POCATELLO — On a typical sunny day at the Portneuf Valley Farmer’s Market, Wichita Blundell watches over his booth filled with intricately carved woodwork.
The Pocatello native is the owner of Wich’s Wonders, and he’s been selling his wood carvings at the farmer’s market for 19 years. As a old school local artisan, the market is one of the only places people can regularly find his work. He doesn’t have a website, or use social media to promote his business.
It wasn’t always his primary focus. For 26 years, he worked with Rocky Mountain Publishing in Blackfoot before retiring. Since then wood carving has become more central in his life.
“It’s something to keep me busy and keep my mind active in retirement and instead of just becoming a vegetable,” Blundell said.
His love for carving wood has been nearly lifelong, and developed while he was in high school. Blundell graduated in 1977.
“It intrigued me. I like the smell of the wood when it’s freshly cut and then being able to make things, useful items with my hands,” he said.
His love and skill for the craft grew exponentially, when in 1985 he got a scroll saw, which is a reciprocating type saw that uses extremely small blades. This was an inexpensive way for him to start creating more intricate carvings.
“I took it to the next level,” Blundell said
In high school, Blundell had mostly just made cutting boards. After he got his scroll saw, he started to make baskets with detailed patterns.
His work has only grown more intricate as the years have progressed.
People who are interested in purchasing wood carvings from Blundell can find him every Saturday at the Portneuf Valley Farmer’s Market. He will also be at Crafts and Drafts at Portneuf Valley Brewing in Pocatello on Nov. 25 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Nov. 26 from noon to 5 p.m.
Blundell charges for his carvings based on the time it took him to create it at $15 per hour. These crafts can take anywhere from one to 10 hours.
People who want to order custom wood work from Blundell can reach him at email@example.com or (208) 705-0729. He has a rule that he doesn’t create wood carvings of trademarked characters.
Since Blundell is retired, he doesn’t need to run Wich’s Wonders, but it’s something he greatly enjoys.
“It just satisfies,” Blundell said. “It’s just satisfying to be able to make something and make something useful.