Craig The main wood carving competition is the reason artists come to Craig for the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous and what attracts community members out to Loudy-Simpson Park during the week leading up to the Saturday festival.
But when it comes to a higher-octane form of artsy entertainment, the Quick Carve can’t be beat.
All 11 artists carving at Whittle the Wood this year migrated with their tools to a different carving area in the early afternoon, as the main competition deadline was approaching, to participate in an hourlong carving sprint.
The Quick Carve began several years ago and quickly became one of the most popular aspects of Saturday’s proceedings, Craig Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike said.
“Once we started doing it, a lot of people said they really enjoyed it,” Pike said. “I think it’s kind of become the premier part of the carving here at Whittle the Wood.”
In the hour session, the artists took logs or trunks of varying sizes and turned them into a wide variety of impressive pieces that were immediately auctioned off. The proceeds were split between the artist and the city of Craig.
Several artists worked up to the hour deadline, scrambling to make their final cuts.
“It’s almost like an athletic event,” said Jon Parker, a carver from Boulder in his third year at Whittle the Wood. “You kind of have to train for it and learn things so that you can handle it better. It’s gotten better for me every year.”
Although it is an intense hour of work, the Quick Carve doesn’t carry with it nearly as much pressure of producing a magnificent piece. Artists can carve something they have done hundreds of times before and know how to do it quickly, or they can take a shot at carving whatever comes to mind.
“In that particular carve, I took a chance and made something really different,” Parker said about his skull with wings on either side. “I pretty much thought I wanted to try that right before the carve started, so I did it. The money from the auction isn’t make or break.”
Large crowds of residents and visitors stuck around for the competition and watched the pieces take shape. Afterward, the pieces sold for a combined $2,720 in the auction.
It was another successful and popular option for Whittle the Wood, Pike said.
“Lots of people stayed the whole time. They counted them down for the last ten seconds and gave them a round of applause at the end,” he said. “The artists always get great support from Craig.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org