Saturday, April 12, 2008

Meet the Members

William Dickey:

Bill Dickey's first carving experience was in 1980, when he and a friend attended a woodcarving class taught by Bill Slater. Carving has been a "fascination" for him ever since.
Bill and HIS wife, Mary, LIVE IN Brandon and have three children. Two SONS (Gene and Bill) also share in his carving interest. Mary is a florist and had her own shop until 15 yearS ago when she sold the business. Today, she does day-care in the Sioux falls cleveland school, but Flowers continue to be important to her as a hobby--as well as collecting her dolls. Something we might not know about bill and Mary is that They enjoy spending quite a bit of their time at the cabin they built on lake herman 30 years ago.

After working 31 years at John morrelL & Co., Bill is employed today by the Brandon valley school system. He was an active volunteer in the Brandon fire department for 33 years, but retired from that last year. To complement his interest in fire fighting, he has been collecting antique fire extinguishers.
Because of a friend's request, bill's first carving projects were owls. Bill still has the first one, a 12"-14" carving. Except for selling a few Santa carvings and contributing carvings to cancer Charities and other benefits, he keeps most of his carvings. Favored projects for bill are bark carvings, caricature carving, small ornaments, and fish. His fish carvings have done well for him in competition at the Sioux Empire fair and at the Spencer, Iowa, fair. He will spend 6-8 months on his fish projects. Expect to see another walleye at this year's fair!

Another favorite activity enjoyed by bill and his two sons during the past ten years, is joining several of their friends in weekend carving classes and seminars. We APPRECIATE THAT they also frequently attend Third Saturday meetings of SDWC, Thank you, bill, for your interest in carving and for your participation in our club activities.
Gene Dickey:
Gene is the youngest offspring of bill and Mary Dickey, and while he credits his father for getting him carving "as a kid", those annual classes and seminars at Waldorf college in Iowa with instructors like John Burke or Lloyd Meng were "great weekends."
Gene's first carving was a cross on bark. This he gave to his grandmother and received it back at her passing. Also, gene carved a tulip on bark. He likes to carve the lloyd Meng caricatures and eagle feathers with an eagle head on one end. Gene still has most of his carvings.

One thing we may not know about gene is that He collects pillsbury dough boy statues, a hobby he began as a youngster. Currently, gene is carving a "boy baker"; also Bill sr. has carved several statures for gene's collection.

Today, Gene lives in sioux falls and has been working at wells fargo for nine years. He Earned his BA in "business management" several years ago. He likes to travel, and, quite Often, it is his whole family that vacations together in places like branson. Like his parents, gene also enjoys their lakeside cabin. Gene says he and bill fish for walleye and northerns from their dock, while dad carves. "Bill and I are whittlers and dad is a carver"

All of us are aware of gene's health problems. Today he needs another kidney transplant. He will enter the hospital in April for final exam to be a "suitable recipient" for a transplant. Then a search for a living donor will happen and could take three to five years. An Aside: Gene's paper for his BA degree was on "living donorships", a well recievced thesis.

Thank you, Gene, for your company in carving and for being a great inspiration for all of us. (An interview with Bill Dickey Jr. will be coming soon!)

Friday, April 11, 2008

April - May Newsletter

The "Art" of Violin Making

The members and guests at the March meeting of the
South Dakota Woodcarvers enjoyed a special treat as Arthur Ramse gave a talk about violin making. Art retired from farming twenty-five years ago and moved to his current residence in Canton, SD. Wondering what he might do to occupy his time, he paid a visit to retired pastor John Watne, who had resumed the vocation of violin making as he had previously done in Norway.
After a second look at the "how to do" manual Pastor Watne encouraged him to read, Art decided to go ahead and give violin making a try. He learned the basics by assembling his first violin from a kit, and now he is working on his 40th instrument made almost entirely from scratch. Each step of the process, from carving the backs and fronts to bending and gluing the sides, requires painstaking precision, but one of the biggest challenges, Art says, has been learning to apply the perfect finish.
Art told some interesting stories about sales he had made and answered a lot of questions about the various techniques, but of course there were some trade secrets that he was not willing to divulge. In order to compete with the Made-in-China market and Internet sales, he might be willing to part with one his hand made violins for less than $1000.00.

Next Meeting: Saturday, April 19, (9:00 AM at the STI Ed Wood T&I Building)

We still have to decide whether or not to go ahead with plans for a booth at the SideWalk Arts Festival. Once a definite commitment to this project is made, we may have to dedicate some of our meetings to carving those ornaments and such that we intend to sell. (There are already some ornaments and carvings under way.) In the meantime, however, a little bird carving exercise has been planned. Band saw blanks for carving a profile sample of the bird heads will be available as a carving project for this meeting.