International Woodcarvers Congress 2012

Monday 9 July 2018

I had the pleasure of attending the IWC – the 46th Annual International Woodcarvers 'Congress, held in Maquoketa, Iowa from 10-18 June last year. Maquoketa – the name derived from the Sauk and Fox Indian word meaning 'there are bears' or 'little bear' – is a small town not far – in USA terms – from the Quad Cities Metropolitan area which is a group of five cities on the Mississippi river across Iowa and Illinois. The IWC event is held in some of the buildings in the town's showground complex.

The show provides people with the opportunity to take classes in various carving disciplines with some of the world's best carvers. The mix of tutors changes at each event, as does the length of classes on offer, anything from a one day to a five day course is available. It also is the place which, I believe, has the longest running judged carving competition in the USA. The competition has over 85 separate categories covering all of the carving disciplines.

The competition pieces are also on display for people to view during the duration of the event. This event attracted over 600 pieces. I was certainly wowed by what was on display. It was worth attending just to see all of these pieces alone. The judges this year were Vic Hood, Linda Curtis, and Chau Pham. What I liked about this was the judges were there to be able to answer questions, advise and provide helpful critiques of the work on display.

It was my first time at the event and I found it to be one of those occasions where you find yourself immediately welcomed with open arms into what feels like a great big family. The time spent at the Congress went very quickly. Not only was I able to access carving tuition from some of the top carvers around the world; the pace is geared to the individual and help is on hand to advise, encourage and allow you develop at your own pace.

The display of work exhibited in the carving competition display is simply stunning and the diversity of the items means there is something for everyone to admire and learn from.

If you want to learn about carving I can thoroughly recommend this event and have no doubt that you will make loads of new friends and learn lots of new things. There are also evening events such as a banquet and barbecue. I will certainly try to go back at a future date and would like to thank everyone who made my visit such a pleasant one.