Woodworker demonstrates for art league

DeKALB – Wood carving is the subject of this month’s demonstration at the Kishwaukee Valley Art League. The demonstrator will be Big Rock woodcarver Bob Mau.

Local residents may remember seeing Mau at work at the Northern Illinois Art Show from 2003 to 2005, when the Kishwaukee Woodcarvers regularly demonstrated their work there. Mau was president of that organization at that time.

Mau has always liked working with wood. On a canoe trip in 1989, he got the idea of carving a souvenir oar. After many mistakes, the result was only about 4 inches long, but he had so much fun that woodcarving became his hobby.

Most of Mau’s work is heads and faces, particularly busts of Native Americans and frontier characters, but he enjoys any type of wood carving except birds. His carvings are generally realistic, done primarily on basswood or butternut. He often spends 160 to 200 hours on a single bust. Mau is retired from a job as head of accelerator operations at Fermilab; woodworking was his main method of relaxation.

At the KVAL meeting, Mau will show a brief slideshow on wood carving and will show the tools he uses in his work. He will show several of his carvings and demonstrate his technique by carving a “wood spirit.”  Mau is a member of three carving clubs, is president of the International Wood Carving Congress and serves on the advisory board for Wood Carving Magazine.

KVAL is a nonprofit group that meets the first Thursday of each month except January. KVAL invites anyone with an interest in the arts in general or woodworking in particular to attend the meeting. There is no admission charge or membership obligation to attend, and refreshments will be served after the demonstration. For more information, go to

Kishwaukee Valley Art League

7 p.m. Oct. 4
Unitarian Universalist Church
158 N. Fourth St., DeKalb

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