Author Archive for Matt Kelley

January-February 2019 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine

Detail from Shed Perch by Clark Weaver — Grin­nell, IA

2018 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress

1st in Group F — Birds

1st in Class 603 — Song­bird — real­is­tic, paint­ed

Group F — Class 603 — 1st Place Prize — Tom and Lan­ny Simp­son


From the Edi­tor -

With this issue we begin the 23rd year of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine.  WOM is, as far as we know, the longest run­ning online mag­a­zine for and by wood­carvers.  It has been and will remain free to all.   Like any oth­er pub­li­ca­tion, we can always use help with arti­cle ideas, show reports and pho­tos, etc.   Because WOM is a free mag­a­zine, there is not much in the way of mon­e­tary com­pen­sa­tion, but there is great sat­is­fac­tion is spread­ing the word about our art and craft.  

In this issue:

  • 2018 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress Pho­to Gal­leries
  • Pete LeClair: Doyle Cousin #1
  • Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table
  • Notes From The NetGet­ting Moti­vat­ed To Carve
  • Update to Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On

Com­ing up in future issues:

  • 2018 CCA Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion Win­ners Gallery
  • 2018 Artistry in Wood Win­ners Gallery


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;  just click any of the links in the right menu bar.



Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


International Woodcarvers Congress 2018 Winner Galleries

International Woodcarvers Congress 2018 — Best of Show 

1st in Group B — Relief Carv­ing

1st in Class 202 — Scene oth­er than nature: Build­ings, Bridges, etc.

Detail of Punch & Judy  by Debra Bergum — Lake­view, AR

As always, assem­bling the pho­to gallery for the Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carv­er Con­gress Win­ners is the great­est amount of work of any sin­gle arti­cle in WOM.  The 2018 IWC Gallery was no excep­tion.   In the win­ner gal­leries you’ll find 130 of pho­tog­ra­ph­er Marc Feath­er­ly’s excel­lent stu­dio pho­tos of the win­ners at IWC 2018, includ­ing more pho­tos of the Best of Show win­ner.

In addi­tion to the gallery of the prize-win­ning carv­ings, you’ll also find Marc’s can­did pho­tos from the Class­es, Award Ban­quet, the Judges, and oth­er pho­tos around and about dur­ing Con­gress.

As always, the thumb­nail pho­tos in the winner’s gallery are click­able, and when clicked will take you to much larg­er ver­sions of these great carv­ings.  (Much larg­er then you’ll see in any paper pub­li­ca­tion.)  The large pho­tos will afford you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to real­ly look at the win­ners in detail.

To vis­it the gal­leries, in the menu bar above click on WOM, then on The Gal­leries menu item, or click HERE.   Enjoy!

Notes From The ‘Net

Notes From The ‘Net

Ques­tions and Answers About Carv­ing Gath­ered From Pop­u­lar Carv­ing Groups

 Edit­ed by Matt Kel­ley

Wel­come carv­ing friends to NFTN, ver­sion 2.0.   In this occa­sion­al series we will gath­er the best ques­tions, answers and com­ments from the more active Face­book and mail list carv­ing groups, such as the Wood­carv­er List, Wood­carv­ing 101 — The Joy of Wood­carv­ing, and the Inter­na­tion­al Fish Carvers & Painters Asso­ci­a­tion, and present them here.

Enjoy, and Carve On!

I dug deep into the archives for this par­tic­u­lar NFTN — this con­ver­sa­tion occurred almost ten years ago, on the orig­i­nal email-based ver­sion of the Wood­carv­er List.  The ques­tion and com­ments are still valid almost 10 years lat­er.  Edi­tor


On Get­ting Moti­vat­ed To Carve

This con­ver­sa­tion start­ed with Alex Bis­so not­ing:

I seem to be at a carv­ing stand­still.  I have not fin­ished a carv­ing since ear­ly last fall when I com­plet­ed a brown trout start­ed ear­li­er last year.  I just can’t seem to get moti­vat­ed enough to either start some­thing new or com­plete some start­ed projects that I told myself I would get done this year.  Can any­one tell me what has worked to get them moti­vat­ed to get back to carv­ing after a dry spell?   

