Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Every Wednesday for about the last ten years carvers have been gathering at the Berea Welcome Center to not only demonstrate to tourists their carving techniques but to enjoy each others company while they carve and talk about any subject under the sun. They are a laid back bunch that tease each other as well as people that stop by to ask about their craft. Lots of laughs are included in the gathering. Carvers sitting around a table jawing and carving makes for a pleasurable experience.

Here we have Jack Gann, Jack Johnson, Keith Flowers, Don Napier and Dean Owsley.

A satchel sits all packed ready to leave the gathering of the Berea woodcarvers. Notice all the specialty knives in the side pockets and the chain project the carver is working on.

Each carver has a satchel or kit that contains all the tools of the trade. It sits by their side on the floor and gets lots of use. The items they carve are not for sale at their gatherings.

Keith Flowers carves some finishing touches on a toy for children at UK Childrens Hospital
The carvers not only carve for themselves but also for community projects. The informal group of carvers number about twenty from the surrounding area of Berea.

Some of the men of the group have taught carving at college adult education classes. Mr. Jack Gann seemed to garner the most voices saying he is the master carver of the group. Also Dean Owsley is very proficient and one of the more intensive objects he carves are dulcimers.

Here is John Adams, Leo Calburn, Jim Emmert and Marion Thompson carving away.

Here is one of the more popular toys they make for sick children -- Sponge Bob -- to set on a hospital stand near the child's bed.

Carving has been around since ancient times. In the Appalachia's it is still an active tradition of many. Carving falls in the folk art category and the older pieces done by elders of the past are desired by many collectors.

When you meet a carver in the Appalachia's chances are that your day will light up from their ability to make you smile.


  1. I am a woodcarver from Southeastern KY, I haven't been carving but three years. I love your website

    1. What kind of carvings do you make?? Are they folk art type? Do they have a feel of Appalachia to them? What got you started carving? Glad you enjoyed this post. Stop by again -- barbara