By: Macy Goodnight | Category: Special Interest | Issue: August 2021
Event Publicists, Veteran Woodcraftsman, Bill Payne and Carol Alley, Artisan Embroiderer.
For over 40 years, the Eastern Oklahoma Woodcarvers Association has worked to keep a part of our cultural history alive with their annual Woodcarving and Arts Festival.
The event will take place September 10-11, 2021, from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Central Park Community Center at 1500 S. Main in Broken Arrow. Invited arts include woodcarving and wood turning, gourds, mosaics, jewelry, blacksmithing, quilting, ceramics, beading, leather working, basketmaking, painting and much more! Approximately 70 vendors are expected to be in attendance. Admission is free. Woodcarving workshops for youth, ages 13 and up, will be available, to encourage the next generation of woodworkers to carry on this century’s old tradition. The beginners carving classes will be held at 1 p.m. on both days of the festival.
The Eastern Oklahoma Woodcarvers Association, or EOWA, is a nonprofit, charitable organization that is “dedicated to preserving, promoting, and expanding the timeless art form of woodcarving.
“We don’t have many new people coming into woodworking,” said event publicist and world-renowned woodcarver, Bill Payne. “Younger people aren’t often as interested in working with their hands.” Finding authentically produced, hand-crafted wood sculptures and art is becoming more rare, as older generations of woodworkers are beginning to fade away.
The Eastern Oklahoma Woodcarvers Association first presented the festival in 1975, with around 50-60 exhibitors that came from all over the country. “But they got old, just like me,” said Bill. “There aren’t too many other pure woodcarving shows left. They’re pretty rare.”
Bill, who is also a military veteran, has been working with wood most of his life. “I’ll work with any kind of wood one time,” he said. “Wood crafting is part of our history and culture, and it’ll last a lifetime.”
With the decrease in the number of woodworkers over the years available to participate in the shows, the decision was made to open the showcase up to a broader spectrum of artisans. “Opening up to other art forms has worked pretty well for us,” said Bill.
Carol Alley, co-publicist, will exhibit her extraordinary talents in embroidery, with an array of ever popular tea towels and other handcrafted items for sale. “Everything the vendors bring must be handmade by the vendor, so nothing will be resale,” she said. “Everything is juried to be authentic and handmade.”
The festival will offer a chance to find early holiday gifts that will be unique, high in quality, and could be an heirloom for generations. For more information visit their website
at www.eowas.us, or contact Bob Block, Event Coordinator, at (918) 693-2418, or Bill Payne at (918) 251-8734.
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