversCompanion CafePress Shop, where you can find lots of gifts for the carver in your life); just click any of the links in the right menu bar.



Photo by Marc Featherly at IWC ’14

Matt Kelley


Artistry in Wood 2016 – Show Report


By Don Mertz

Photos by Marc Featherly

Since the first event in 1981, Artistry in Wood has been committed to providing the best woodcarving and woodworking show for the benefit of exhibitors, vendors and visitors who come to see some of the best expression of wooden art as well as being able to purchase works of art from the woodcarving and woodworking craftsman and artist.

Every year the Artistry in Wood stays true to this original commitment by sharpening and fine tuning the show so that it continues to be THE show exhibitors and visitors will want to attend time after time.  Each year the quality of competition entries improve as does the growth of vendors and eclectic mix of artistic expressions related to wood along with a steady growth in the size of the show.

The organizers of the event were placed between a rock and hard place when the show location for the prior fourteen years was suddenly closed, and had find a comparable sized show venue in a different location and show date (due to scheduling limits at the new location).  Despite that, Artistry in Wood doubled its efforts to stay true to its original commitment.

So committed are the event organizers to providing the BEST Show possible for all concerned that ihe advertising budget was increased from $19,427.00 for 2015 to $30,225 for 2016 to assure all concerned that “The Show Goes On.”  The show goes on to maintain the high quality of exhibitors, competitors, judges, demonstrations, children’s activities and visitors’ interests for the showing and selling of cherished works of art in the medium of wood.  And just as important, the show goes on so that Artistry in Wood can continue the long tradition and commitment of giving at least $5,000 to United Rehabilitation Services of Dayton and $500 to Partners Against Crime charities.

The only venue that was large enough to accommodate a show the size that Artistry in Wood has grown to be with a convenient location within the radius of Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio was the Roberts Centre near Wilmington, OH.  The only date available for 2016 was for Labor Day weekend.  The Artistry in Wood committee realized that a change of location as well as date change from traditional date of previous shows and especially competing with major holiday activities, a Renaissance Festival and county fair would have an impact on regular exhibitors’ participation as well as visitors to the show.  But “The Show Goes On” in order to make the transition to a new site and a new date for the 2017 and following years’ show dates.  In 2017 the Artistry in Wood show will be October 14 and 15 and the second weekend in October in subsequent years in order to get back to a regular schedule for location and date for the show.

Even though there was the expected decrease in attendance and exhibitors, yet in the final analysis the evaluation by visitors, exhibitors, competitors and vendors was very positive. The Roberts Centre show room is beautifully appointed with superb lighting with more than adequate and convenient free parking and with easy access right off Interstate 71 at Exit 50.  Roberts Centre is located within a fifty-mile radius from Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Visitors were very complimentary of the venue, quality of woodcarving and woodworking art on display and the added features of demonstrations, ornament carving contest, raffle of quality prizes, silent auction of donated wooden art.  Although somewhat smaller than usual, the quality of the show lived up to its reputation.  Many first time visitors joined their voices of appreciation with the long time attenders.  

The 2016 show was a bridge from what the show has become to what it will continue to become in 2017 and beyond at Roberts Centre the second weekend of October.

Highlights of the show begin with the competition. 278 woodcarving entries were judged by Janet Cordell, Wayne Barton and Al Fulford judged 278 woodcarving entries.  Woodcarving Best of Show honors were awarded as follows:

  • Steve Baker – Best of Show
  • Terry Brasher – Second Best
  • Harry Limings – Third Best

Sixty wood working entries were judged by Roger Hornung, Jim McCann and Larry Sanders who awarded Wood Working Best of Show to:

  • Barry Todd – Best of Show
  • Scott Hamilton – Second Best 
  • Richard Avram – Third Best. 

Read More→

2015 Artistry In Wood Photo Galleries

Artistry In Wood 2016 Photo Galleries

Photography by Marc Featherly

To visit the Gallery pages, click the links below, or the Galleries link in the menu bar to the left.

Artistry in Wood 2016 Carving Winners – click HERE

Artistry in Wood 2016 Woodworking Winners – click HERE



From “Ol’ Don’s” Drawing Table

OlDonFrom “Ol’ Don” Drawing Table

“Ol’ Don” Burgdorf presents Carve-a-Troll

To print the pattern, click here; the pattern will open in a new window, and should print on 8.5 x 11 paper. For Printing Hints, click here.

