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Popular carver discusses range of topics

February 21, 2011

Bob King, a member of the ECHO-USA carving team and renowned carver through the United States and international circuit, gave a presentation Monday morning at Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgway. Photo by Joseph Bell.

Bob King, a member of the ECHO-USA carving team and renowned carver throughout the United States and international circuit, gave a presentation Monday morning at Appalachian Arts Studio in Ridgway.
King's focal point was on the wide variety of carvers who comprise the art form, from competitive carving to main event carving to entertainment and exhibition.
"A person can make money with really no carving talent at all, but you need to know the industry as a shop owner and reseller," King said of the production carver. "You can go to the auction, find that carver and buy the inventory if you know what sells in your area.
"People can make a good living out of this."
While King admits that competition carving is probably not the best way to make a living, one can do fairly well if one is blessed with a little bit of talent.
"Or you get the favor of the judges, whatever you want to call it," King said. "You have to work hard and be willing to travel and think on your feet, you just have to be able to carve fast without thinking."
Speed carving is also a style that attracts many onlookers.
"For a lot of people, that's their forte," King said. "In a hour-and-15-minute speed carving event, they're all kind of loving the attention of that audience that drives us and helps you step out of that little comfort zone that we all have where we think about it a lot and spend hours at a time on a sculpture."
As a main event carver, the artist spends a great deal of time working on one artistic centerpiece.
"I consider myself more in that line where, although I like to do speed carving, for me my love is to just focus on the big grandiose piece of work," King said. "The sculpture, in my belief, has been that I want it to grab your attention, I want it to make you feel something so that when you walk up and look at that sculpture, something has happened or is about to happen, you just have to have a feeling and you will remember that sculpture later.
"That to me is a successful sculpture, whether it judges great or not. You can make a little bit of cash here depending on the venue and I recommend to anybody to get out there and do some competition-- get out of your comfort zone, pick up the saw and get to it, and see what you can put up- you might surprise yourself."
Anyone can be a main event carver, as there are few events where a carver's entry is juried.
"That is, having to submit an entry or model," King said. "Most events that I've been at, you just need to have a lot of ambition and energy to get in there and go."
King also spent time discussing carvers who take a slow and steady approach, paying more attention to intricate details.

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