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Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild has successful year

CHECK PRESENTATION — Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild representatives Clark Adams, left, president, and Jay Nicolella, right, vice president, presented a check for $4,300 to the Stifel Fine Arts children’s programs via Rick Morgan. The money was generated from the guild’s Oglebayfest venture. -- Contributed

WHEELING — The Oglebay Woodcarvers Guild, headquartered in the Stifel Center on National Road in Wheeling and drawing membership from the Tri-State Area, concluded 43 years of service since they were chartered with “a most successful 2019,” officials noted.

Last September, the organization celebrated its 40th consecutive Labor Day weekend show and sale in Oglebay Park as well as more than 10 years of participation in the Oglebayfest celebration held annually in October.

The club’s growing membership participation in these events afforded them the opportunity to display their carving skills in various ways.

The annual carving show held in the Pine Room features many invited professional carvers along with the local talent to reveal many works of wood art in a 45-table setting. The free show along with drawings held during both public events has generated funds to support three charitable club activities.

This past year was the most financially successful year for this group, according to officials. The Oglebayfest venture of a Christmas tree tent display with more than 200 hand-carved ornaments generated a new record of funds given to the Stifel Fine Arts Center for its children’s arts programs. They received $4,300, and the winner of the 6-foot tree and ornaments was Pete Conklin of New Martinsville.

The Labor Day Weekend Carving Show duel first-prize drawings of a fully paid week lodging in an Oglebay cottage was won by Tom Oughton of Wellsburg. The other main prize of a group member’s hand-carved nativity set was won by Sister Mary Ann of Mount St Joseph in Wheeling.

The nonprofit organization also was able to fund 11 soup kitchens and pantries with a $200 check to assist those in need. Fifteen public libraries in the Tri-State Area where members reside are the recipients of paid subscriptions to Chip Chats, a national carving magazine. The total expenditure of funds to various charities totaled an all-time high of $6,300.

The organization is planning some events within the membership to advance members’ carving abilities. Guild President Clark Adams of Strabane, Pa., is “aggressively pursuing some highly regarded professional carvers to conduct some multi-day carving education sessions at the Stifel Center.”

Another group planned project is the group carving of “comfort birds and comfort crosses” to donate to people confined to health or retirement facilities. The smooth carvings are “known to bring peace, joy, comfort and strength to the afflicted who are in nursing homes or hospitals suffering various illnesses,” according to Vice President Jay Nicolla of Washington, Pa. “They are so smooth and soft, and they fit just right in your hand so that it’s comforting just to hold them and rub them,” Nicolla said.

Work has started on another member group carved 15-piece nativity set except in a reduced mantel size in butternut wood and natural finish for the 2020 drawing at the Labor Day weekend carving show on Sept 5 and 6 at the Pine Room in Oglebay Park.

The club is open to those 18 years of age who wish to participate and learn wood carving from beginner to advanced. They meet every Monday evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon in the lower entrance of the Stifel Fine Arts Center, 1330 National Road, Wheeling.

The membership includes men and women from West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania with memberships from other distant states also.

Treasurer Suzanne Mozena of Wheeling explained that the club is fully equipped to supply members with tools, wood, patterns, cutouts, books, study aids, etc., “all at a reasonable cost due to group purchasing. “

Membership costs vary from $5 to $25 pending experience and tool ownership.

For information, call the Stifel Fine Arts Center at (304) 242-7700 or visit the carving guild website www.oglebaywoodcarvers.com.

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