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Woodcarvers move yearly show to Highlands Ranch

Visitors can shop, stroll, watch artisans create new works

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For a number of years, the metro-wide Colorado Woodcarvers Club has held its annual show/competition/sale at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, but on Oct. 14-15, 2017, the organization will move into the south area (Hilton Garden Inn in Highlands Ranch, 1050 Plaza Drive), bringing a collection of skilled craftsmen and their projects.

Visitors will see a world of carved creatures and other items that grow out of the imaginations of the club’s many members in the 43rd Annual Woodcarvers Show. Most items will be for sale and would be a one-of-a-kind gift — or a new addition for the readers’ own collection. Members will be working on a new project as they sit at the show’s tables, ready to chat with visitors.

We first met veteran carver Ralph Mueller of Littleton prior to a show some years ago and are happy to know the Lockheed Martin retiree, now 87, is still happily creating with wood, a knife and other tools. He started in a class at Englewood’s Malley Recreation Center when he retired and enjoys carving all kinds of birds and animals. The playful river otter is a personal favorite.

In addition to small pieces, he has carved on a dead tree in his back yard, he said.

Mueller enjoyed a 34-year career as an instrumentation engineer at Lockheed Martin. (known as Martin Marietta when he came on board after a stretch in the service and college).

This carver was born in Nebraska — one of eight boys and one girl, who all helped on the farm. He attended college in Indiana.

His favorite wood to carve is Nebraska red cedar (his brother brought him a load). It’s appealing in grain and color, with reddish tones. He usually carves on basswood, but also enjoys working with and finishing pieces in walnut and cherry. He’s happy with a recent carving of a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep created from that special cedar, and plans to enter about six pieces in the show.

There will be a carving competition on both days at 2 p.m. and visitors can see a block of wood come to life under skilled hands — and ask questions. A featured carver will be presented from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. each day.

Perhaps someone else will find an enjoyable new pastime.

The club holds monthly meetings at the Maplewood Grove Grange, 3130 Youngfield St. in Westminster. Next date on the website is Nov. 4. See coloradocarvers.org.

If you go

The 43rd Annual Woodcarving Show, Competition and Sale will be held by the Colorado Carvers Club on Oct. 14 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Oct. 15 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1050 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch. Admission is $5 and children are admitted free. Carved objects, tools, wood and related items will be for sale — mostly by cash or check, although some vendors accept credit cards.

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