Styles of Woodcarving

Woodcarving is a wonderful hobby enjoyed by many people around the world.  It's universal appeal probably lies in its versatility. 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 in three dimensions.  The subject matter can be anything from a realistic bird carving  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 for carvers wishing to let the beauty of the wood show.  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 items.  Preferred wood of chip carvers is basswood.

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

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