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By Bob Balgemann
ROCKFORD – Woodcarving is a fine art and it takes time to put together most creations.
So some the 100 members of the Blackhawk Woodcarvers club are busy putting the finishing touches on what they plan to display at their 21st show. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tebala Shrine building, 7910 Newburg Road.
Admission is $3 per person.
Unlike the clubhouse built by Spanky and the gang in the popular movies of many years ago, Blackhawk Woodcarvers is not a men’s-only organization.
One of a handful of women in the club, Bunny Nordheim of Loves Park said, “It’s mostly a men’s group, but we made them move over.”
She likes her creations to be carved in bark and she also makes wooden spoons.
A new member, Jeanne Williams, said she heard about the group, came to one of the monthly meetings, liked what she saw and joined.
Many different kinds of woodcarving are done by the club’s members, who hail from the Parks communities, Rockford and Boone County.
And there’s a bonus, as explained by award-winning Bob Coleman of Belvidere. “No one complains when you make a mess.”
Bob Matthews, also of Belvidere, likes to create birds, though one particular day in June he was working on a squirrel.
Former Boone County resident Chuck Drewes, who now lives in Rockford, enjoys carving the Swedish version of Santa Claus. He’s also the group’s resident soap carver and shows his creations at four or five children’s activities each summer.
Others take exhibits to carvings to churches and retirement homes. They say they were encouraged by their wives to take up a hobby, to keep them from getting underfoot too much.
Gale Terrell of Caledonia makes German Christmas ornaments. A woodcarver for about 20 years, he said, “I usually give most of them away as Christmas gifts.” And where do his designs come from? “Out of a magazine,” he said.
Gary Curl of Sycamore is the club president and one who likes burning his carvings into wood. “This is an unbelievable bunch of people,” he said. “They’re always doing something for the community.”
The Blackhawks Woodcarvers meets from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy at in Rockford.

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