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Tony Erickson to teach class on woodcarving
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Tony Erickson will teach students in his woodcarving class how to make a ‘character face’ out of soft cottonwood bark.

An artform that reaches back centuries, woodcarving has entertained humans since the dawn of time.

Usually handed down from older generations, crafting wood with simple tools is a dying art. To continue this longstanding tradition, South Carolina native Tony Erickson is teaching a woodcarving workshop at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center. The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at 25 Chattahoochee Strasse, in Helen.

Erickson will return as the guest instructor since he previously taught a class strictly for veterans.

“We asked him to come back and teach another class for us, opening participation to all our Northeast Georgia folks,” HAHC President Nancy Ackerman said in a news release.

At this time, the workshop is free and possible cost is dependent on number of students who register. Participants will need to bring a lunch, but drinks of water and soda will be provided.

Instructor and students will have their lunch break in artistic fellowship with one another.

Anyone wishing to participate may sign up at helenartshc@gmail.com or call 706-878-3933 for more information.

Erickson has been a woodcarver almost his whole life, picking up the pastime after observing his father enjoy the craft as a boy. As a younger man, his carving styles included chip carving, caricature and sculpture. He was passionate about any and all types of carving, strictly using patterns and books.

After a time he lost interest and stopped carving for what he thought would be forever. However, the creative spirit was still in him, and he attended the Boston School of Architecture and later the Foundation College for Graphic Arts in San Diego, Calif.

On a trip to the Grand Canyon with his wife in 2001, he found a fascinating piece of wood by the road, took it and carved a figure with a Bowie knife.

“That started me on using found wood like bark and pine sticks,” Erickson said.

It led him back to carving.

“No books, no patterns, no pictures,” he said of his newfound style, just imagination and skill complimenting the beauty of the wood, making the end result a masterpiece within itself.

This freelance style of carving is what Erickson will teach at the workshop. Students will complete a “character face” carved in soft cottonwood bark with naturally-grown, unique character.

By the end of the day, participants will have a fully carved and painted masterpiece woodcarving.

To learn more about Erickson, visit his website at WoodaKoodaShooda.com.

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