The Basics of Classical Relief Carving
A first lesson from a second-generation woodcarver
Synopsis: Master carver Nora Hall teaches beginners how to carve, and she marvels at how quickly students develop skill at manipulating light and shadow to create realistic forms. She teaches the old European way of relief carving and talks about basic principles — the carving should appear lifelike and possess a sense of movement. You observe your subject carefully, and you use your imagination. In this article, she talks about basic tools necessary to get started, how to carve with the grain, carving flowers as a first lesson, and how to continue teaching yourself the art. Side information details how to bevel both sides of a carving tool’s edge.
Anyone can learn how to carve wood. All it takes is patience, seven or eight tools and a lot of practice. I work with hundreds of students from across the country each year, and I am continually fascinated by how quickly…