Wood­butch­er Jan  replied:

Get your­self a carv­ing­body Alex.  Invite a carv­er to come and join you at your place one after­noon ‚morn­ing or evening every week and stick to it I had a dry spell last sum­mer for a few months and than when my class­es start­ed I could not wait to get at it again.
Done 5 fair size relief carv­ings this win­ter so far.       

To which Alex respond­ed:  A carv­ing­body: would prob­a­bly be very help­ful.  How­ev­er, I think I am stuck with the body I have!   

And of course Jan had to have the last word:  SMART ALEX!!!!!!!!! I mean Carv­ing bud­dy!  And if THAT won ‘t work COME OVA  HERE and I“LL get you all fired up for carv’n!        

Joe Dil­lett remarked:  I can’t remem­ber my last dry spell but there are times I just need to back away from my carv­ing and pick up a piece of wood to make chips with­out con­cern about what it will become. Just enjoy­ing the smell, sound and feel of a sharp chis­el slic­ing through wood is stim­u­lat­ing. Most often after a few cuts the block decides what it wants to become so I just help it along its jour­ney.

One book I just read, Draw­ing From With­in says that some of the best pic­tures are cre­at­ed when we are not try­ing to cre­ate a pic­ture but just let our mind loose to draw. Maybe some of that is true for carv­ing too?

Mau­ra Coop­er added:  Hi Alex,  I can sym­pa­thize with your carv­ing slump. There was a time when I was almost obses­sive with my carv­ing.  Now I give thanks for com­mis­sions, seems noth­ing moti­vates like mon­ey some­times. When I have real­ly been stalled, there are three things I found would get me back into it.  One was to clean my shop. Seems I just can’t stand it when its just too orga­nized. Anoth­er was to sharp­en and/or hone all of my chis­els. Theres just some­thing about a won­der­ful­ly sharp tool that begs to be used. But the best moti­va­tor that I ever found was to help anoth­er carv­er along.  Per­haps theres a young­ster around who would like a few lessons or a bunch of seniors who you could vol­un­teer to teach a small class for.    

To which Jeff Pretz replied:  Thanks for the ideas Mau­ra, help­ing oth­ers seems to be a great way to do a lot of revi­tal­iza­tion!   

Bing described his expe­ri­ence after return­ing from an over­seas deploy­ment:  Alex I had the same issue once I came back from Kan­da­har Afghanistan it had been by that time almost a year since I had carved any major projects, still trapped in the war. But I went for a walk one day into the Cana­di­an Par­lia­ment build­ings and found myself in sur­round­ed by out­stand­ing carv­ings of all shapes and sizes. When I walked out I was ready to launch out and carve. Now I don’t have enough time in the day to do any­thing but carve.   Bot­tom line is go to a muse­um or some where’s you can wit­ness oth­er carvers or carv­ings could be just as sim­ple as pick­ing up a new carv­ing mag.             

Joe Dil­lett:  Excel­lent sug­ges­tions Bing, espe­cial­ly going to a muse­um. That’s got to inspire any­one.

Loren Woodard com­ment­ed:  As far as get­ting your carv­ing mojo work­ing, good luck.  I think we all go through those time.  I went through one not long ago.  I love car­i­ca­ture carv­ing.  I got out some books on car­i­ca­ture carv­ing and read them thor­ough­ly from cov­er to cov­er, dis­cov­ered a cou­ple of new things I want­ed to try and yahoo, I’m carv­ing once again.  Good luck and get back to carv­ing as soon as you can. You’re too good not to get back on it soon.      

Final­ly, Sandie Burgdorf added:  For­get about all of the old projects that you think you should be fin­ish­ing. Pick a new project that you have been think­ing about but put off because you thought you should do the old ones first.   If you pick some­thing you real­ly want to do, you will actu­al­ly start and work on it. Chal­lenge your­self but make sure it’s some­thing you WANT to do.

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.

