Carv­ing takes flight

Artists flock to whit­tle life into wooden birds in Irishtown

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY DE­SIREE AN­STEY news­room@jour­nal­pi­oneer.com

Saw­dust floats to the ground as carvers perched around a ta­ble trans­form dead stumps of wood into in­tri­cate life-like ducks.

Clarence Gal­lant, a world­class carver, in­structs the mem­bers of the Prince County Wood­carvers Guild amid the gen­tle hum of sand­ing that echoes out the room and down the hall of the Irishtown Road lo­ca­tion.

“We use (small) power tools in­stead of knives, and we do very in­tri­cate de­tails,” ex­plained Gal­lant, who com­pleted his first wooden bird carv­ing in 1989. “We are look­ing for com­plete re­al­ism of the bird,” he added.

With the pre­ci­sion of a sur­geon’s hands, life is breathed into the stumps as fine feathers, tilt of a head, beak and eyes, take shape while us­ing draw­ings with mea­sure­ments as a guide­line.

“Right now our club is con­cen­trat­ing on carv­ing with de­tail,” said Gal­lant. “So ev­ery feather has all its quills and in­di­vid­ual bar­bules carved into it. Habi­tat is an­other thing that is in­cor­po­rated.” Bren­don Camp­bell, now in his fifth year of carv­ing with the Club that meets weekly on Wed­nes­day even­ings at East Prince Ca­reer and Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre, show­cased a com­pleted grouse he whit­tled ear­lier in the year.

“It came in first place for its cat­e­gory in the Novice Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion and Show in Strat­ford,” he said. Crea­tures carved in wood, in­tri­cately de­tailed, painted and pol­ished, can take sev­eral months to com­plete. Many mem­bers of the club en­ter their pieces – based on their skill level – in ei­ther novice, in­ter­me­di­ate, open or master cat­e­gories in the com­pe­ti­tion. There are three com­pe­ti­tions in the Mar­itimes – one in Strat­ford, and the oth­ers in Halifax and St. An­drews, N.B.

“We have to go for the re­al­ism to make sure the for­ma­tion of the duck is very sim­i­lar to what is out there in the wild be­cause that’s the judg­ing cri­te­ria,” added Gal­lant, who was giv­ing con­struc­tive feed­back to the 12 par­tic­i­pants carv­ing. On Sun­day, Dec. 3, the Prince County Wood­carvers Guild will show­case their wooden cre­ations at the Eptek Art and Cul­ture Cen­tre in Summerside. More than 80 pieces of carved wooden art will be on dis­play for the of­fi­cial open­ing of the bird carvers’ ex­hibit at 2 p.m.

DE­SIREE AN­STEY/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Clarence Gal­lant in­structs Brian MacIn­nis on how to carve a wooden duck.

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