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A ‘wood’ winning: Local wood carvers win big

Six local wood carvers placed in a recent North Amercian Wildfoul Carving Championship. Pictured from left are Paul Lumpkin, Bobbi Barrows, James Fernea, Victor Sacco and John Houston. Not pictured is Cathy Dooley. Photo by Jeremy Pittari

Six local wood carvers placed in a recent North Amercian Wildfoul Carving Championship. Pictured from left are Paul Lumpkin, Bobbi Barrows, James Fernea, Victor Sacco and John Houston. Not pictured is Cathy Dooley.
Photo by Jeremy Pittari


Participants of a wood carving class at the Senior Center of South Pearl River County won awards at the North American Wildfoul Carving Championship and Gulf South Championship.
For the past four years more than a dozen community members have been participating in the wood carving class at the local senior center.
This year six class participants placed in the wood carving championship, some took home cash prizes for placing first and second.
Local winners include Paul Lumpkin, Bobbi Barrows, James Fornea, Cathy Dooley, John Houston and Victor Sacco.
Fornea and Sacco have been carving wood into wildlife figurines for about four years, while Lumpkin has two years of experience and Barrows has been carving for the past year.
Each participant invested hours or months into their work.
“There’s a spirit in a piece of wood and it’s up to us to draw it out,” Fornea said.
While the class has an average of 16 participants, they are always looking for new recruits, said instructor John Houston.
Classes begin with instruction on basic safety, then move on to carving small pieces of wood. As each participant gains experience they move up to larger pieces of wood, Houston said.
A painting class is also offered at the senior center, where a number of carvers have invested time into adding color to their wood carvings.
“Sometimes it takes as long to paint the carving as it did to carve it,” Houston said.
Wood carving can be therapeutic and provide retired seniors with an outlet. Barrows said she finds the craft soothing, and is gives her something to do with her free time.
“I think it lends a little to my sanity,” Barrows said.
Participants learn to use several kinds of tools to create their representations of lifelike wood carvings. Houston said the tools range from knives, gouges, power tools and wood burning tools.
Wood carving is not just for the manly, Barrows said. Women and young people are also getting into the hobby. Lumpkin said a 10-year-old boy won a first place prize at the recent competition.
For more information about the Senior Center of South Pearl River County and their many programs visit their website at http://www.srcentersouthprc.org/.