Woodcarving can be an art

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Michelle Robertson

Friday, January 28, 2011

You"ll be pleased to see the Woodcarving Competition results for 2010 now up online. Whilst uploading the images and comments this morning, it brought it all back to me how rewarding it is being Editor of a magazine which deals with such a beautiful craft. Woodcarving in its many forms of In the Round, Relief, Painted, Pyrography, Architectural Carving, Power Carving, Chainsaw Carving... all of it is wonderful and it makes me wish that artists and the art industry in general, would recognise carving for the beauty and the skill which we all put into this fine craft.

Why is it that a marble or stone sculpture is recognised as a work of art but if a beautiful sculpture of a bird, or an antomical study of a person or a wonderful relief image of a beautiful landscape are presented in wood, it isn"t widely accepted as art. I have had arguments with my "arty" friends who dismiss my claims that woodcarving can be art but when I argue the case, they tend to start seeing my reasoning. Yes there are areas of carving that is done purely for personal intention which can be viewed as a hobby, but what makes a painting, drawing, photo or pottery an art which cannot be applied to carving?

There are some paintings which just show splashes of colour, and weird things thrown together in an art room (broom sticking out of a desk for instance) and called abstract, which are considered "art". I wonder how they even got to be considered artistic, imaginative, creative or beautiful when a glorious and beautiful carving that took hours of love and skill can be dismissed as just a piece of wood and not art. Similarly, I wouldn"t class a poor drawing I did many years ago or the way I shoved some random objects into a cupboard to make the house look tidy, a work of art.

I"m not saying every carving should be considered art, just as I am saying not every drawing, painting or photo should be either. What I am saying is that art should be credited where something is created that stirs the mind, catches the eye, is produced with skill and strikes awe into the viewer, then that to me is art. And that to me is what woodcarving does to me very often.

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