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Introduction to Woodcarving

Woodcarving is a wonderful hobby enjoyed by many people around the globe.  It's universal
appeal no doubt lies in its versatility, in that there are endless ways in which you can unleash
your creative potential.  Whether you consider yourself a whittler or a sculptor makes no
difference as long as you are enjoying the art of woodcarving.  Below are some of the different
styles of woodcarving you will encounter in your new hobby. 

In the Round
This term describes the style enjoyed by most carvers.  Simply put, it is anything carved three
dimensionally.  The subject matter can be anything from a bird to an abstract sculpture of a human. 
There are some different groups in this style that you will encounter which are:

   Realistic - Describes anything carved with absolute realism as your goal, whether the subject
matter is animal, human or still life.   Common woods used are basswood, tupelo and butternut.

   Caricature - This style can also describe any subject matter, but the carving will have one or
more exaggerated features.  Usually caricature carvings are of human or animal subjects.  Most
caricatures are carved from basswood.

   Stylized - Stylized carvings are typified by their smooth, undetailed appearance.  The smooth
gentle curves and flowing lines of stylized carvings move this style into more of a sculpture category
and is an excellent choice of carvers wishing to let the beauty of the wood prevail.  For this fact, the
most common woods carved in this category are butternut, cherry, maple, mesquite and others.

This terms refers to carvings in which the subject is carved down into a block of wood.   Perspective
is the key in relief carving.  The skillful relief carver wants to fool the viewers eye by making the carving
appear to have more depth than wood available.  Relief carvings are best displayed as wall hangings
with overhead lighting as this brings out the light and shadow effect.  Can be carved in any type of wood.

Chip Carving
Chip carving is a very popular style of woodcarving normally utilizing only two cutting tools.  This style of
carving is a very traditional style used for decorating or enhancing an item whether it be a box, plate or
any number of wooden items.  Preferred wood of chip carvers is basswood.

Woodburning is commonly performed by realistic bird and animal carvers to give the fur and feathers on
their carvings a realistic appearance.  Woodburning is also highly popular as an art of its own with artists
producing some incredible works of a variety of subjects.  Basswood and gourds are popular with
woodburning artists. 



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