Members of the Logan County Friendly Senior Center Wood Carvers’ Club donated a wooden “quilt” to the center Tuesday, presenting it to Director Judy Hadley, pictured standing at the far left. Club members include, pictured from the left, first row: Barb Smith and Don Short; second row: Jean James, Susie Bodenmiller and Janet Bell; and third row: Dwight Hansen, club instructor Bob Holderman, Jody Nolin, Terry Thompson and Paul Claassen. Club members will provide demonstrations Saturday at the Christmas in July event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the senior center, 934 S. Main St. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)
Although COVID-19 kept members of the Logan County Friendly Senior Center’s Wood Carvers’ Club physically apart for some of last year and the early months of this year, a joint project kept the camaraderie alive that the friends in the group so much enjoy through an endeavor to craft a wooden “quilt” together.
A number of members in the club played a role in carving each of the sections that make up the nine-square quilt over the last 1 1/2 years, club instructor Bob Holderman said. Some of the images incorporate Logan County’s history, including a train, a covered bridge and an Indian Marker Tree that originated in the Zanesfield area, along with other blocks giving a nod to nature intertwined with faith, including praying hands, horse, wolf, and a lighthouse and ship.
Tuesday, the club members, ranging in age from 69 to 92, presented their quilt created over many hours of intricate work to the senior center’s Director Judy Hadley, so that the piece can properly be displayed inside the 934 S. Main St. facility for future generations to enjoy.
“We’re so impressed with this beautiful piece of art that the wood carvers came together to create for us; what a gift this is,” Mrs. Hadley said.
“We’re excited to be able to share this piece with the public this weekend during our upcoming Christmas in July event Saturday.”
The Wood Carvers’ Club will be performing demonstrations and will have other pieces for sale during the festivities that run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the senior center. Admission is free.
Hadley said area residents are invited to start their Christmas shopping early, or to browse for gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
Vendors will offer a variety of other quality items for sale as well, including fine paintings, crafts, honey, fresh flowers and flower arrangements, wood crafted items, gently used items and kids toys, greeting cards and handmade jewelry. Breakfast food and lunch items will be available for purchase.
Relating to the Wood Carvers’ Club, Holderman said fortunately, the group members can now meet together again each week on Tuesday mornings.
“We invite anyone to come out to check out our group. We find it’s a lot of fun, just being together and learning alongside each other,” said the retired Bellefontaine Police Department sergeant.
“It’s a good time with good friends,” agreed the club’s oldest member, Barb Smith of Bellefontaine, who is a spry 92. She created the praying hands on the quilt that features a border with chip carving.
Holderman, age 81, related that he bought a carving set for 99 cents from an area furniture store just prior to his BPD retirement back in 1992. The hobby had captured his interest, but he didn’t realize how much it would become a part of his life after that.
“I always wanted to carve, and wanted to get into it. I took some classes after that and enjoyed it so much.”
He and his wife, Sharon, eventually started another wood carving club when they lived in Florida that grew to nearly 150 members. Once settled back in Bellefontaine again, Mr. Holderman said they began the Logan County Friendly Senior Center group about 12 years ago.
“We come up with a lot of different projects and try to introduce many of the different aspects of carving, from wood burning to relief carving and traditional carving.
“We’re working on some fun caricature carvings on golf balls and also whimsical carvings on cottonwood right now.”
Some of the club members said they had no prior experience before they started attending the group.
“I didn’t know I could carve and decided to give it a try,” said 69-year-old Quincy resident Susie Bodenmiller, who created the covered bridge on the quilt. “It’s relaxing and I really enjoy it. It’s something fun to do with my hands.”
The quilt project incorporates relief carving on basswood in the different square sections, which were stained and painted to finish the piece.
Mr. Holderman was tasked carving the Indian Marker Tree section, explaining that Native Americans used to place rocks on a sapling tree so that part of the tree would point in a certain direction as it grew to indicate, for example, which way to a given settlement.
Moving around the quilt, other contributors included Janet Bell of Huntsville, who carved the wolf; Dwight Hansen and his wife, Bonnie, of Bellefontaine, who created the lighthouse; Jody Nolin of Rushsylvania, who carved the train; and Huntsville resident Terry Thompson, who created the quilt’s center piece. Seminole Shore Island neighbors Don Short and Jean James carved the horse and ship, respectively.
“I’m very proud of them and it’s so nice to see it all come together,” Mr. Holderman said.