Cloverdale Carving Club President Jim Vellenoweth.

Carving out some time to relax

Cloverdale Carvers' Club offers creative outlet for members, who don't have to know how to carve to join.

About a year ago, Cloverdale resident Robin Battley was looking for a place to meet new people who shared her interest in wood carving.

After spending some time researching carving groups throughout Surrey, she came across the Cloverdale Carvers’ Club, a small group of dedicated wood artists who get together Tuesday evenings at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School.

Working with computers all day, Battley felt much of her work was not tangible and had a finish line that seemed to be forever moving.

“I enjoy working with my hands and being able to start a project and complete it,” Battley said.

The club, whose membership numbers range from 10 to 20 people at any given time, get together for two hours once a week to work on new projects and offer encouragement and support for others in the club.

Club president Jim Vellenoweth began carving five or six years ago.

“I never thought of myself as an artist,” said Vellenoweth. “Frankly, I didn’t know if I was creative or not.”

But after seeing a notice in the newspaper, he decided to give carving a try and hasn’t looked back since.

Most of the carving is done using bass wood, a soft, forgiving type of wood with even grain, however suitable wood can be found anywhere, said Vellenoweth. Even tree branches can make excellent walking sticks.

Members work on a wide range of subjects, from water fowl to Christmas ornaments, using three main techniques: chip carving, where tiny chips of wood are removed from the wood to create a unique pattern; relief carving, where a scene or image is carved into a flat surface; and in-the-round carving, which creates a three-dimensional object.

Some carvers will use paint to add colour to their designs, while others choose to leave the wood in its natural state.

Experience or equipment are not pre-requisites to becoming a member of the Cloverdale Carvers’ Club, and many newcomers spend the first few nights just watching and learning the basics.

Both Vellenoweth and Battley enjoy the relaxing side of wood carving.

“Sometimes if I have a bit of time, I’ll grab my knife and sit outside and work,” said Vellenoweth. “It’s not about the equipment. Sometimes just a simple jack knife works wonders.

For more information about the club, go to


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