The Joy of Carving

Jack Staeger – Wood Carver

The Joy of Carving

I’m a young 87 year old senior who has discovered and enjoyed the art of carving since I retired in 1996. My life before the golden years was in the embroidery industry, designing the emblems you see on the NHL uniforms and badges seen on the Girl Guide and Boy Scout uniforms. So design has always been a part of my life.

I was first introduced to the world of carving from my brother who “dabbled” in the art of carving loons. With encouragement from him, I took a weekend workshop and came home with a carved sandpiper that had all the characteristics of a real sandpiper! Now my interest was heightened and I was hooked on my new hobby. After that class I started inquiring around and learned that there was a carving club just down the road from me. All the members there were eager to help me with my new hobby. Since then, I have joined two carving clubs – both are located at the Orangeville Seniors Community Centre. One club meets on Monday evenings and the other club meets on Wednesday mornings. What I have discovered in belonging to a carving club is that everyone is willing to lend their expertise to the “newbies” and to see that new members “discover their own talent” is very rewarding. I have also learned that everyone has their own special talents and this is shared around the carving table each time we meet, along with the latest world events. It is truly a time for friendships to be shared.

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For me, my carving is a form of relaxation and each project I tackle, be it a bird, or relief carving or a walking stick – they all challenge my imagination. Each variety of wood has its own unique qualities, such as pine and basswood are soft woods and easy to carve where maple is hard wood and more difficult to carve. But each wood brings its own uniqueness and the pleasure is in the finished product. The true test comes when you take your finished piece of work to a local fair and come home with the “First Place” ribbon. Wow – how special is that to know someone else thought your carving had merit also!

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I do have another life other than carving and it is shared with my wife and our little Schnauzer named Waldo. We both enjoy reading, gardening and quiet drives “to the country”. Often in the summer, we will pack the picnic basket, the lawn chairs, the binoculars and Waldo then start on our adventure which usually ends at one of our favourite spots along the shores of Georgian Bay. We have found the conservation areas to be the most serene places to sit back and enjoy nature at its best.

We have also taken our share of cruises and “warm weather” vacations in the winter but our home is the destination we love best. Over the years I have learned that you only have to have an interest in anything and there is always someone there to “lend a helping hand”. Life is there to be enjoyed, take advantage of every moment to do just that!

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