Feeling the need to branch out in regard to your social calendar? Then check out the Artistry in Wood Show, returning for its 27th year at Lincoln City’s Chinook Winds Casino Resort this weekend.

About 50 woodcarving crafters will be on hand for meet and greets and to display their work during the free event sponsored by the Coastal Carvers Club. This year’s theme for the people’s choice, non-juried awards portion of the show is “On the Western Shore.” Organizers said they intentionally chose a broad theme to give artists plenty of room for creative inspiration and expression with their entries.

“It will be interesting and exciting to see what comes in,” said John Larsell, the Coastal Carvers Club show committee officer. “People who are involved in this are very creative.”

Award categories include: Gallery, Beginner (carving less than 2 years); Youth (14 years old and under); the Mayor’s Award; and Chinook Winds Casino Award. There will also be carve-a-longs, exhibits and artwork for sale including that of realistic wildlife, caricatures, intarsia, wood turning, folk art and Native American items.

“You name it, we’ve got it,” Larsell said. “Almost anything you can do with wood. This is not a vendor show, this is a high-quality artist show with museum quality (work).”

In addition, the Artistry in Wood event provides free demonstrations, seminars and workshops for children and adults on both days. Organizers said kids must be accompanied by an adult throughout the show and a significant amount of time in the workshops for young carvers is spent on safety. The classes are first-come-first-served, with no advance registration.

There will also be a few vendors selling wood, books and tools. The demonstrations, seminars and workshops are led by veteran carvers eager to share their knowledge on everything from wood-carving techniques and styles, to wood staining, wood burning and painting your pieces.

“I’ve never seen a group of artists so willing to help and we have incredible club members,” said Larsell, who started woodcarving 10 years ago. “We encourage beginners and people of all ages and skill levels. It’s really important these different types of art forms are passed on.”

This year’s featured artist is Randy Martin, who has lived in Sandy, Oregon for 30 years and captures the essence of the area through his paintings and woodcarvings. In addition to winning several awards, his work has been showcased and available for purchase in galleries and shops throughout the region.

Martin’s woodcarving passion started with his dad, who was also a woodcarver. After Martin’s mother died, he said his father lost interest in much of life — including woodcarving. Martin tried to re-spark his dad’s woodcarving pastime by giving him a new carving book for his birthday, a block of wood or a tool. This went on for a couple of years to no avail.

That’s when Martin turned to a little well-intentioned trickery. He said he was at a Portland sportsmen’s show when he ran into a group of carvers from Vancouver, Washington. They were members of a woodcarving club and invited him to attend an upcoming meeting.

“So, I called my dad and told him, ‘Dad, I’m taking you to dinner next Thursday,” Martin said. “And so, we went to this meeting… and we signed up for classes together. And, ultimately, that’s how I got hooked 25 years ago or so.”

It’s almost alarming (in a good way) the life Martin breathes into his pieces. He skillfully transforms wood into full-sized North American wildlife sculptures, intricate wooden bird feathers, attractive jewelry, hat pins, lapel pins, festive holiday ornaments and more. One of his personal favorites is a full-sized barn owl he completed over a two-year span. And while that owl will be at the show, it’s not for sale.

“My wife laid claim on that one about halfway through the paint job,” he said.

Martin’s talent and expertise allows him to travel and attend numerous shows, but he’s quick to point out the Artistry in Wood Show is among the best. He said if you’ve been curious about pursuing wood carving, how to do it, or what you might like to make — you’ll find your answers at this event.

“The Lincoln City show is one of the broadest offerings of carving styles that you’ll probably run into on the West Coast,” Martin said. “If you’ve ever had thoughts about wood carving, you’ll bump into them at the show.”

Artistry in Wood runs from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, Jan. 19, and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday, Jan. 20, at Chinook Winds Casino Resort, 1777 NW 44th Street, Lincoln City. Admission is free. For more information go to http://home.teleport.com/~coastalcarvers.

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