Posted by: Michael Keller Woodcarving | August 30, 2011

A Woodcarver’s Life Enriched

Whew… I had to rush this one to get it in by the end of the month.

This past month, I participated in two nice art festivals.  Art festivals are new to me other that being an attendee.  I have always loved wondering through festivals and seeing the creativity that exists out there.  But, participating as an artisan vendor is a whole new angle.  My sales were “so-so” and I barely covered my expenses… in fact, I don’t think I did cover them fully.

I plan on doing more art festivals and here is why.  Maybe I will make a profit but the biggest reason is my little part in enriching the lives of others and having my own life enriched by folks stopping and talking to me and commenting on my art.  Folks come in all shapes and sizes and some are carvers and some are not.  They all have varying interests and perspectives.  I teach and I learn in all those conversations.  And, then there are the special ones… kids.  When a young person comes in to my booth and oohs and awes over my carvings, I feel about as good as I can possibly feel.  I always make sure that I speak to them and encourage them to go home and do some carving.

I remember, as a kid, seeing carvings that I thought were cool and wanting to do them myself.  Of course, it took me years to achieve any amount of perfection but it sure is a fun trip through the learning process.  Still, today, my favorite carving projects are similar to the ones I did as a young person such as knives, American Indian implements, wizards, cowboy boots, Boy Scout tie slides and the like.  That is another thing… I love doing those little “doo dads” and giving them to kids.  I believe that those types of gifts are real motivators for kids and I will bet you a $20.00 bill that they keep those carvings all there life.  My little visitors are not just boys either… they include girls as well.

In Addition to the Art Festivals

Besides being an artist, I am also a bit of a rock collector… mostly in search of the elusive Ellensburg Blue Agate… and I have a pretty good “hit” ratio too.  Here in Chelan we have a little rock and mineral club that I participate in and about 2 years ago, a young family joined the club that includes two of the cutest, nicest kids on the planet.  I believe Ian is 8 or 9 and he is an aspiring woodcarver.  He had bought Chris Lubkemann’s Little Book of Whittling and began doing Chris’ projects before I met him.  After meeting Ian, he will sit with me and we, together, will work on a project.  Ian just “beams” at the end results and it is enriching for me to see Ian’s excitement and interest.  Ian certainly does not need me or anyone else for motivation… he carves on his own as well.  I have little doubt that Ian will, one day, be a most accomplished carver.  It really warms my heart to see Ian in action and experience his excitement about carving.  I feel good to be a little part of it.

The Bottom Line     

I believe sharing your art and sharing your skills enriches the life of those that you share it with.  But, more importantly, I believe that sharing also enriches your own life.  That is pretty powerful stuff.  Think about it:  Sharing your art and skills enriches your life and all those who you share it with.

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