@ 2020 British Woodcarvers Association

What is wood carving?

From ancient Egypt, to the North American Indian; from Europe and Africa to Eastern Asia and Australia across the world and throughout history woodcarving has been a pastime, a work of art and a way of life. Whittling and carving wood have created some of the most stunning works of art.

In the South Pacific and Africa, people who had not yet developed writing made wood carvings that were used in their worship. Around Europe, detailed carvings of fruit, flowers, and birds decorate wall panels, altars, and mantels in many British churches and mansions. Among these are St. Paul's Cathedral and Canterbury Cathedral. For centuries, beautifully carved figures have been fashioned by artists.


Small churches in many communities are decorated with brightly coloured nativity scenes carved from wood. Swedish carvers make elaborately carved wooden musical instruments. In northern Canada and Alaska, Inuit make utensils and containers from driftwood. In south western Canada, woodland farmers shape wooden bowls, cups, and other vessels. All over the world, people have been carving wood.

Wood carving has become and continues to develop as a hobby for people across the country with many people proudly calling themselves professionals (making their living from the craft) and The British Wood Carvers Association continues this great tradition and shares its knowledge and experience through regional groups across the UK.