Nekoosa couple sharpens marriage through wood carving

Published: Sep. 17, 2019 at 10:43 AM CDT
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"I started carving this out of a block of wood yesterday," Clark Snyder said, showing off a golf club he’s working on.

For a dozen years, Clark has been carving art.

"A friend of mine from work brought some carvings to show and I thought, gee I'd like to try that. I've been hooked ever since."

Wife Sarajane joined in 6 years ago, somewhat reluctantly.

"The way the carving club works is if he joins, his spouse is automatically a member," she said.

And now?

"It was fun. I really like it," said with a smile.

Each have their own style.

"Caricature carving. Walking sticks. Canes," Clark said.

"Rustic and unusual wood. Mixed media things,” added Sarajane.

Sarajane has made a career as an artist. Drawing, painting and basket weaving and now incorporates carving into her works.

"I'm really quite fond of this wishing well basket with the curly handle behind me," she said of her favorite piece or art.

"She's way better than I am," Clark said with a big laugh.

Retired after 43 years at the paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids, Clark's first project is his favorite.

"Huge, fat stick. And I carved and carved and carved on it. Took me a year, but I got Best of Show," he said proudly.

More times than not, you'll find them in the studio, together. In silence.

"Often an hour will go by and we don't say anything," said Clark.

Clark shares his passion for carving at Camp Ausome in St. Germain, working with autistic children.

"It's called a comfort bird,” Clark said, about the project the 44 kids worked on. “The kids got to sand them down, smooth them and put finish on them and then they're able to carry this thing around and think about how fun it was at camp."

An ambassador to the craft.

"He's more interactive. He does these little projects and hands them to people," said Sarajane.

No matter the skill level, as he tried to show me how to carve an ax. But better off left to the experts.

"We're supposed to sharpen our knives after every 20 minutes of carving,” he said as he continued to shave the wood.

At the end of the conversation, Clark proclaims, "looks like a golf club to me."