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Carvers ready for show

Members of the Plains Wood Carvers Club are looking to show their most recent work at the Montana State Wood Carvers Show in Missoula this month.

"I'm a little nervous since this is my first show," said Scott Johnson, one of the club's newer members. He's working on a sculpture of a vulture that stands about four inches tall. He's one of eight club members that'll be competing in this year's show, which the Montana Woodcarvers Association will have at the Missoula County Fairgrounds May 3-5. Also competing from Plains are Janet and Dave Brandon, Darrell Sorenson, Jean Nemeth, Karen and Sean Ryan, and Heather Allen. Most are competing in the novice class, depending on which category they enter their items into.

Tom Collins, president of the Plains club and the main coordinator of the show, has seen the progress in the club members, noting that three of them have moved from the novice class to intermediate. Sean Ryan has moved two classes and is now in the advanced class in scroll saw competition.

Janet Brandon has been a carver for around 20 years and took home a handful of ribbons last year. This year, she's working on a 10-inch tall relief carving of a tree with a bird nest. This is the first year for her husband, Dave, to enter a carving of a star that he made from cedar, and he's already working on a decoy duck for next year.

This is Allen's third year to compete. She received two red ribbons last year. This time, she's entering two pieces, a clover in the whimsical category and a dog in the domestic animals in the round category. She said she's not nervous, but hopes to improve from the 2023 show. " My goal is to get better each year," she said. Sorenson has been carving for more than 10 years and is entering a decorative walking stick.

"My work pales in comparison to those more accomplished carvers who I am fortunate enough to work with and learn from each week," said Johnson. "However, you have to walk before you can run, so I also see this as the beginning to better things ahead," he added.

The Plains Wood Carving Club meets every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at VFW Post 3596 in Plains. There are 40 divisions in this year's competition, including wood, bone, stone, metal, and computer assisted, and skill levels from youth to expert.

Judging for this year's show will take place Friday, May 3, starting at 7 p.m. Three out of four judges this year are Plains residents - Rita Rothlisberger, Kristen Cole and Ilene Paulsen. The show will be open to the public on Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, May 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults.


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