Celebrating their craft

EVART — In its 15th year, the Evart Roundup continued to be successful in bringing woodcarvers and carving instructors to the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds.

The event attracted hundreds from across the country who spend their free time carving, burning and whittling wood into finely detailed works of art. This year, workshops and vending stations filled four buildings and offered a chance to share knowledge of the craft of chip carving, wood burning, power carving, painting and tool sharpening.

Floyd Rhadigan, one of the nation’s top caricature carvers, is now the roundup’s organizer and is also serving as an instructor. He said he is pleased with this year’s event and its progression.

“I think things are going very well, thanks to all my volunteers who spread the word, put up signs and are handling details during all of this. It’s allowing me to teach,” Rhadigan said.

He believes carving is not only maintaining popularity but a craft that may be growing in popularity. More women have taken up the hobby, and some younger adults and even children attended the roundup this year.

“It’s such a joy to see the excitement they’re finding,” Rhadigan added. “I think everyone is having fun and getting some work done.”

Darlene Wilborn and Doreen Gilson of Martin are learning how to carve 3-D reliefs, which combine three separate scenes into one. Both said they enjoy the process and like having instructors on hand to answer questions and give advice.

“Instructors are here to help you, but they let you do your own thing,” said Wilborn, who has been carving for about three years.

Dayle Lewis of Richmond, Ind., is one of about 60 instructors at this year’s roundup. He said he likes working with beginners and seeing the individual breakthroughs as they learn and understand the mechanics of carving. This is his 15th year at the event.

“I love coming back and seeing all of the people I’ve met before. It’s like a homecoming,” Lewis said.

Kenny Schumann and Connor Schumann, both 15, of Stanton, recently picked up the hobby.

“It’s cool. I like creating things with my hands,” said Kenny Schumann. “I really like carving animals.”

The pair said they believe they will gain valuable experience and knowledge from the roundup and its instructors.

Learning how to carve faces, ornaments, walking sticks and more was featured throughout the roundup. Carvers of all ages and backgrounds gathered together to practice their craft, share experience, tips and creations, make new friends and enjoy a time of relaxation while doing what they love most.