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Wood carvers assemble at Highlands Ranch hotel

Annual show and competition moves from Jefferson County


When Al Vigil was a child, his mother insisted that he accompany his older brother fishing. But Vigil didn't like to fish, so he would sit nearby and whittle pieces of wood. When he was 8 years old, he joined the Boy Scouts, where he furthered his curiosity for woodcarving.

The now-77-year-old was one of many seasoned carvers at the 43rd Colorado Carvers Club show, sale and competition, held Oct. 14 and 15 at Hilton Garden Inn, 1050 Plaza Drive, Highlands Ranch. Previously held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, the annual event is an opportunity for carvers to showcase and sell their intricate artwork and vendors to sell carving tools and wood materials.

“Everybody is pretty sharing in this medium,” said Jon Nelson, a master carver who has acquired several blue ribbons at competitions.

Created in 1973 with 40 members, Colorado Carvers Club now has 120 members from across the Denver metro area. They meet once a month at Maple Grove Grange Hall, 3130 Youngfield St., in Wheat Ridge and once a week at Clements Community Center, 1580 Yarrow St., in Lakewood. They spend their time chiseling pieces of wood into a variety of pieces: detailed statues, walking sticks, wall art and more. Once a year, the club makes about 700 tiny wooden cars that are delivered to seven children's hospitals in the region.

The hobby is relaxing, members say. They hope to see more young people join.

“It's really interesting to see what the wood says to you,” said Larraine Givens, president of the club.


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