The ancient craft of woodcarving is experiencing a renaissance on the Kenai Peninsula, thanks to carvers and mentors like Del Otter of Sterling.
"I got interested in carving when I lived in Anchorage. Then when I moved down here to the Peninsula they didn't have a carvers club, so I started one and we've been meeting at the Sterling Senior Center the first and third Saturday of every month," Otter recently told the Soldotna Rotary Club.
There are no membership fees and no experience is required. "There is only a minimal cost for the cut outs and some materials, and we teach you how to do it," said Otter. The club has from 12 20 people come out for the meetings and welcomes beginners as well as master carvers, "We have beginners from 12 years old up to some carvers in their eighties. I require that the younger ones have a parent or guardian be there," added Otter. Some of the most popular items for carving are fish and Alaskan animals.
Twelve year old Gene Hall, a home schooler from Sterling entered a bas wood boot that he carved with the club at the Fur Rondy carving competition in Anchorage recently and was awarded first place in the Junior Division. "
A boot is fun to do and easier when it is bigger. I use palm tools and have done a face in cotton wood bark and I did a stylized angel that really didn't like me too well," said Hall, who has friends that are also learning to carve. According to Del Otter, it's a great winter hobby that generally gives way to fishing and hunting in the summer. For more information on the Kenai Peninsula Wood Carvers Club in Sterling, call Del Otter at 260-3324.
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