Mary May Carving Class

To say this was an adventure is an understatement. I cannot remember ever having so much fun and learning so much.

Mary and her husband Stephen were quite gracious and entertaining. Then enter David May and his wife Barbara, Mary’s mother and father in law, David is a metal engraver among many other things, but he definitely missed his calling being a comedian. I have never laughed so much but yet learned so much. I just can’t express the amount of talent that exist in this family.

Mary is absolutely amazing in her carving ability and in her ability to teach. One of the things I walked away with was a better understanding of the video teaching thing. I have all of Mary’s DVDs as well I subscribe to her show, which can be found at  , even if you’ve never carved or ever had the desire to carve you need to check this out, it’s just fabulous, and at $10 a month you can’t go wrong .

I have often had folks tell me that the videos and so forth really help and they learned a lot but that   seeing it in person made a huge difference. I fully understand that now. I can now go back and watch Mary show or DVDs and they are perfectly clear. It really does make a huge difference. That has now prompted me to think more on classes and so forth .

I can’t say for sure but I also think Mary had a good time , there were seven of us, the largest class she’s ever had in her shop, but I can assure you it was a blast . She has mentioned perhaps another ” group” class, sounds good to me , I would go back in a heartbeat , and we have discussed collaborating on some projects so who knows what the future holds .

In case you don’t know I’m quite fond of  seafood , especially oysters on the half shell .  So we find this little place called “West Ashley Crab Shack” , and this is definitely oyster  season . So we go over and check it out , and sure enough they got oysters .To make a long story short, we ate a few oysters, as in , we went back every night .Did I mention they have crabs and all sorts of seafood, by the way if you go there and you like shrimp try the Beauford Stew, you won’t be disappointed, also they have one of the best ” Shrimp and Grits” I have ever had , a southern delicacy that you will enjoy even if you don’t like grits , which I can’t imagine anyone not liking grits .

On the way down we stopped in Murrells Inlet to see Marty Miller and Al Gunther, and  their wives, and stayed the night were treated to a fine Italian dinner , and breakfast .

Al and Marty had both been down  to a one day class with Mary , so Wednesday afternoon they rode down and visited, then of course we had to go to the Crab Shack for dinner.

So it was me, Carl Letts,  Bill Wayland ( a.k.a.Geezer ) , Norm Reid, Jim Pell and Jeff Fleisher, and John Peckham , so it was a great group of guys and good friends as well . I just don’t think it could have gotten any better .  The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful .

I will say this again check out Mary’s website and see where she’s going to be teaching or drop her an email and scheduled a class . I know she will be traveling to many different places teaching , in any case  don’t miss out.

We are still gathering photos so perhaps in the next few days will get some up and I know some of the guys have blogs as well so hopefully they will post photos  and put links in the comments. Unfortunately I have to sort through my photos , as many are self-incriminating  (: .

That’s about it for now, all I can say is again if you get a chance get to one of Mary’s classes you won’t be disappointed.

Catch y’all later,

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8 Responses to Mary May Carving Class

  1. DocSavage45 says:


    You are a gracious (sp?) guy who knows how to live and learn. Sounds like a great experience for you. 🙂

    P.S. Getting my shop equipment assembled….finally. LOL!

    Tom/aka DocSavage45

  2. Glad you all (or should I say y’all) had a great time, I’m very envious of all you guys having such a cool woodworking/carving safari . I know we will be seeing some of what you have learned in future MWW shows. As hard as you work Charles you deserve some fun time.

  3. Marty Miller says:

    Charles – It was great to host you and catch up with the six other fellow travelers. I had met Carl, Norm and Jeff at classes in New Market and knew of the others from the forum and show. To say that we all had a good time is an understatement. Seafood, adult beverages and woodworkers is a combination not to be missed.

    Mary is great. I learned a lot in my one day class, but more importantly I learned not to be intimidated by carving. A few sharp tools and little direction and it off to carving land. Like you, I have started Mary’s online tutorials and really like them. One of the great moments from the visit Al and I made to Mary’s on Wednesday was seeing the seven of you tucked is every corner of Mary’s shop, working away without a murmur – just the sound of chisel on wood. Of course the silence didn’t last too long before some on had a wise comment or Jim was looking for another bandaid.

