Artistry in Wood event planned March 15-16 in Kennewick

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldMarch 6, 2014 

Spokane wood sculptor Tim Rahman will be the featured artist at this year's Tri-City Woodcarvers show March 15-16 at the Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick.

The show, now in its 20th year, will display about 180 carvings from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

Rahman was chosen because of his unique creativity, said Jerry Dilley with the Tri-Cities Woodcarver's Association. His creations range from an old man contemplating his next move on a chess board to a wood-carved 19th century corset.

"I especially seek to find humor in everyday items," Rahman said. "My original inspiration for the corset was from a small picture in a magazine of a sculpture of a corset, standing upright in a very static pose.

"I mulled on that corset for years, finally coming up with the idea to place it in a box with black tissue paper and call it The Witch's Secret."

He found a real corset for his model while shopping at a thrift store. A few weeks later, his wife found a better one at a yard sale.

"The corset lay in a box undisturbed for several weeks while I carved a glued-up block of basswood using mallet tools," Rahman said. "Once the carving was complete and sanded, I used a pattern to transfer the surface design to the corset, then spent hours using a wood burner to create the look of lace."

Another of Rahman's ideas is a quilt-and-cradle creation inspired by his wife's quiltmaking talents, he said.

"I wanted to show carvers what a real quilt carving looks like," he said.

Woodcarving really isn't a dangerous art form to tackle, Rahman said, but it does require patience.

"Woodcarving is actually quite safe, especially when the carver is properly equipped with Kevlar gloves and leather thumb guards," he said.

Visitors to the show will get an eyeful of all Rahman's traditional and whimsy carvings. But none of his originals will be for sale. If someone wants a copy, they can sell anywhere from $100 to $3,000.

"I still have all the originals, except for the eight I do each year for Christmas gifts for relatives," Rahman said.

Rahman retired in 1999 from his electrical engineering job at Washington Water Power. Today, at age 71, he still has plenty of ideas for new woodcarving designs, as well as projects for his home shop and studio.

"I have six pages of double-column, single-spaced ideas and hundreds of pounds of wood waiting to be carved," he said.

He also has a certain number of 'honey-do' assignments from his wife that take time away from carving but also provide satisfaction.

"Last spring I installed oak flooring in two rooms and couldn't throw away or burn the scrap lumber," he said. "I started making switch and outlet plates for the house."

Now his creative mind is conjuring up other ideas to use up the rest of the scrap lumber.

Show hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 15 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 16. Admission is $3 at the door and kids 12 and younger are free.

The Tri-Tech Skills Center is at the corner of Kellogg and Metaline streets in Kennewick.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;; Twitter: @dorioneal

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