“Ol’ Don” Burgdorf is a carver and artist from Hohenwald, TN. Don’s feature “Doodles ‘n Notes for Carvin’ Folks” appears regularly in Chip Chats, and his patterns are now found in each issue of WOM and in past issues of Carving Magazine. Some of Don’s “Chattering Chippers” patterns can also be seen at the Woodcarver’s Porch pattern page.

Copyright 2011-2017 “Ol’ Don” Burgdorf. This Pattern may be copied for individual use; reproduction for resale is prohibited without express written permission.

From Pete LeClair – Hargrove


Pete LeClair

Pete LeClair’s Projects

Pete LeClair’s Hargrove


Pete LeClair is a well-known carver and teacher, author of three carving books and a member of the Caricature Carvers of America. You may learn more about Pete at his page on the CCA web site. Be sure to tour the rest of the CCA pages when you have a moment. In addition, you may email Pete at peteleclair AT Photos copyright 2001 – 2017 by Pete LeClair.

This pattern may be copied for individual use only; reproduction for resale is prohibited without express written permission.

Notes From The ‘Net

Notes From The ‘Net

Questions and Answers About Carving Gathered From Popular Carving Groups

 Edited by Matt Kelley


I was weeding through some old files recently and ran across this question and series of comments that appeared in the original Woodcarver List mail group back in March 2009,  Although 8 years old, the information is still quite useful.

On Taking Photos Of Carvings

Alex Bisso posed the following question:

I have a recurring problem with getting good photos of carvings.  My standard method of trial and error with the lighting, inside and outside works sometimes but not consistently.  On my last fish for example, I took one photo (after a couple of tries) using a piece of light blue foam from an old camping bedroll and the color and contrast came out very well.  However, when I tried to set up with a cloth maroon cloth background to take more photos, it looked good but my camera did not like it at all.  The photos were either too dark or too bright and glarey and the colors did not look true.  There must be a way to set up for photos that provides a good background and lighting for true color without glare.  Can anyone suggest something simple and reliable that might work.  

Byron Kinnaman was the first to reply:

Get a photo cube.  It’s a white nylon cube that diffuses the light and eliminates glare.  They usually come with 4 colored backgrounds and come in different sizes.  I bought mine on eBay.   Simply search on eBay for “photo cube”  there’s lots to choose from.   The best thing for photography since the invention of film.    

Alex responded:

Thanks Byron – I will look into the photo cubes.  I will probably still have questions about lighting.  

Joe Dillett wrote:

I think Byron’s comment about the photo cube is good. Other things that are helpful is always use a tripod. I always put something white in the photo, even if it’s in the corner that will be cropped off, so the camera has something to use it for white balance. Shadows help define depth. I like using one light source, generally from the side, to show shadows. Natural outdoor light seems to be ideal however indoors the daylight type of bulbs yield good results.    Joe Dillett

Maura Cooper added:  

As for pictures, I just bought a new Nikon and the difference in my pictures is amazing.  I also thank god for digital cameras.  I often take up to 20 pics of the same thing, changing the lighting, changing positions, changing backgrounds. Then load all the pics into my pc and pick out the best one or two.   

Ron Ramsey penned the following:

If you want a professional looking photograph on a budget, follow these instructions:
Set up a table or sawhorses against a wall in a room where you will be able to block out all of the the light or to make the room dark at night. You want to be able to control ALL of the light on your carving.  Too much light in the wrong place will cause the colors to be washed out or the carving to have too much glare in some areas.  This why it’s NOT RECOMMENDED TO TAKE PHOTOS OUTDOORS!

Go to a framing store and buy a large piece of medium grey poster board.  Bend the poster board so that has a curve at the back and is vertical against the wall at the top and horizontal against the table at the bottom.  Some thumbtacks outside the edge will help hold it in place.

Use a minimum of two lights that have swivel bases and adjustable arms.  Use CFL bulbs.  Natural light bulbs are better if you don’t plan on processing your photos on photo software. The bulbs should not be more than the equivalent of 40 watts incandescent.  The reason you need two or more lights is that you will need to direct the light from at least two directions to fill the shadows.  You will still be able to get shadows to show the detail but there wont be areas that are lost in shadow.  Cover the light bulbs with semi-transparent tracing paper taped to the lampshades.  This is to diffuse and soften the light.  Professional photographers have special lights that work essentially the same way.  Experiment with the adjustments of the lights.  Do not point the lights directly at the carving.  I sometimes point the lights at the ceiling to reflect the light off of the white sheet rock.  The ideal lighting will be much darker to your eye than what appears correct.  Sometimes it appears too dark to take a picture but don’t be fooled.  


