After snowy 27th annual show, Whittlers plan 28th in May ‘11

       Feeling they will get better crowds in warmer weather, the Pikes Peak Whittlers of Colorado Springs are planning to move their annual Woodcarving and Woodworking Show to May next year.

This whittled and painted scene by Steve Gurnett (titled "Whassup!! Hackneys with Attitude") was the Carvers Choice (one of several awards given out) at the Pikes Peak Whittlers' Woodcarving Show March 27-28.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The club's 27th annual event last weekend inside the big hall at the Colorado Springs Shrine Club had about 100 entrants and attracted close to 1,000 attendees - a number slightly below what they've had in the past, according to Donna Nelson, who was involved in the event planning. The recent show also conflicted with spring break, and this time of the year “we always seem to get snow,” she lamented.
       Attendance issues aside, the whittling participants seemed to be enjoying themselves at this year's event. Often working on projects, they sat at tables displaying items they'd made, happy to talk to passersby.
       David Huffine's table was mainly devoted to what are commonly called “rough-outs,” in which wood figures have been pre-shaped, making it possible for beginning whittlers to put on whatever final details they desire and then paint them. These are particularly useful in teaching Boy Scouts the art of whittling, explained Huffine, a Scout volunteer himself, who has enjoyed the hobby since age 6. “They can get a lot accomplished in a short period of time,” he said.
       Pete Peterson, a former teacher's assistant in Harrison Distrct 2, specializes in “found wood” for his projects. One that he had on display reflected his vision of a gnome's house, carved out of tree bark. No one can say it's wrong because “no one can tell you what a gnome house looks like,” he laughed.
       The winner of the Carver's Choice award at the event was Steve Gurnett, who was seen on Sunday giving a demonstration on whittling a piece of wood to look like a golf ball (with decorations). He had a chuckle because the way the demo was announced over a loudspeaker, it sounded as if he would be actually carving on a golf ball.
       A visiting whittler, one of several from outside Colorado, was Herman Sporleder of Manitowoc, Wisc., who had come here to visit family. When he heard about the Pikes Peak Whittlers event, “I thought I'd drop by here,” he said.
       Donna Nelson said carving may seem “almost extinct” to some people, but “it's not.” Increasing numbers of women also are taking up the hobby, she said. And, her husband Jon “says it's the most relaxing thing he's done.” The only catch is that he eventually made a business out of it (Jon Nelson Woodcarving), so he's not quite as relaxed as he was, she conceded with a smile.

Westside Pioneer article