Carving can be enjoyed at any age

Lifelike birds sit on display at the 28th annual Kitsap  Woodcarvers Show. The juried show hosted 130 different woodcarvings for judging and public viewing. - Seraine Page
Lifelike birds sit on display at the 28th annual Kitsap Woodcarvers Show. The juried show hosted 130 different woodcarvings for judging and public viewing.
— image credit: Seraine Page

Eighteen years ago Ernie Travelstead fell in love with woodcarving. His favorite pieces to create include birds and fish, but he’s also been known to carve an ornate coffee table or two.

“I retired. Then I went to a woodcarver show, and I went and bought the tools that same day,” said Travelstead, now 75.

Last Saturday, he had won a few ribbons for his work, and he also brought items to sell as well.

“I don’t give a squat about the ribbons,” he said. “It’s just nice to be recognized.”

If there’s one particular element that was showcased quite well at the Kitsap County Woodcarvers 28th annual juried show, it was that any one of any age can start woodcarving as a hobby.

The show was hosted and open free of charge to the public last weekend at the West Sound Improvement Club. The event was put on by the Kitsap County Woodcarvers, a club of dedicated woodworkers who love the art. Once a year the group holds the event as a fundraiser, and as an opportunity for local woodcarvers to showcase their best work in the show.

Throughout the weekend, plenty of accolades and admiring glances were bestowed upon the 130 pieces displayed for the judges and public. Carvers brought their best pieces forward, including hand carved bowls, delicate flowers, birds and other pieces so fragile that signs warned visitors, “Please do not touch.”

Carvers could enter pieces into six different sections, which all had individuals categories for various carving types, allowing judges to pass out hundreds of ribbons. Entries were accepted for woodworking of all types, including scroll-saw work, driftwood, pyrography, turning and intarsia. Both adults and children were encouraged to enter, and the youngest participant was 9 years old.

Between admiring art and chatting with artists, attendees could also enter a raffle for various woodworking tools, purchase wood and tools from the wood shop, or watch carvers at work chipping away at wood.

While the annual show is a way for artists to showcase their work, it also serves as a recruitment tool for the Kitsap County Woodcarvers. Three years ago, Dawn Barnett walked into the annual show to see what it was all about. What she saw made her fall in love, she said. Barnett saw the wood-burned pieces and knew pyrography -- as it is typically called -- was what she was meant to do in her spare time. Her husband also got into woodworking as well, and he often helps cut Barnett’s wood pieces that she wants to burn on.

“I go to the fire pile and my husband cuts my rounds,” she said, holding up a small, rounded piece of wood as small as a teacup saucer. “I’m stealing our heat,” she joked.

The Kitsap Woodcarvers have a membership of 56, and at least 22 are female members, Campbell said.

As of Saturday afternoon, the club had recruited three new members and had hopes of more signing up through Sunday. After watching hundreds of guests come through, most of the club’s members thought the show to be a success, despite the rainy weather.

“We got more entries than we expected, which is good,”  said Mark Campbell, Kitsap County Woodcarvers show chairman. “We got a lot of variety. It’s just incredible the talent that goes into it.”


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