Freeman said, for him, woodcarving helps settle his mind and relax, but he never would have discovered that if it weren’t for Tom Brown, one of the founding members instrumental in the growth of the group.
Freeman said Brown passed away just this past Friday.
“He was like a magnet. Everybody flocked to him,” he said. “He was just a super nice guy. But Tom was relentless. He said to me, ‘You’ve got to try this. It’s just the greatest thing that’s ever been.’ He wore me down and got me to try it and, gee whiz, it was fun.
“Besides being fun, if I ever have a stressful, stressful day, I can sit down at a table with my tools and start carving, and the stress just kind of drifts away,” Freeman said. “It’s the most relaxing thing I’ve ever found. It takes your mind off of your other problems, and if you stop paying attention, you bleed.”
Bob Courtney, 75, who joined the club over two years ago after he moved to Peru, said that’s all true, but for him, woodcarving gives him a chance to create something that he can pass on to his children and grandchildren.
And he said the Eastern Woodland Carvers Club has been the perfect place to start learning how to start those creations.
“They’ll take you from the beginning and work with you every week,” he said. “That’s what I like about it. You’re not on your own. It’s just a bunch of down-to-earth people, and if you need something, all you have to do is ask. And I hope someday when I’m a good carver, my kids might say, ‘Grandpa made that.’”
There’s plenty of inspiration for up-and-coming woodcarvers at the club’s headquarters. Wood sculptors of birds, houses, people, animals and all kinds of other pieces donated by members and instructors line the walls and fill up display cases.