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About the Gathering of Woodcarvers

The Gathering of Woodcarvers, AKA the G.O.W. was founded by Master Carver Joe Dillett circa 1998 as the G.P.O. or Great Pig Out, a pig roast (sometimes 2 pigs!) created to raise money for the local Boy Scouts.  After a couple of years, attendance waned and Joe, being a Master Carver and feature writer for Carving Magazine, transformed the G.P.O. into the G.O.W.

At that time the G.O.W. was run basically as a "round-up" where-in attendees pay a small (sometimes no) registration fee and no class fee other than by way of purchasing carving "rough-outs" from the instructor. This seems ideal for the student having minimal funds however, the downside is that the small potential earnings for instructors generally limits those available to mostly local carvers.

2009 was the last year for the original G.O.W. due to difficulties in scheduling dates with the venue and Joe made the decision to suspend operation of the show. He did host a reunion of the G.O.W. at his studio grounds in 2013 which was well-attended by many of the people who helped make it a success in previous years as well as a few new faces, like me Mike Noland.

After attending a considerable number of shows of varying types, I approached Joe with the idea of resurrecting the Gathering of Woodcarvers with the goal of providing opportunities for carvers, whether novice or advanced to learn from some of the finest in the country. The format was restructured to attract professional woodcarvers and students from a broader area. Joe gave me the green light and I immediately began making plans and contacting prospective instructors, vendors, etc.

The "new" Gathering of Woodcarvers" became the "Gathering of Woodcarvers Woodcarving Art Festival" in 2017 and chose the scenic Sandwich Fairgrounds in Sandwich, IL as its' venue at that time. In 2023 the Gathering is moving to Lyon Farm, a historical preservation site managed by the Kendall County Historical Society. Lyon Farm is located on Rte. 71 in Yorkville, IL. (about 45 miles west of Chicago).


We have included such notable carver/instructors as Vic Hood of Leiper's Fork, TN.  and Dylan Goodson from Mohawk, MI. The response from student carvers was excellent and many requested that we repeat the program the following year.

We have taken that enthusiastic support to heart and have repeated hosting the G.O.W. each year since then. Several of our instructors have returned while others have joined us more recently and still others are rotated in our line-up from year to year to meet the demand of our students.

As of this time, donations are NOT tax deductible. We would like to state however, that NO person/s involved with G.O.W. (including myself) receives compensation* for their time or efforts in planning or producing the Gathering of Woodcarvers Woodcarving Art Festival. Our goal is to advance the art of woodcarving and our mission is to provide excellent opportunities for anyone wishing to learn or improve their woodcarving skills. If you wish to donate or become a sponsor of our Festival please contact our Festival Chairman, Mike Noland.

We would like to thank you for supporting our program.


Questions may be directed to: Mike Noland, Festival Chairman


*Occasionally, reimbursements are made for out-of-pocket, necessary expenses incurred in relation to operations. t


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