Wood Sculptures

Wood Sculptures - FAQs

What is wood carving used for?

As with any other art form, wood sculptures are of many different types. Some of the wood sculpture art are bas reliefs on small and large pieces of the medium as well as life-size figurines. There are varying sizes of wood sculptures for the home and office spaces. The purpose of this art could be anyone or a combination of the following among others: 

  • Architectural ornamentation
  • Furniture
  • Music
  • Religious worship
  • Historic record
  • Printing
  • Masks
  • Symbolism
  • Storytelling
  • Good luck
What is wood art?

Wood art is a comprehensive, umbrella term that describes different forms of art using wood as the primary medium of expression, by treating it in a variety of ways. This of course includes wood sculptures. Wood carving is one of the oldest types of wood art and is a common feature in cultures across the globe, starting as early as the Stone Age.

For several millennia, many wood sculptures have been made for functional purposes; such as spears, pipes, paddles, totem poles, utensils and more. Further, wood has also been used to enhance mankind’s technological prowess. As far as wood art is considered, timber being widely available,  has been a primary reason for becoming the choice for both ancient as well as contemporary wood carving artists.

What is the origin of wood carving?

As it is one of the most ancient of art forms, the origin of wood carving cannot be precisely fixed to a particular year in time. Humans have carved wood for utilitarian uses as far back as the Middle Paleolithic Age and this is evidenced by articles such as the Clacton Spear and the Venus Figurines. The medium for wood sculptures, whose availability was widespread at a relatively low cost, was only limited by its perishability. Water, fire, fungi and degradation have posed as great hurdles to preserving ancient hand-carved wood sculptures.

Some of the wood sculptures, which have made it through the tests of time, are from Ancient Egypt and the Mesolithic period. Wood carvings can be found in many ancient civilizations such as Japanese, Mesopotamian and Early Classical Greek also. 

How do you make a wooden sculpture?

Below are some of the techniques used for the purpose of creating wood sculptures:

  • Wood carving – It is one of the most common of wood sculpting techniques. Traditionally wood is worked on with hand tools.
  • Chip carving – The sculptor uses knives or chisels to remove small pieces of wood from a single, flat piece of wood.
  • Relief carving – This sculptural technique involves carving figurines onto a flat panel of wood that project out slightly and do not stand freely.
  • Woodturning – A lathe or some other means of rotating the piece of wood at high speed while using a stationary tool to carve it. 
What type of wood is best for sculpting?

Wood sculptures require a malleable yet study medium. There are two categories into which wood can be divided, depending on the artist’s requirements, which are softwood and hardwood. Some of the kinds of wood which are used by wood sculpting artists are listed below:

  • Fruit Wood – This is the timber procured from fruit yielding trees such as apple, pear and cherry.
  • Basswood – It is the easiest of timbers to carve and recommended for beginners.
  • Oak – Being one of the strongest kinds of wood, it is ideal for furniture.
  • Black Walnut – Used by many for relief carving, this is a harder timber.
  • Butternut – It is a relatively easy medium to work with that can be stained well.

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