Glenoma resident Fred Jurey enjoys carving and is a master carver. He not only loves doing it, but he also loves teaching it. For him, the reward is passing on his knowledge.
Fred got his start in this art craft 30-some years ago when his wife, Betty, signed him up for a wood carving class at the high school in Snohomish, where they lived at the time. Looking back, it was a natural fit. He had always been active in arts, especially drawing and he’s always been good at working with his hands. The two went well together for carving.
Fred’s first carving was of a Scotty dog. The second was a dragon crawling out of an egg. The instructor, seeing the result of Fred’s work said, “You don’t need to be coming here.” On his instructor’s advice, Fred entered the dragon in a carving competition which earned him “Best of Show” in the novice division.
Fred says the wood carving competitions saw 700-800 entries from people who came from all over back then. “They were fun,” he recalls. “At that time, we had a lot of very good master carvers competing who were world-renowned. But it’s not so today.”
Fred competed for several years, working his way through the divisions from novice, to intermediate, open and expert. Then he started judging and eventually he started teaching 30 years ago.
What Fred enjoys the most is to share his knowledge and experience with other people. “What I get a big kick out of is if someone I taught competes and gets a ribbon,” he says. “Then I feel like I accomplished something.”
Carvers all find their own niches. For Fred, it’s the fantasy niche. While he’s carved animals, birds and characters, he likes to “step outside the box and do something different.”
Years ago, many people tried to talk Fred into doing carving as a profession, but he never took them up on that idea. “I didn’t want to do it as a career because I wanted to be able to enjoy it when I retired,” he says. “When something becomes a career, now it’s a job.”
What he did do for a career is actually a list of jobs. He worked on the railroad, worked in sheet metal, as outside sales for air conditioning, as a machinist in a machine shop, on blueprints in a drafting department, as a fireman and he ran an aid car—but when he retired it was from a machine shop in Everett. He said out of all of it, working on the aid car was the most rewarding.
These days, Fred carves for his own enjoyment and accepts commission work on all types of woodcarving and sculpting. He also holds just one class a month at his Glenoma home.
Back when he taught in Snohomish, others were charging $150 to $200 per class but Fred only charged $65. He recalls that he wanted the person who had a real interest in carving but couldn’t afford such high fees to learn the skill. The other instructors in the area didn’t like him charging so low of a rate because it made them look bad but if they knew his current fee, they’d really be mad.
Today, Fred charges just $35 for classes that run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., plus Betty fixes them lunch. “That’s so people can afford it,” Fred says. Most of his students are retired and they drive in from Chehalis, Longview and Olympia. What’s important to Fred is that he can pass on his knowledge to others.
Fred says he does his art to please himself, not others. “I tell my students who come to please yourself. If you are going to try to please someone else, you will always be disappointed.”
For more information on Fred’s carvings and classes, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-498-5455.