Blog #58 – Using Local Resources for Teaching Wood Carving to Kids
By Paul Meisel
Although most of my blogs revolve around the methods I use to teach woodworking to my students, this time I have done something different! I explore other resources in my community where children can learn creative skills. What I found was that there are a wide variety of excellent resources for teaching a whole variety of skills to kids.
One such source that is near my home is the Minnetonka Center for the Arts located in Wayzata, MN. I am familiar with this facility because I have taken several metal sculpture classes there. What I didn’t realize was that this summer their course listing includes over 80 different art classes for students between the age of 5 and 15!
Course titles such as Comic Arts, Clay Creatures, Incredible Masks, Personal Pottery, Sculpture Techniques and Teen Welding were just a few intriguing classes offered this summer.
One class that especially caught my eye was a wood carving class for kids from 13 to 15 years old. I stopped by to observe this class taught by seasoned woodcarver Lee Olson. Lee has been carving for over 20 years and has a great deal of knowledge and experience to pass on to his students.
Lee starts out showing each student how to carve a snake. Starting with a pre-cut rough shape, he shows students the basics for this beginning project.
He then lets each student choose a second project for which he prepares a rough sawn basswood blank.
Here are some of the projects Lee and his students worked on the day I stopped in to visit:
Antonia and Max are both carving birds.
Cathy is working on a rooster.
Check out the bunny Julia made (in the foreground).
Isabel is wood burning her project to add color and texture.
Lee shows off several projects he has carved so kids can see the
Lee shows me a product called Feed-N-Wax which he uses to finish his wood carvings.
Although Lee’s class will not be offered again this year, the point is that excellent classes in general are offered in many locations around the country and at various times. Check what local resources are available in your area. Local school districts, Community Education, art centers and individual instructors are all possibilities. While resources will vary widely depending on where you live, it is worth checking what is available. Expose your children to new experiences by utilizing local talent.