    I think a collaboration with Mary on a project would be a great idea. Count me in. I also think you and “Geezer” are a indescribable combination and one I don’t want to miss in the future.


  4. Carl says:

    I too was VERY glad I took this class! I subscribe to her online videos and they’re great, but attending a class and being there in person is even better. It’s a confidence builder when you’re new to something (and make an “oops”), and you have someone right there to show you how to fix it (kinda reminds me of Mastering Woodworking webisodes). I learned a good term our first day in class…………Design Change.

  5. Bill Wayland says:

    Charles, You have a great following of common interest friends and I’m happy to be involved. Like Marty said, I knew some of the guys, but it was like we were all old friends within moments. I had seen comments and questions authored by these guys so it all just fit together.
    Mary is a fantastic instructor and kept seven feisty curmudgeons in line and learning, amazing feat. I also have joined her web-a-sodes. They have a slightly different tone than Charles show, nuff said. She’s a great Splainer of stuff and I’m fix’n to go back soon.
    I gained 9 pounds, and I’ve been accused of drinking beer and eating chocolate cake and pecan pie and key lime pie and having appetizers and soup and salad in addition to the oysters and the crab legs etc. which Charles claims ain’t fattening. I’ll see this argument go on for ever.
    Well, then we met Mary’s father-in-law, David. A true renaissance man. This guy is an engraver, clock builder, tall ship builder, historian and standup comedian, well not for a living but just a natural. We were all laughing our …. selves silly.
    Anyway, this all led to more talk of planned trips and classes, so start thinking of REALLY good excuses to get away for a week or long weekend. Some ideas are museums, historic homes, Antique Shows etc. and, of course Laughter. Keep your eyes open for ideas.
    I’ve been working on my genealogy and it has added a dimension to woodworking I didn’t think about at first, but knowing how my family may have had and used some of the projects gives them a closer meaning. Opps, there I go analyzing again.

    • Carl says:

      Don’t try denying ANYTHING, Bill. I was sitting across the table from you when the poor waiter asked you if he could “get this out of the way for you” when you still had 2 bites of pecan pie left. He didn’t realize you were just getting your second wind, he honestly thought you were done with your pie. (I think the manager had to console him in the kitchen ‘cuz you skeer’d him so bad) P.S. I said it then and I’ll say it again. It was impressive watching you eat (andeatandeatandeatandeatandeatandeat), those crab legs Monday night. ;o)

      • Bill Wayland says:

        Carl, I’m not denying anything. I know I was bad to the bone, but my point is, I was eating and not talking and still finished way behind everyone else on Crab Night. And I’ll never believe that butter drippin’ crab ain’t fattening. Somebody stuffed my bucket with extra crab!

  6. Jeff Fleisher says:

    I (we) had an exceptionally fun and educational time at Mary’s class. Mary is a master carver and an extremely good instructor. For each of the projects that we worked on (ball & claw foot, finial, Newport Shell, Acanthus Leaf) she demonstrated a certain set of techniques, stopped at a logical point and had us carve to that point. While we were carving, Mary would visit each of us and give one-on-one suggestions and guidance. Then we continued on in the same manner…all very clear and at a good pace…..and our carvings ended up looking just like hers (don’t we wish!!!). We found ourselves wanting to get to Mary’s shop earlier and earlier each day…we started at 9am on Monday and by Wednesday we were asking her if she could open the doors at 7:30am…and then the time just flew.

    Mary emphasized the need to go home and to immediately continue to carve to instill that ‘muscle memory’ in ourselves so I’m off to make some mahogany blanks and make the transition from basswood to mahogany….shouldn’t be a problem!

    I highly recommend one of Mary’s classes if you are interested in learning how to carve. Mary has projects for the completely inexperienced to several that are very challenging so there is something for everyone.

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