NFTN Suggestions

Sug­ges­tions for NFTN
  • Please enter your name
  • Please enter the sub­mis­sion date.
  • Please enter your email address — this is a required field
  • Please enter your sug­ges­tion for inclu­sion in Notes From The Net. Include the date of the post, the name of the per­son who start­ed the dis­cus­sion, names of those who pro­vide the best respons­es. It is impor­tant that you include the NAME of the Face­book group or mail list­serv.. Your email address will only be used to clar­i­fy your sug­ges­tion, if need­ed. Thanks for your sug­ges­tion.

November-September 2018 WOM


Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine

Santa’s Secret List, by Bob Her­shey

First in San­ta and 2nd Best of Show, 2018 CCA Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion  and

First Place San­ta at 2018 Day­ton Artistry In Wood


From the Edi­tor -

And once again we arrive at the end of anoth­er year.  Look­ing back on the past twelve months, we see a time that was a rough pas­sage for many peo­ple.  Hope­ful­ly you have dis­cov­ered, like me, that spend­ing time with a block of wood and tools in your hand can be a wel­come break from the stress of dif­fi­cult times and loss.  When you become absorbed in mak­ing chips to reveal the art with­in the wood, dai­ly life retreats a bit, leav­ing your mind free to con­tem­plate the joys of the past and the hope for the future.  

My thanks to those who offered con­do­lences and words of com­fort after the death of my wife in July; your kind­ness once again demon­strates that we are indeed a fam­i­ly of wood­carvers.   As you spend time with your fam­i­ly and friends this Christ­mas sea­son, hold them close and enjoy the moment, for time is often fleet­ing.

Mer­ry Christ­mas and Hap­py Hol­i­days to you all as we look for­ward to a peace­ful New Year. 

In this issue:

  • 2018 San­ta & Friends Pho­to Gal­leries
  • Pete LeClair: Cliffy Cousin #2
  • An Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Christ­mas Angel
  • Update to Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On

Com­ing up in future issues:

  • 2018 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress Pho­to Gal­leries
  • 2018 CCA Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion Win­ners Gallery
  • 2018 Artistry in Wood Win­ners Gallery


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;  just click any of the links in the right menu bar.



Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


2018 Santa And Friends Gallery


Welcome to the 2018 Santa And Friends Photo Gallery.   

This is the sev­en­teenth annu­al San­ta Gallery, and as always,  I am impressed by the vari­ety and qual­i­ty of the carv­ings includ­ed.  Tip ‘o the hat to all those who sub­mit­ted carv­ings, and a reminder for every­one else to plan on par­tic­i­pat­ing in the gallery in 2019.  To vis­it the 2018 Gallery click HERE, or click on WOM in the menu above, then click on WOM Gal­leries.

Big Nose San­ta by Tim Berry

Thanks to Tim Berry for use of his San­ta Carv­ings sign.


September-October 2018 WOM


Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine


Cather­ine Ann Kel­ley


From the Edi­tor -

This issue of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine is ded­i­cat­ed to the mem­o­ry of Cather­ine Ann Kel­ley, my wife of over 46 years.  As many of you know, Cathy passed away in ear­ly July this year at the end of a near­ly six year bat­tle with stage 4 duo­de­nal can­cer.  This is a very rare can­cer of the part of the intes­tine just past the stom­ach, and is typ­i­cal­ly not dis­cov­ered until well advanced.  Because it is so rare, there is no spe­cif­ic chemo pro­to­col for this can­cer; as a result, Cathy endured four dif­fer­ent kinds of bow­el can­cer chemo.  Each pro­to­col would hold the can­cer at bay for a while, but her can­cer was relent­less.  We were, none the less, blessed with far more time then we have any rea­son­able right to expect.  

