By: Susan Erler | Category: Gifts & Decor | Issue: June 2010
Renowned artist and Tulsa native Ron Fleming is the special guest at the Wonderful World of Wood Show and Sale on June 18 and 19.
Who ever said that fine art has to be created by pretentious materials? Sometimes the best art is not only inspired by nature, but can be fashioned from materials that come from nature too. World-renowned artist and Tulsa native Ron Fleming is an expert at combining beautiful and exquisite pieces of wood and hand carving them into one-of-a-kind masterpieces. His artwork can be found at the Smithsonian, the Clinton Library in Arkansas, and museums all over the world. And now, Tulsans can meet this very talented artisan at the Wonderful World of Wood Show and Sale, sponsored by the Eastern Oklahoma Woodcarvers Association. Ron is the featured artist at the show, which will be held at the Union 8th Grade Center commons area. Doors are open Friday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This is the 34th year for the show, but only the 7th by the current name. “We changed the name so we could incorporate wood turners, wood workers, wood carvers, and scroll saw artists into the show,” explained show chairperson Flo Hancock. “We wanted them all to be able to participate.”
There are plenty of opportunities for artists to become involved. Categories include: Woodcarving – Chip Carving, Realistic, Caricature, Wildlife, Religious, and Holiday, just to name a few. Wood turners can submit artwork in the spindle turning category as well as bowls, hollow vessels, turned boxes with lids and wood turnings with fancy decorations. Scroll saw artisans can compete in Intarsia, Decorative Functional, Wall Hangings, Ornaments, Toys and Three Dimensional items. There is truly something for everyone who wants to become involved!
“One of the things that we hope comes out of shows like this one is for younger people to come and enjoy and hopefully, gain a desire to learn how to create things with wood themselves,” says Ron. “Most of our artists are more mature, and we don’t want our craft to be lost with our generation. We hope that our skills and talent will just keep getting passed down from generation to generation.” One of the ways local woodcarvers are helping generate this interest is through partnering with the local Boy Scouts. “We teach local scouts the skill of hand carving their bandana holder,” says Flo. “This gives them a basic understanding of what we do and also helps them earn a badge. Some of them have begun creating other pieces of wood art, and those young men show great promise.”
Each day of the show will feature a free basic carving class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for ages 10 and up.
The Wonderful World of Wood Show and Sale will have artists from all over the country showcasing their work. Some have come from as far away as Iowa in the past. Flo expects even more to show interest this year, due to the prestige of meeting and collaborating with someone of the caliber of Ron Fleming. Ron has been involved in the art world for most of his life. He was an acclaimed illustrator for 40 years, complete with an agent in New York City and a list of very impressive clients. However, he found himself becoming burned out with painting and turned to wood as an outlet. It soon became apparent that his new love was going to be creating fine art out of wood, and the rest is history. He has now been working as a wood carver for 25 years and has become an expert in this field. His pieces are on display in Switzerland and England, four are showing at the Smithsonian, and they are in museums and art galleries across the country. His art is truly one of a kind and takes your breath away in its beauty and complicated simplicity. “I love nature,” Ron states. “Whether it be the falling leaves of autumn swirling into a frozen form or a single flower bud unfolding in spring, each piece gives me an opportunity to make a statement about the never-ending rituals of nature’s evolutions.”
The chance to view Ron’s artwork and to see him in action carving at the show will be an opportunity you won’t want to miss. Be sure to mark your calendar, spend an afternoon viewing the amazing work showcased by all of the artists, and bring your children along. You won’t regret it! The event takes place June 18 and 19 in the commons area at Union 8th Grade Center, 6501 S. Garnett, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults, and children 12 and under get in free if accompanied by an adult.