RV News

Turning a hobby into art

by Kathy Phoenix
Kathy Phoenix carving a spotted sandpiper decoy.
Kathy Phoenix carving and airbrush painting a spotted sandpiper decoy — Photo courtesy Kathy Phoenix.

In 2005 my husband asked me to use a week of my vacation time to come with him on an RV trip to the small community of Sorrento, B.C. He wanted to take a five-day caricature wood carving class at the Shuswap School of Carving and Arts. I welcome any excuse to go RVing and happily agreed.

September in the Shuswap was a beautiful time of year. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn to their gorgeous fall colours and the school had onsite RV camping. While it was too late in the year to swim at the beach, it was warm enough to work under the trailer awning on my own hobby which, at that time, was tole painting on wood.

Carving students going by the trailer were very friendly and curious about what I was doing and I was often asked why I wasn't taking one of the carving classes. I had never thought about trying to carve, but after being on the end of so much gentle nudging during the week, I finally responded that if a relief carving class was offered, I would consider taking it.

Carving, after all, is in my blood. I recalled my grandmother telling me many times that my great grandfather was a master carver and had worked on many of the furnishings that went down with the Titanic. The very next year, a class in relief carving was offered at the school and I felt almost obligated to take it. The rest is history. I love working with wood and the sense of accomplishment and pleasure I get from a hobby my husband and I can discuss and do together.

Since that first trip in 2005 we have vacationed in our fifth wheel in Alberta and Saskatchewan to take classes at schools similar to the one in B.C. We've had people from as far away as Manitoba, Montana and Oregon attend our school. We have made many new friends through carving and look forward to each school to reconnect with people we've met at previous gatherings.

If you have ever thought you might like to try your hand at carving, we can recommend the Shuswap School of Carving and Arts. It is a great place to start or, if you're already a carver, to improve on skills or learn new ones. There is something for everyone, beginner to advanced. The 2013 classes are shown on the left. If you'd like to learn more, visit the SSCA website.

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