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Monday, November 17, 2008

Reflections of Nature 2008 - Bird Head Carving Competition

Every year at the "Reflections of Nature" competition put on by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Art Association, the bird carvers in the organization get together on Sunday morning to participate in a "Quick-Carve" competition - each person gets a blank piece of wood and has to turn it into a bird head pin (a thin carving that has a pin glued on the back - so it can be pinned onto your shirt). Everyone gets two and a half hours to complete a carving, including carving and painting. At the end of the two and a half hours, the pins are gathered together and judged, awarding a first, second and third. In the afternoon they are auctioned off to raise funds for the organization.

The night before the event, at the banquet, some of those crazy bird carvers managed to convince me to participate - even though I have never carved anything in my life. Insisting I couldn't possibly - I have no supplies - they said they'd bring everything I needed, just show up and join in! And so, having a few glasses of wine in me, I agreed. Come the next morning, I was maybe second guessing this decision a little bit! But here's how it started:This is Harvey Welch, a very accomplished and respected carver in the organization, showing me the ropes! And, using his fancy "buzz-tool" none-the-less! I had so much fun - even with the stress of having only two and a half hours to not only learn, but try to perfect (you know me!) a technique I had never tried! It was a blast, and after carving with Harvey's tools, I joined Cam Merkle and borrowed his paints and brushes to start adding color to my little pin. Finishing just a little over-time (I wasn't the only one, trust me!) we all handed in our pins for judging. And....That's my little bird pin in third place! I even beat Cam! (I swear this isn't bragging!) It was such a neat experience, and I really had a great time learning from some of these amazing carvers. It makes me want to dabble in it a little more! Here's a close-up:
Later in the day, the pins were auctioned off, and my pin went for a staggering $200 - to my "number one fan" of course! It was one of the highest priced auction pieces, and the highest priced pin that sold! It was quite an honor! I'm already looking forward to next year, when I'll give this whole pin-carving thing another try!

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