are interested in the making of woodcarvings?
THE TRADITION OF WOODCARVING
Woodcarving is a
classic art form that has been perfected by the artisans of
Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland
throughout the centuries.
indication is a report dated from the year 1111
where Rottenbuch -monks having visited the Ammer valley
brought that art of carving all kinds of house hould goods
"Berchtesgadener County". The carving tradition
of religious subjects
is supposed to be traced back to the Ettal pilgrimages. A
of a Florentine citizen coming down from the year 1520
praised the elegance of the carving products of Oberammergau.
In 1563 the Ammergau carvers were awarded for their work
an own craftsmen regulations by the abbot of Ettal.
Toy woodcarvings in South Tyrol have been traced back to
as 11 A.D. Since then, each passing year has produced more
artisans and a progression from toys, to religious
artifacts, to todayís
decorative collectible figurines.
art of woodcarving has been lovingly passed down
for generations by the families of these European regions,
to build its current fame and success.
While the desire
to fashion wood into intricate carvings has been bred into generations of
woodcarvers, the skill to do so must be learned. Many of the
artisans from Europeís woodcarving regions have attended
an Art Academy.
Four years of apprenticeship follow the formal education.
It is during the apprenticeship that the artisanís own unique style
emerges, resulting in the
fascinating variety of woodcarvings available today.
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THE ART OF
carvers breathe life into seasoned wood, keeping the lost art of
woodcarving alive and respected. Over the years, carvers have learned how
technology can enhance their detailed figurines. Todayís modern
technology, in the hands of skilled artisans, have resulted, finest
woodcarvings step by step:
1. Artists prepare designs for woodcarvings.
2. Before carving into wood, the carver fashions a
three-dimensional clay model from the artistís
approved drawing. From this, he creates a carved wooden
master model. After the wooden model has been perfected, the carver selects blocks of wood from which to carve identical
3. By the time the carver is ready for the wood, it has
comprehensive "qualifying" process. The first
step begins with the
cutting of select maple and linden trees at least 75 years
Imperfect and knotted boards are discarded. Next, the wood
is allowed to dry naturally for up to four years
until it has a moisture content of only 8-12%. This
drying process is of upmost importance as it brings out the grain of the wood and eliminates the possibility of cracking. The
drying process is carefully monitored to ensure
that the wood of each carving will "live" forever
without suffering the effects of time and moisture.
4. The seasoned boards are cut into blocks of varying
master carvers select from among the various woods for the
piece that is perfect for their needs. Alpine maple
is the wood most frequently used by carvers due to
its clean, lightly veined appearance and hard unknotted
texture. A carving of great size or detail, however, may be better
suited to linden wood. A lathe is used to give the selected wood block
a rough silhouette of the design itís to become.
5. Each carving is hand-crafted and entirely
handpainted from start to
finish. The detail work requires a killed craftsman,
much dedication, and an intricate set of hand
7. The perfectly carved figurines are lovingly painted.
Some are gilded or given a natural woodís
personality. Though each
carving is fashioned after a master model, no two are
Each carving takes on a distinct character as mandated by
the grain and colour of the wood.
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