Rachel Faulkner woodcarving Chippendale school

Handy with wood

The last two weeks have all been about our professional course students learning the ancient skills of woodcarving, under the expert guidance of John White who is recognised nationally and internationally.

Last week, John taught them all about the basic techniques of relief carving, which involves removing wood from a flat wood panel so that the design appears to rise out of the wood in 3D.

This week saw our students create their own designs and then start to carve them, using hand tools such as chisels and gouges – a technique that hasn’t changed much since the dawn of furniture making.

But every relief carving must start with a design idea, usually committed to paper in the form of a master pattern.

The importance of that master pattern cannot be underestimated because a mistake on the initial paper design can be rectified…but not when carving has begun.

While woodcarving is not a skill that every furniture designer will employ in his or her career, it’s something that every woodworker can use to sell themselves to potential customers.

It’s also an age-old craft that the school, like John White, believes should be kept alive for future generations.

One student whose woodcarving skills are evident is Rachel Faulkner, whose depiction of two hands clasped is not only artistically accomplished but which is being skilfully crafted into wood.

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