BY:  SHARON SIKES

January - We welcomed new officers and committee chairs.  Incoming VP Marcy Samat, let us know that we were going to have a a busy year - that proved to be an understatement as she announced plans for classes, workshops, activities and a big club project!  The Joe Veracka Awards for 2010 were presented to Dave Dupler and Maureen Laxpati for their outstanding service and commitment to carving.  The club took a giant technological leap forward by embracing a (mostly) emailed newsletter.  This saved the club a TON of cash and put off raising our dues !  Your enthusiasm and cooperation were greatly appreciated!!  Frank announced that he would return to the original format of 1st mtg. being the business mtg. and 2nd will be more social with carving and raffle, show and tell at both.  (this is, necessarily, fluid and depends on what's going on at the moment! - the intent will continue in 2012. 

February - We had the first in-house Flea Market and there was serious trading and some very happy new owners of tools, carvings, books andwood!  We started putting together the Spring show at Cantigny and planning our club project, we voted and finallly decided on "Pirates of the Seven Seas."  Intrepid club members, Orlan and Sandy Jennings, Shelly Weiser and Sharon Bechtold organized an outstanding show: "Winter Wood Wonders," held at Pheasant Run.  All of the profit went to "Wounded Warriors" - a good deed and a great diversion from shoveling snow!  Well done!

March- Kurt and Linda Curtis held a 3 day class carving a bobcat - it was a difficult project for beginners but having 2 instructors leveled the field!  Everyone worked hard, laughed a lot and produced wonderful carvings!  Maureen Laxpati held a bark carving in-house class - it was standing room only and produced so many charming bark houses that Marcy created a Bark Village to be displayed at our Cantigny show.

April - John Henderson held an in-house class on soapstone carving.  We made a big mess, had a great time and produced some VERY respectable stone animals.  Do it again John!  Our AIW spring show at Cantigny was hugely successful - they gave us some splendid publicity and the gate was 2,000+!  Also in April, JR Cadawas, John Susin, Jerry Stockbridge and Mike Trezek brought home SEVENTEEN ribbons from the Duneland Woodcarvers Show in Portage, IN!

May - Gene Gregory won our bark carving contest with a meticulous little cottage.  Mike Spilotro held a class on hand sharpening knives and gouges.  It seems that none of us can ever learn too much about sharpening - Mike was extremely patient and handled dozens of questions and lots of "come see if I did this right" - Also in  May, Mike Trezek taught a class on finishing - he stressed that our carvings are our legacy and, as such, they deserve our attention to the tiniest fuzzy and the best finish we can give (no wonder he keeps bringing home those ribbons!)  we gained a new respect for aerosol lacquer!

June - Don Chasteen taught us the steps to carving an eye.  We left with our own "eye stick" to use for reference - eyes and faces are difficult to learn techniques - working with our natural mentor, Don, made it seem simple by reducing it to a series of steps.  It would be great to do noses, mouths, hands...anyone?    June also had the International Woodcarvers Congress in Maquoketa, IA - several of our members attended and took classes from cream of the crop professional carvers.  Our carvers garnered a total of more than 40 ribbons.

July - Sadly, Floyd Rhadigan had to cancel the 3 day class we had scheduled.  Everyone who had registered was deeply disappointed and we REALLY hope to re-schedule him soom!!  We did, however, talk Mike Spilotro into an encore sharpening class - this time, focusing on V-tools and veiners.  Sharom Bechtold held an in-house class, woodburning a small project and teaching us some basic techniques that made us all look like pros!

August- Gene Gregory held an in-house class on carving a Santa head ornament.  Plus, we got a very stern refresher course in carving safety.  It's good to be reminded that small, regular precautions pay off in a big way!  Morton Arboretum invited our club to show our stuff at "Nature Unframed".  DuPage County Fair offered us tables for our club.  We had to cancel the relief carving  we had scheduled with John Engler - several factors were involved but the insurmountable problem was that we couldn't use the Deergrove facility and we were unable to move the class to another location.

September - Rick and Patricia Breslich hosted our club picnic at their lovely home - not so much a picnic as a garden party!  We had our 2nd. club flea market and the learning curve was visible!  More sellers brought more to sell and more buyers brought more money to spend!  In our eternal quest to build and publicize woodcarving and our club, John Henderson arranged for the club to have a table at Wolff's Flea Market.  Somewhere around this time, we had the Green Fair at Cantigny with highly entertaining anecdotes about the incredible levitating tent!

October-  Time started moving faster and faster!  We had Pumpkin Carving with the Pijuts and Octoberfest at the Grove on the same weekend.  The big event of the year is our Artistry in Wood show and it was a rip-roaring success in many ways.  We had a full house with  many new exhibitors.  Our club members turned out in force to volunteer from start to finish!  We had 2 club project tables - our Bark Village and the inaugural showing of Pirates of the Seven Seas were both big hits.  Mike Trezek was featured artist and made a huge first impression when our visitors came through the doors!  Sadly, our incredible show chairman of the past six years, Terri Pijut;, is retiring from the job and the position remains wide open!  And, on the same note, the nominating committee re-nominated the existing officers to serve another term.

November -  Sharon Bechtold was engaged to teach a 3-day class.  Sharon is one of the busiest artists we know - she practices her own art, takes commissions, teaches and writes for "Chip Chats"and other magazines.  Her class was packed and we had a fabulous time - each of us chose our own project and we alternated between Sharon's demonstrations of techniques and individual instruction.  Also in November, we were invited to return to the Lake Zurich Library for their annual event - we had 17 member exhibitors and a few prostective new members!  Our thanks to Gene Gregory for arranging this!

December -  The nominating committee counted the votes and announced that the slate of club officers was elected by majority votes.  Walter reported that ornament sales were well over $2,000 and the club voted to round it up and donate $3,000 to Shriners Hospital.  Well done, carvers!  The 2011 Veracka awards were presented to Sharon Sikes and Mark Pfeiffer - both were surprised and delighted.  Mark plans to use his to attend Sharon Bechtold's next professional class and Sharon is still holding out hope that we can re-schedule Floyd Rhadigan!  Our Christmas party was full of tons of delicious food and lots of conversation and laughter.  Unfortunately, most of the folks who planned to enter John Susin's Santa Carving Contest were unable to finish their Santas.  John awarded 1st place to Frank Samat, 2nd to Judy Kavathas and Honorable Mention to Mark Pfeiffer.  It was nice ot end our year with great food and wonderful friends.







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