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By Elissa Chudwin
When Loren Woodard would visit Silver Dollar City, he’d marvel at the craftsmen intricately carving wood. The art interested him, but Loren didn't think he could do it. He believed he had no talent.
That changed in 1990 when Loren’s wife gave him a set of carving tools for his birthday and registered him for a class at Silver Dollar City. Loren surprised himself when he caught onto the craft quickly, but it took about eight years before he could create high-quality carvings. Now, he creates everything from busts of cowboys to Christmas ornaments.
He is most proud of his ability to carve faces. Using clay to model his subjects, he might spend anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to complete a carving. His largest project, a thirteen-foot-tall black oak mermaid displayed on Route KK near Lake of the Ozarks, took him about five months.
After mastering the craft, Loren believes carving is a learned skill; everyone has the capability to learn the craft. Now, he teaches about eight classes per year.
“Not everybody could carve the same things I carve,” Loren says, “but everybody can learn to carve something they’re interested in.”
To learn more about wood carving or schedule a class, call Loren at 573-480-2003 or visit his website.