Here's a question for you -- at what point does whittling become carving? Some say when the object becomes something other than just a piece of wood.
The art of carving has been around a long time and our area is full of talent. We found some of that talent in an unorganized group that just loves to carve.
That group of talented wood carvers came together kind of by accident. A couple of them got together and wondered if their were other people around who had a similar interest.
"A little over a year ago two or three of us made contact with each other and just set a date, got out and made some phone calls and networked and began to come together," carver Maurice Vanhook said.
The group has grown to around 25 carvers; men, women and children, all enjoying and learning from each other. There's a lot to learn because each one has different interests and techniques.
"Most of the things that I do are realistic. I like doing carving in relief. This is a relief piece of Daniel in the lions' den. So I like doing this," carver Michael Moore says, showing off some of his work.
"I like small animals like this latest little bear walking. I like small things, something I can just hold in my hand real easy," says Robert Smith, showing a tiny bear in his hand.
Some who are already working with wood use carving as as added technique to their work. "I used to make furniture and I got tired of square things. I went to round things and then I got tired of round things so now I carve," well-know wood turner Bill Dotten said.
Each one brings something new to their hobby and they gather whenever they can. But come September they're putting out the word to gather even more carvers together at Jesse Lee Campground in Big Stone Gap.
"We're going to have a carve-in. What's that? We'll be set up similar to what we are here today, carving, showing our carving pieces that we've carved," Vanhook added.
Except they're inviting carvers from the surrounding states of Tennessee and Kentucky to join them. They'll be showing off their talents this Saturday during Railroad Days in downtown Appalachia.
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