Troy

Brukner Woodcarving and Art Show celebrates 42 years

By Katie Fender

Photo: Carver Charlie Cooke’s ‘Barflies’
 
 
For Richard Richmond, it started as Christmas gifts.

“I started carving because I wanted to carve my wife a Santa,” he recalls. “She collects Santa Claus figures.”

That Christmas, Richmond carved a Santa Claus for his wife and at the time, his only grandson. That was 16 years ago; Richmond has been hooked ever since.

Since 1976, Troy, Ohio, has hosted the Brukner Woodcarving and Art Show, which features some of the top carvers in the state. These carvers bring their handcrafted wood pieces for participants to purchase or simply enjoy. The pieces of fine art range from caricatures and miniatures to human and animal carvings.

This is Richmond’s fifth year in the Brukner Woodcarving Show and his fourth as the show’s chairman. As his family has expanded, his carvings have become a Christmas tradition. He now carves for six grandkids and his two daughters. “Every year, I have a different Santa pattern and every year everyone gets the same pattern, but each one will have unique differences since they are hand carved. In addition to the Santas, Richmond carves Halloween pumpkins, witch pens, and caricatures. He enjoys carving cowboy caricatures, each accompanied with a saying.

Richmond explains that, for him, woodcarving isn’t just about the craft; it’s about the community.

“Not only are they world-class carvers, but also world-class nice people,” he says.

Several Brukner carvers have won national competitions and are recognized as “world-class.” As part of the show, the exhibitors can also enter into the competition. There are different classes and categories they can enter to win ribbons and prize money. One piece will also take home Best in Show.

Vendors will also be available to sell wood and carving-related supplies.

A majority of the proceeds go to the Brukner Nature Center. Over the years, this event has donated over $100,000 to the center.

Bruce Henn is another one of these world-class people. Henn started his carving hobby in 1970 on a camping trip.

“We borrowed a camper and I had picked up a piece of firewood and found a retractable blade,” he remembers. “I think I cut every finger on my left hand, but I carved a rabbit and I still have it. So that was the start of it.”

This is Henn’s 36th year in the show, and his passion and dedication, not to mention his talent, to his craft has not gone unnoticed.

Henn belongs to the very prestigious Caricature Carvers of America, which includes only 25 active members in the country. In order to be a part of this club, someone must petition the artists to join. Hewas inducted in 2006 and held the office of vice president and president for six years.

Henn carves about 40 Christmas ornaments each year, caricatures, and has even done a couple of chainsaw pieces. His favorite work is an 18-inch bust of Albert Einstein.

Carver Don Worley came across a book on woodcarving and decided he might enjoy it. Shortly after he came across the book, a couple took him to a carving club, which ended up being the Brukner Nature Carvers. That was over 20 years ago.

Worley carves a wide variety of caricatures based on pictures in editorials or comic strips. For other carvings, he says, “I just fly by the seat of my pants.”

In the show, Worley will display his carvings of characters from the comic strip Zits. It will feature the main character, Jeremy Duncan, and his friends.

For Worley, carving is more than creating art. He says, “It’s therapeutic and you meet a lot of people doing it. I’m friends with a lot of carvers, and it’s an opportunity to share your talent with other people. If someone is looking for a hobby, this would be a great place to visit.”

 

The Brukner Woodcarving and Art Show takes place Saturday–Sunday, April 8–9 at the Miami County Fairgrounds, 650 N. County Rd. in Troy. The show runs from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $4. For more information, please call 937.698.6493 or visit BruknerNatureCarvers.com.

 

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Katie Fender
Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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