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Willmar artist Fred Cogelow named Woodcarver of the Year

Bernard Shultz of Morton, left, and Fred Cogelow of Willmar visit about a carving that Schultz was the subject of during a reception Nov. 13, 2012, for Cogelow’s show at the SMAHC gallery in Marshall. Cogelow was recently named 2013 Woodcarver of the Year. (Tribune file photo by Ron Adams)

WILLMAR - For Willmar artist Fred Cogelow, early success came at a local level.

Over the span of his 35-year career, however, the self-taught woodcarver has amassed an impressive national following and now, the title of 2013 Woodcarver of the Year from "Woodcarving Illustrated" magazine, a publication devoted to the art and hobby of woodcarving and design.

It's an honor that follows many others on his shelf, including 12 Best of Show awards at the International Woodcarvers Congress. In an article in "Woodcarving Illustrated," Cogelow recalls how his first IWC award helped his reputation in the Willmar area, which eventually led to a national recognition of his work.

"It gave my name a bit of panache," Cogelow said in the article. "People viewed my work with the expectation that it was exceptional. It helped give me a strong local backing, which was very important."

Cogelow now makes between 15 and 20 smaller pieces and four to five major works each year. He usually carves in butternut. He combines relief techniques with realism, and his pieces sometimes have a social commentary attached to them.

Cogelow was chosen as the 2013 Woodcarver of the Year for his "artistic eye, talented hands, and senses of humor and style," said "Woodcarving Illustrated" publisher Alan Giagnocavo in the magazine.

For more information about "Woodcarving Illustrated" and the Woodcarver of the Year award, visit or call 800-457-9112.