Woodcarvers show off their art in Lake Zurich

  • Jesse Ruiz sits near a statue he made of three blue birds at an event hosted by the North Suburban Woodcarvers organization in Lake Zurich on Saturday.

      Jesse Ruiz sits near a statue he made of three blue birds at an event hosted by the North Suburban Woodcarvers organization in Lake Zurich on Saturday. Doug T. Graham | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/19/2016 7:17 PM

Elegant wooden statues, lifelike nature scenes and intricately whittled pieces made by members of the North Suburban Woodcarvers organization were on display at the Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich Saturday.

"I started when I was a Boy Scout," said Jean Gregory, a Lake Zurich resident and one of the group's most senior members. "That was a lot of years ago; I just hit 94."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Saturday Gregory was carving small chunks of wood into leaves that he would attach to a needle to make a decorative pin. He and the other members were on hand to answer questions about their work and tell visitors what a great hobby woodcarving is.

Husband and wife members Jesse and Angeline Ruiz brought their pieces from their North Side Chicago home. Jesse Ruiz uses a tool similar to a dentist's drill to put fine detail work into his statues of birds.

"It's real delicate work," he said. "I do one feather at a time."

Angeline Ruiz uses a wood-burning tool called a pyrography pen to burn designs onto wood.

"I'm a pyromaniac, but I haven't burned anything down yet," she said with a smile.

Angeline Ruiz said the group likes showing off the hobby at events. She joked that some members will bring so many pieces, it's like they are bringing their whole house.

"Carving is going to become a lost art unless it is passed on to the next generation," she said.

The group was selling hand-carved Christmas tree ornaments to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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