Event to feature three new nationally-known carvers

EVART — Fellowship and fun revolving around the art of wood working is expected to take place during this year’s Evart Roundup, which attracts wood carvers and burners from across the country.

The Evart Roundup is an event geared toward all things wood carving and provides a multitude of informational workshops for attendees who want to grow in the craft, meet fellow carvers and gather at one of the largest craft roundups in the country. It is organized by veteran carver Floyd Rhadigan and attracts hundreds of carving enthusiasts from across the U.S. and Canada.

"I'm looking forward to the event like I do every year," Rhadigan said. "It's the only time I get to see a lot of people. Old friends get together, new friends are met."

This year, the roundup will take place from Wednesday, June 3, through Saturday, June 6, at the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds. Multiple buildings will be in use for numerous workshops, tutorials, vendor sales, entertainment and more. Carvers can get their hands on magazines and books, rough-outs and kits with directions, knives and other carving necessities.

"It'll be a busy few days," Rhadigan said with a laugh. "We'll have close to 60 workshops for people to attend."

No matter what project each novice or veteran carver wants to tackle next, workshops led by experienced craftsmen and women will help teach the tricks of the trade. Tutorials for carving canes, animals of all types, human busts, fantasy creatures, Christmas ornaments and chain pulls will be available. For hobbyists looking for an alternative art, wood burning and gourd burning workshops will be hosted by a variety of experts. More than 50 workshops will be available, as more carvers branch out into teaching.

This year will feature three new veteran carvers who are nationally known and create incredibly detailed works of art, Rhadigan added.

Leah Goddard, Chris Howard and Charley Phillips will be in attendance this year, teaching workshops and skills in their own style of carving.

Goddard is skilled at animal carvings, while Howard creates lifelike busts. Both are from Gatlinburg, Tenn. and will be in attendance at the extended part of the Roundup called Floyd Fest, which takes place from June 8 through June 12 at the fairgrounds.

Howard began carving when he was young and started making a living from carving 16 years ago. He began carving animals, but then moved to faces.

"My mom is a full-blooded Indian, so I carve a lot of Indians," he said. "It's a neat thing to do. It's all about proportion and like any other thing you carve, you have to study bone and muscle structure.

"Carving is an expression of yourself. When you carve what you want to carve it's a snapshot of that moment."

Though he has attended the Evart Roundup in the past, it's been years, and he's looking forward to returning.

"We see a lot of friends there in Evart," Howard said. "Just getting together with them is a lot of fun and Floyd is like a brother to us."

Rhadigan looks forward to reuniting with the Howard and Goddard in Evart.

"They have a unique approach to carving," he added. "Leah uses all hand tools and has a unique way of burning wood and then painting it. Her work is just outstanding."

Phillips' carvings of flowers, wreaths and more can be mistaken for the real thing. She'll be traveling to Evart for the first time from Newark, Texas.

"They're very realistic," Rhadigan added. "There's a lot of depth to her carvings."

Those interested in other crafts also will have workshops in which to participate. Tea paper folding, painting on wallpaper, magic wand making and more area expected to be offered.

Admission to the roundup and the workshops are free, but supplies and tools for carving are priced accordingly. Other activities include an ice cream social, a carvers' swap and an informal carvers' music jam.

More information on the Evart Roundup can be found at evartroundup.com or by calling Floyd Rhadigan at (734) 649-3259.