Woodcarvers return to Bismarck for open house

BISMARCK, N.D. - Woodcarvers from across the states and even Canada showed off their skills at a very special event.

What started out as a sponsored event by the Bismarck Parks and Rec department has turned into a generational club and annual event. For the past 50 years, the Flickertail Woodcarvers have drawn up creativity from tens of thousands of minds.

"This is a great way to show people how they can bring out the artists in themselves," said Dale Heulund, Flickertail Woodcarvers president.

From wolves, to bears, and even Santa the detailed art work and its creators of all skill levels are showing off their creations to the public at an open house Saturday and Sunday afternoon. But the newest members won't be alone.

"We bring them in from across the region and across the world to help us understand," said Heulund.

Talented woodcarvers are brought in to teach classes at this main event and gather new members for the club.

It all started as a Parks and Rec event in 1968, but the community quickly wanted to make woodcarving a regular outing. And so in 1969, the club was founded.

Clara Yonker, one of the founding members, is still working hard with her latest masterpieces.

"It's something I can physically do, use my muscles and create whatever," said Yonker.

Yonker says she still sometimes uses her original tools from 1969. She doesn't sell her artwork and some of the time gives her art to family. One thing she enjoys is making hearts for the Bismarck Cancer Center.

"When people are finished with their treatment they get to chose a heart and these hearts are made with different woods and different and they're beautiful" said Yonker

Over the past five years, more than a thousand hearts have been donated.

Some of the artwork from over the years will be on display at the Veteran's Memorial Pubic Library by the end of October until January.

The event continues Sunday at the Bismarck Career Academy from 1 to 4:30 p.m.