If the photo appears too dark when you upload it, experiment with the brightness and contrast.
USE A TRIPOD!  Set the ISO at 200 or less, and the highest resolution your camera allows.  Too high of an ISO will cause grainy photos. Set the camera on manual and don’t use the flash.  Use the timed release to release the shutter so there will be no movement.  You will be taking the photo at a very slow shutter speed and any movement will cause blur.  Most digital cameras will set the exposure for you. Use a 10 second time delay to allow the camera time to settle down after you push the button.

I prefer to take under exposed photos and then work with them with photo processing software.  This allows me to enhance the brightness and contrast and adjust the colors and saturation.  The computer processing can take a bit of experience to master but it’s possible to get quality raw photos with the photography techniques I’ve outlined above.  Take lots of photos, upload them to the computer and analyze the weaknesses.  Adjust lighting angle etc. and take lots more.  You will learn what works for you and what doesn’t 

Jeff Pretz  commented:

Very Helpful for us who are learning to take pictures of our carvings!  Thank you very much Ron!          

MikeG  added: 

Great idea to write down the set up, flash setting, position (flash, camera and subject), type of lens and exposure number on the paper, so you will know what going on between frames and lot easier to figure out from trial and errors. Digital camera are lot easier than 35 mm. Write down everything, no matter what or why. Without record, you waste more time. Good Luck (Great tip by Ron)

Loren Woodard wrote: 

For my photographs I use a home made light tent.  Lynn Diel had an article in Carving Magazine a few issues back that told how to make the light tent.  My best results have come with a light blue background.  I use three lights.  My light tent is wrapped with a bed sheet.  I use a clamp-on light fixture on top with a standard incandescent bulb that shines through the top of the light tent and onto the light blue back board.  I then light the front with two light that have 13 watt daylight (florescent) bulbs in them.  I direct one light on each side of the carving.  This setup seems to work better for me than any other method that I have tried.  I too had a terrible time with light.  As a matter of fact, I had an article turned down for a carving magazine because of the pictures.  I’ve worked hard on the photographs and the above worked better for me than anything. 
By all means, don’t use a bare flash.   

Byron Kinnaman replied to a comment about natural outside light:

I agree that it’s hard to find a soft light day.  Professionals use color corrected lights and polarized filters on the lights for direct lighting. Many use umbrellas for soft non-direct light.  The lights are still color corrected.   I managed to find couple 5000°K CFL lights.  From the pictures I don’t think they’re exactly 5000°K.  I’d like to find some 5900°K light without paying an arm and leg for them.  I also use the photo cube which provides a nice soft light.  I prefer to use 3 lights.   2 at approximately 45° and one overhead slightly behind the subject, sometimes refereed to as a halo light.  With the halo light slightly behind, the subject is separated from the background and appears to float.  Many catalogs use that technique.

I’m going to disagree with part of what you say.   Natural diffused sunlight produces the nicest pictures.  Note I said disused.  The colors on a cloudy day pop.  Direct sunlight is not good nor is direct light of any kind.  With sunlight you don’t have to fuss with color temperature settings. Some CFLs have a green cast to them and can be difficult to deal with. I’ve had to mess with the color temperature setting using CFLs.

Ron Ramsey concluded:

It’s true that cloudy days can work to get great photos but you have to wait for the right day.  Where I live it’s not cloudy that often  and when it is, it’s usually raining or snowing.  With the indoor method you can take photos on any day or night.   Color casts can be a problem so it’s a good idea to get familiar with a software program that allows you to change the brightness, contrast, saturation and color hue.  The cloudy day method is a good option but I find I have
much more control over the shadows and details by using lights.  That’s why professional photographers use a studio to take photos of art.  Natural light can sometimes obliterate fine details because it is coming from all directions at once.  By using adjustable lights you can fine tune the look you want and cause the details to show up.

That’s it for this edition of NFTN.    If you see a post on one of the FB groups or Mail Listservs that you think should be preserved in NFTN, please use the form below to submit your suggestion.

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