Sandi Alldredge is a wife, mother of five, property manager for a rental cabin in Brown County and at times a housekeeper. But she still finds time for a passion that gives her gratification and joy — woodcarving.
Many of the pieces Alldredge creates are commissioned to mark a special event or even the life of a loved one. Some depict a grand accomplishment, and others represent an endearing memory.
Her father got her interested in woodcarving years ago. What began as a hobby with a 16-inch scroll saw and a few pattern books soon escalated to projects far more complex. Before long she found herself selling wood art with her father at regional craft shows and flea markets.
Handmade gifts with that personalized touch became the norm for family members. The difficulty of the projects increased as Alldredge learned more about the craft.
Her father passed away five years ago. She believes the woodworking is a way to keep in touch with him as she strives to develop the creative side of her personality.
“It’s one of the gifts God gave me,” she said. “Every time I deliver a completed piece, I see smiles and happy people. I am one of God’s children that create smiles,” she said.
Alldredge is always searching for ideas and new pieces to create.
“I get my ideas everywhere. I just have this gift of seeing anything turned into a piece of wood art. I get requests all of the time. People ask, ‘Can you make …’ My answer is always ‘Yes!’”
For Alldredge, creating a woodcarving is sometimes an emotional journey. One piece she remembers vividly is the plaque she carved for the memorial of family friend Jack Slaybaugh. Slaybaugh had been a law enforcement officer for decades and a detective for the Indiana State Police. Alldredge worked to create a carving inspired by Slaybaugh’s state police badge.
A second piece that is especially
meaningful to Alldredge is one she created for her mother. In it, Alldredge used mountains to signify her mother’s strength, the sun to represent brightness, and water to denote her gentleness, much like the waves lapping on the sand of a beach.
Alldredge dreams about opening her own shop one day. Spending all of her time at a studio to create the art is a goal she would love to fulfill. In the meantime, she sells her art in local shops and at craft fairs.
Carol Edwards is retired after a 30-year career teaching elementary school students at Greenwood schools.