Virtual Table: Becky Barnes

Mom, Paleontologist, Woodworker, Cat-hoarder

My name is Becky Barnes – I joined the Flickertail Woodcarvers in 2017 after trying to find a group of woodworkers to hang out with.  I do a style of woodwork called “Intarsia” which uses different colors of wood to create pictures.

I began focusing on woodwork as a hobby in 2010 by accident, really.  That year I became engaged and wanted to work up favors for close family and the wedding party, and was looking for ideas. Previously, I had taken a stained-glass class, and enjoyed it immensely, but decided against pursuing it because at that time I didn’t have a place to keep it separate from the house.  I didn’t want to risk getting glass shards in kitty paws.  Then I remembered my Grandpa Bud’s woodshop.  I used to spend tons of time working in it with him when I was younger – I wondered – was there a way to combine the look of stained glass with wood?  I sent my Uncle to find me different colors of wood, while I drafted up potential patterns.  I jumped in with both feet, purchased a scroll saw and sanders, and started creating.  I worked up the simplest pattern first – I figured if I couldn’t do that one, then why continue?  Well, it turned out ok, and I learned a lot.  So, I decided to jump on the most difficult pattern next.  Why bother working through the rest, only to fail at the end?  That one turned out ok too!  I love the sawing and sanding, and nature’s selection of wood colors.

I only started carving after joining the Flickertails.  They are such a joy to spend time with.  I was impressed with how much they tried to give back to the community – through carving hearts for cancer survivors, or snow-snakes for elementary classes.  Involving scout troops for intro carving, and hosting beginner carving classes for the public in general.  I was worried at first my woodworking wouldn’t be accepted by these traditional carvers, then found out that some of their members also do intarsia!  It was great – I found my people!  There is such a diversity of carving styles there – and we all learn from each other.