Cathy was deter­mined that ill­ness would not define her life, and she was able to spend con­sid­er­able time with our young grand­chil­dren, watch our eldest son mar­ry, enjoy four win­ters in Flori­da, and gen­er­al­ly live a com­fort­able life, save for the final two years.  Cathy often wore a name­plate neck­lace engraved with ENDURANCE.  She was inspired in part by the incred­i­ble sto­ry of Ernest Shack­le­ton and the crew of his ship Endurance, who sur­vived ten months on polar ice when their ship was trapped, then lat­er crushed by ice floes.  Ulti­mate­ly the entire crew was res­cued with­out loss of life; the tale of their sur­vival is a great sto­ry and worth a read (or lis­ten).  The Shack­le­ton fam­i­ly mot­to was By Endurance We Con­quer.  The ver­sion we adopt­ed to hon­or Cathy is

By Endurance We Are Vic­tors


In this issue:

  • 2017 Day­ton Artistry In Wood Win­ners Pho­to Gal­leries
  • 2017 Day­ton Artistry In Wood Show Report
  • San­ta and Friends Gallery 2018 Call For Pho­tos
  • Pete LeClair: San­ta
  • An Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table Hat Trick: Shoe­horn, Wolf Stop­per, Christ­mas Tree Orna­ment
  • 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;  just click any of the links in the right menu bar.



Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


2017 Artistry In Wood Photo Galleries

Artistry In Wood 2017 Photo Galleries

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Carl Saathoff

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

Artistry in Wood 2017 Carv­ing Win­ners — click HERE

Artistry in Wood 2017 Wood­work­ing Win­ners - click HERE



Call for Photos: Santa Gallery ’18


San­ta Carv­ing sign by Tim Berry

The Annu­al San­ta & Friends Gallery will once again grace the pages of November/December issue of WOM. You are invit­ed to sub­mit pho­tos of favorite San­tas, Mrs Claus, elves, snow peo­ple, or oth­er sea­son­al item you’ve carved in the last 24 months.

Sub­mis­sions should be sent to womed­i­torATcom­castDOTnet; alter­nate­ly, you may send a link to a gallery such as Flickr that stores files at their orig­i­nal size.  Please sub­mit large, high qual­i­ty pho­tos, prefer­ably shot against a light or neu­tral back­ground.  Note that images on Face­book are degrad­ed, so I pre­fer to work from a copy of the orig­i­nal pho­to.

Please include the fol­low­ing infor­ma­tion with your high qual­i­ty pho­tos:

Title of Carv­ing

Size (approx)



About the design:

  • From your own design?
  • Carved in a class led by …
  • Inspired by a design by …
  • From a rough out by …
  • From a pat­tern by …
  • Etc …

 Sub­mis­sions due no lat­er than Novem­ber 15


Ques­tions, queries, posers? Send email to womed­i­torATcom­castDOTnet

March-April 2018 WOM


Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine

1st in Group Human, CCA 2017 Nation­al Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion

Pirate Pete Pros­thet­ics

Dwayne Gos­nell — Hick­o­ry, NC

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

Wel­come to the sec­ond issue of Year 22 for Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine.  It’s hard to believe that win­ter may final­ly be over here in North Amer­i­ca, but we are keep­ing our fin­gers crossed.  Fair weath­er, of course, means out­door chores and recre­ation that may pull you away from carv­ing; hope­ful­ly you will ind inspi­ra­tion with­in these pages to keep you carv­ing.

In the next issue of WOM our pho­to gallery will fea­ture  2017 Artistry in Wood.  

In this issue:

  • CCA 2017 Nation­al Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion Win­ners Pho­to Gal­leries
  • Find­ing and Col­lect­ing Cot­ton­wood Bark Revis­it­ed
  • Pete LeClair: Ollie
  • Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Love Spoon
  • 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;  just click any of the links in the right menu bar.



Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


CCA 2017 National Caricature Carving Competition

Yarr By Mike Pounders — N. Lit­tle Rock, AR

1st Place, Bust — 2017 CCA Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion

Each year in August the Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­ca spon­sor the Nation­al Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion,  Judg­ing takes place at the home of the East­ern Wood­land Carvers Club in Con­verse IN. We are pleased to once again present a pho­to gallery of the Com­pe­ti­tion win­ners.  As always, pho­to gal­leries in WOM include large scale pho­tos of the win­ners so that you can get a close-up view of the work.

To view the 2017 win­ners click HERE or click the WOM menu item to go the the Gal­leries page.

The 2018 Nation­al Com­pe­ti­tion will occur in Con­verse in late August, 2018.  Cash prizes are giv­en to the three Best of Show win­ners, as well as first and sec­ond place in each group.   For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the CCA home page HERE.