The wood carving story...
considered to best
illustrate the vitality and fertility of nature in both subject matter
and technique. Wood was used for
furniture and the wide variety of
fittings and ritual objects in the service of religion such as cabinets, tables, chairs,
beds, mirrors, boats,
and decorating items.
woodcarvers are free of restrictive iconography. They often sought inspiration
from their surroundings: the
luxurious tropical lifestyle and the real
or imaginary creatures who populate it. This resulted in an emphasis on
the decorative, on ornamentation which
is characteristic of Asian art...Its
movement and drapery, all of which are of primary importance in Western art.
Unaffected by restrictions of material as experienced by bronze
workers or stone sculptors, woodcarvers employed a composite technique.
This allowed an artist to carve individual parts of work separately and then
assemble them. The resulting spontaneity parallels the creativity of
The earliest remaining pieces date from the 16th century with the best
preserved in museums. The sophistication of these woodcarvings suggests
that there had been a rich developing tradition of woodworking
over prior centuries. The finest wood
sculpture was closely associated with architecture, and animals were a favorite
are made of hardwood .Sometimes the hammering section may be made from hardwood,
while the handle is made from softwood. Wood
mallets are preferred because of their light weight which makes it better for
handling and because it causes less damage to the handles of the tools.
.Firmers and gouges The
most essential tools for wood carving for creating designs and depths.
They are made from cast-iron, and may be used with or without handles,
depending on individual craftsmen ís preferences
Some important types are as follows:
firmers These are straight-blade
tools, coming in varying width from 1.27-2.54 cm. Used for straight-line carving
and for grounding.
Skew firmers These have
cutting edges at an angle with the axis of the tool. used for scraping or
squaring up inside corners or in finishing inside narrow grooves. There are other more specialized gouges for specialized
purposes like bent gouges for making hollows.
implements include carpentry tools like saws, files. planes, knives, drills,
glue, pencils and sandpaper. On rare occasion some electric tools are used,
though the main bulk of woodcarving such as we are presenting is mainly be done
knowledge of the characteristics of wood-durability, hardness, and grain-is
essential for woodcarvers so as to choose suitable types of wood for different
kinds of works, though it seems that the color of the wood was of scarce
importance to craftsmen in the old days, for most work was subsequently gilded, lacquered,
or decorated with glass. Care must
also be taken in making sure that wood is without any blemish like knots or
all kinds of wood, teak has been the most popular.
A medium-hard wood, it has a light-brown, slightly coarse-grained
texture. lt is very durable,
resistant to insect attack, with low elasticity.
Hence it was traditionally used for gables, door frames, and important
kinds of wood are ta-kien (Hopea odorata Roxb.) once used for plows.
Now that teak is very expensive and rare, large-sized works are much
harder to find .
Wood carving is, for now reserved for furniture or handicrafts, interior
decorations or souvenirs. For which it is necessary to use
other kinds of wood like khanun wood (Artocarpus family) or cham cha wood
A pattern is necessary for wood carving.
Hence at the initial step of carving, the pattern designer is as
important as the carver. They have to work together even before the carving
begins, for not every pattern is suitable or possible for carving.
It is like a fine ice sculpture...working with a large piece and slowly and
meticulously cutting away from it until you finally get the desired end
sculpture. The difference is that while an ice sculpture can take a few
hours to produce, the pieces we are presenting can take days and even weeks just
to produce one piece!
the old days a pattern was first drawn on a piece of paper before it was then
positioned on the block of wood and held firmly in place.
A Cloth-compress with chalk inside war next used to sprinkle powder well
over the wood. In the case of
light-coloured wood, charcoal dust was used.
The paper was then removed, leaving the pattern on the wood.
the process is developed , and it is easy to transfer, magnify or reduce
patterns. Hence it is possible to
reproduce patterns through photocopying or tracing the pattern on to thin paper
which is then pasted on to the wood and left to dry before beginning carving
small-sized firmer is first used to scrape off the wood, making a ground around
the pattern. Next a straight-blade firmer is used to peel
off the ground layer by layer to achieve the desired depth which is then
smoothed out in preparation for finishing decoration.
Once the pattern is well separated from the ground, a scew firmer is used
to finish off fine angles or depths of the pattern.
free-standing sculpture, a knife or a chisel is used to cut off the wood into a
rough shape before whittling the fine details.
Once a pattern has been cut, it is often necessary to redraw the pattern
and recut it several times, unless the carver is truly skillful.
last stage of finishing off the fine details is often done with a file or with
sandpaper to prepare the work for decoration.
Many of the pieces we have to offer are made out of a single piece of wood, and on occasion there is another piece or so attached.
This would be the case in the palm mirror with the village scene below. The palms are carved separately out of a piece of wood and attached. The scene, however is painstakingly carved with every detail in mind. These works of art are truly amazing to us...the pictures , unfortunately, don't tell the story of these fine detailed works of art. When you see one up close, in person you will see for yourself...you will be asking yourself...how did they do that?
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