Jack is one of the longest active members of the Calgary Carvers Social Club. At the time he first joined the carving club it was then called the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society. Back then, Jack became actively involved carving full sized birds: ducks, loons as well as a number of songbirds. There was a good number of active carvers then who are still in the club today: Dale Cook and Bill Rae.
Jack's first carving success was a wood duck, that he said was not only a challenge to carve, but in his words 'a real nightmare to paint' , mainly because of the intricacies involved painting feathers to achieve a representative likeness and also show iridescence.
He first got involved with the club back in 1986, and maintained affiliation as the club experienced quite a number of changes, in organization, and purpose, and which eventually evolved to become our present Calgary Carvers Club.
Jack doesn't carve wood ducks today. His present interests are character carving, animals, and human figurines, as well as carving in softer mediums like bark. He is still very active and is a big booster, promoting our club to prospective members. He really enjoys the hours spent each Tuesday evening where we now meet at Ogden House.
Jerry Murphy had not always wanted to be a carver, but he encountered a number of circumstances in his life that led him to be where he is today as a member of the Calgary Carvers Club. When he was younger, his father who did not carve, but had owned a number of carving tools, drew a horse trotting on a flat board, challenged Jerry to carve the horse. Jerry took up the challenge, carving the horse in relief, and it turned out well for him. For a while there was a break in his carving activity until another incident occurred. This time, he happened upon a carving exhibit at the Sportsmen's show at the Stampede grounds, where members of the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society were exhibiting a number of decoys that had been locally carved by this club. Jerry became intrigued by seeing these carvings and proceeded to join the club. The member that he met was Ken Sheets, and Jerry has been in continuous contact with him since then.
At the time when Jerry joined the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society, it was somewhat frowned upon to attempt other objects to carve. The main impetus of the club was to prepare bird carvings and to enter them in exhibitions and various contests. In those days nearly 28 out of 30 attendees were carving full sized decoys. Jerry carved some miniature decoys, but was more interested in carving in other areas. When reorganization occurred and the club evolved into the Calgary Carvers Club, all sorts of carving were quite acceptable, and this suited Jerry very well. He has maintained this membership all long, and has felt quite at home as a member of our club. Presently he is carving canes, walking sticks and caricatures. He is willing to try most anything for a new challenge.
He feels the transition to our present club has really suited his as well as other people purposes to be in the carving club, because there is never any pressure, and it is always a relaxed atmosphere. He really likes the present surroundings at Ogden house because there is always someone working on a new and different project.
He does research lots of textbooks about carving, but maintains that the best carving occurs when you think them up yourself. He also enjoys making some carvings for friends taking some of their attributes and parts of their life an putting it into the carving. He finds it very rewarding and has had positive feedback from many of these efforts. He has never had any commercial interests by trying to sell any of his completed projects, however, during his time with the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society, several entries to competitions and exhibitions have won some ribbons, placing first, second, and third place results.
Maybe, if you feel like getting started on a project early on Tuesday meeting nights, you will find that Jerry is most often there as early as 6 pm. He is always ready to volunteer, and is a big help to our president.
Although Calgary Carvers Club do not run carving classes, every week is a new learning experience. You can walk around, watch and talk to other carvers to learn something from everyone from the first time carver to the award winning carvers. If you are looking for help with your project there is always someone to lend you their experience. We have carvers that have never held a carving tool before join the group and are now excellent carvers. So Jerry's advice is if you would like would like to carve, come out have some fun and learn by watching and talking with other members.
Calgary Carvers Social Club has been a carving haven for Bill Rae who has been a member here for 15 years. He joined back then when it was known as the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society who met at Good Companions Seniors Centre. Not the only longstanding member, he shares this longevity with three present club members, namely Dale Cook, Jack MacKay, and Ken Goodwin.
Bill’s speciality in our club is carving birds. He has had great success carving small songbirds, chickadees, blue jays, northern flickers as well as larger bird species such as kestrels, mallards, and loons. His dedicated efforts have not gone unnoticed in the carving world as he holds numerous awards for his carvings from showings in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
When asked, he replied that one of the main reasons for his interest in belonging to our club, is his love for the congeniality and camaraderie that is shared among members at our weekly carving sessions on Tuesday evenings at Ogden House Seniors Club. He says that the club has a really friendly atmosphere which lends itself to sharing ideas and techniques about woodcarving.
He started off carving a number of relief projects, then later to carving a small dog. He has also contributed to a project completed by the club about a decade ago with various figures in an old western saloon. (currently on display in the foyer at Ogden House). His first bird carving, a great blue heron was very successful and won him applause from co-members.
Bill is always most helpful when asked for advice on any problems that other carvers may have, especially when it involves carving chickadees. He is definitely the go–to person here; he is presently working on a half a dozen chickadees in various poses and at various stages of completion.
Bill did not start carving until he joined the carvers at the Chinook Wildfowl Carving Society. Then, as a recently retired finishing carpenter, he easily made the transition from professional woodworker to becoming an accomplished woodcarver. He was able to share with me, pictures of a number of his bird projects that he now no longer owns due to their demand in the marketplace!