Tradition of Wood Carving 

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You 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.

The earliest 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 to the
"Berchtesgadener County". The carving tradition of religious subjects
is supposed to be traced back to the Ettal pilgrimages. A travel report 
of a Florentine citizen coming down from the year 1520 already
praised the elegance of the carving products of Oberammergau.
In 1563 the Ammergau carvers were awarded for their work with
an own craftsmen regulations by the abbot of Ettal.
Toy woodcarvings in South Tyrol have been traced back to as early
as 11 A.D. Since then, each passing year has produced more skilled
artisans and a progression from toys, to religious artifacts, to todayís 
decorative collectible figurines.

The treasured art of woodcarving has been lovingly passed down 
for generations by the families of these European regions, helping 
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 WOODCARVING

Artists and 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 carvings.

Creation of 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 figurines.

3. By the time the carver is ready for the wood, it has undergone a
comprehensive "qualifying" process. The first step begins with the
cutting of select maple and linden trees at least 75 years old.
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 sizes. The
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 forged tools. 

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 exactly alike. 
Each carving takes on a distinct character as mandated by the grain and colour of the wood.

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Almdorf Ammertal - Traditional Bavarian Art

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Stand: 31. Januar 2001