Wood Carving as Art?

This week in Sculpture and Horse & Dogs are new additions of hand carved wood works. So much carved wood objects you see today are made by machine or mass produced it is easy to forget about it as an artistic medium. Following is some information on wood carving ;

In carving history figure-work seems to have been universal. To carve a figure in wood may be not only more difficult but also less satisfactory than sculpting with marble, owing to the tendency of wood to crack, to be damaged by insects, or to suffer from changes in the atmosphere. The texture of the material, too, often proves challenging to the expression of features, especially in the classic type of youthful face. On the other hand, magnificent examples exist of the more rugged features of age: the beetling brows, the furrows and lines neutralizing the defects of the grain of the wood. In ancient work the surface may not have been of such consequence, for figures as a rule being painted for protection and especially color.

Vintage carved wood modernist figure

Vintage Mid Century Modernist Figure

In the early 20th century, the Encyclopædia Britannica, on which much of this entry is based, commented, “Of late years carving has gone out of fashion. The work is necessarily slow and requires substantial skill, making the works expensive. Other and cheaper methods of decoration have driven carving from its former place. Machine work has much to answer for, and the endeavor to popularize the craft by means of the village class has not always achieved its own end. The gradual disappearance of the individual artist, elbowed out as he has been, by the contractor, is fatal to the continuance of an art which can never flourish when done at so much a yard.” This statement has proven untrue, as the continued survival of the art and craft of woodcarving can be demonstrated by the large number of woodcarvers who have carried on or advanced the tradition in different parts of the world.

Luckily woodcarving may be rare but is not a dead art!


vintage forties carved wood doberman bookends

Vintage 40’s Carved Wood Dobermans

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