John White woodcarving Chippendale school

BT + T = A

This week and next is all about woodcarving, taught by expert tutor John White.

John, who is from the north west of England, runs John White Woodcarving, and is recognised nationally as a leading practitioner in this ancient craft.

Indeed, the first woodcarvings date back to prehistoric times when wooden objects had a religious purpose.  The oldest wood sculpture in existence is the Shigir Idol which dates back some 11,000 years.

There are many kinds of decorative carving still used on furniture, and some of them are described here.

“Carving embellishment onto furniture has been done almost since furniture was first made,” says John.

“It’s therefore a skill that students have to master if they are to practice as well-rounded furniture makers,” he says.

John has over thirty years of experience in woodcarving and his clients have included the House of Lords, the Duke of Westminster, the National Trust and the National Museums Liverpool.

He is passionate about keeping this age-old craft alive for future generations and, for our professional course students, it gives them another dimension with which to sell themselves in a competitive world.

“This week has obviously been about the basics, teaching students both in group and one-to-one sessions,” he says.

John’s motto is BT + T = A, meaning Basic Techniques plus Time equals Anything.  It’s a motto that could apply to every other aspect of woodworking: learn the basics, practice (and then practice some more!) – and you can achieve anything.

Next week, we’ll have a look at some of the pieces our students have carved.

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