PORTAGE | Jeff Postma’s wooden chainsaw-carved black bears can be a little on the cantankerous side.
Toting a sign reading “Go Home,” the mischievous bruin that might be displayed on a front porch could reflect the sentiments of those who seek the solace of a rural home, like many of Postma’s customers.
“But we can change his attitude,” said Postma, flipping the sign to reveal a more friendly “Welcome” greeting.
Postma was one of more than 50 exhibitors displaying wood-carved creations at the 38th annual Duneland Woodcarvers show.
Gourd, antler, realistic and chip carving were among the 47 categories of woodcarving mastery featured. Much of the artisans’ work followed a natural theme carved from soft woods. Judges bestowed awards Saturday, including best in show, best table display, and a youth award.
Sandford Pangburn and Bob Stevens, Duneland Woodcarvers board members, said nearly 800 people were at Woodland Park’s Oakwood Grand Hall to admire the work of carvers, locally and from seven other states.
“The work is all unique,” said Stevens. “Imagination is a wonderful thing.”
Darlene Henderson, the first “lady carver” in the Duneland group from its early years, won best in show with her hand-carved violin.
She's been interested in the craft since she was about 8, she said.
Henderson is also learning to play the violin – hence her inspiration to create the instrument, which has an ebony fingerboard, a spruce back and a maple scroll.
“I worked on it off and on only when I was in the mood for three years,” said Henderson. “If you don’t do it when you’re in the mood, you do a lousy job.”
Henderson said she was “shocked and impressed” by her win.
“There are so many beautiful carvings here. I wouldn’t want to be a judge,” she said.
Show visitor Ron Carrier was also impressed.
“This is outstanding,” said Carrier, of Flossmoor. “There is some very nice stuff here and a wide variety of styles.”