The 27 th Annual Valley Carvers Woodcarving Expo is scheduled for September 27, 2015 at Starved Rock Lodge (Great Hall & Starved Rock Room) from 9 am to 5 pm. See over 100 exhibits of woodcarving artists. Outside the Lodge, see chainsaw woodcarving in action. Raffles of woodcarvings and other items. Open to the public. Free admission. This program is partially funded by the Illinois Valley Fine Arts Trust. For more information, contact Bob Wills at (815) 634-4086.
Featured in this photo is 2014 Best of Show Award Winner, Whitey Hershberger.
The Valley Carvers have had a woodcarving Expo at Starved Rock Lodge for over 25 years, but this year, something was different. Whitey Hershberger’s “Best of Show” woodcarving was extraordinary! It was not only a “Selfie”, but a hand-carved, life-sized, 3-D self-portrait made of wood. “I was taking a class at Illinois Central College and the teacher suggested I do a 3-D self-portrait,” said Hershberger, “At first, I was just going to carve a bust (head and shoulders), but then, I just kept going.” Hershberger says he knew better than to cut off the base of the tree from which he was carving before he was completely done. Six weeks later, the resulting work of art stood as tall as the artist himself, holding a carver’s mallet, of course.
Hershberger has been an artist all his life. He taught art, 3-D sculpture, photography and drama for 25 years at Washington High School (Washington, IL). He retired in 2004, but continues to be an active carver and artist. In addition to the Best of Show award ribbon, he took home three first place ribbons and 3rd in Best of Show for an intricate carving of Santa Claus.
The Valley Carver’s Expo fills the Great Hall and Starved Rock Room each year with over 80 exhibitors. Carvings range from wildlife to elaborate puzzle-like creations. The event also features a live woodcarving demonstration outside the Lodge. Next year’s event is already set for September 27, 2015.
What’s next for Whitey? Hershberger said he’s still overwhelmed by his amazing win at the Expo. “I’m just going enjoy the moment for now!”