By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 23, 2013 1:16PM
Woodcarver Don Schroeder of Valparaiso works on a carving during the 37th Annual Duneland Woodcarvers Show at Woodland Park in Portage on April 13, 2003. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media
The Duneland Woodcarvers meet from 9 to 11 a.m. each Tuesday in the Blue Spruce Room at Woodland Park, 2100 Willowcreek Road, Portage. For more information, go to their website, www.dunelandwoodcarvers.com.
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:07AM
George Sarver got into woodcarving as a kid but eventually gave it up when other interests, like football, took over.
“I got back into carving when my son was in scouting. I started with a 3-inch buck knife,” said Sarver, of Wanatah. “I couldn’t carve an eye to save my life.”
After a lot of carvings featuring closed eyes, he took a class on chip carving and eventually joined the Duneland Woodcarvers when he saw members give a demonstration at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
These days — in addition to carving eyes — Sarver makes intricately carved boxes, which he exhibited at the 37th annual Duneland Woodcarvers show, held April 13 and 14 at Woodland Park.
The juried event featured about 80 exhibitors, said Kathleen Hays, the first woman to serve as the club’s president, adding about 135 people applied for a spot in the show. She expected about 800 people to check out the show over the course of the weekend.
Hays got involved with the woodcarvers 36 years ago. She was doing plaster work painting at the time.
“I wanted something challenging, so I taught myself to carve. I was doing relief and now I’m doing chip carving,” she said.
This year, exhibitors came from six Midwest states. That included Cheryl Gustafson, who came from outside of Dayton, Ohio, to exhibit her inlaid boxes, jewelry and other goods. She came to the show last year, too.
“I was just looking for a new area to display my things because everyone in my area knows who I am,” Gustafson said, adding the Portage show was the furthest she’d traveled for an exhibit.
Gustafson, who had made a lot of country crafts and could use a scroll saw, started doing inlay work 11 years ago.
“I wanted a coffee table because I couldn’t find one I liked,” she said, adding her husband made the base and her friends suggested she enter the table in a show, which she did. “It just went from there.”