American Wood Carving


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Wood Carving." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

Following the listing of Resource Library articles and essays is the heading "TFAO references." The count of pages in the TFAO website citing relevant keywords is an indicator of our breadth of coverage for this topic. We recommend that readers search within the TFAO website to find detailed information for any topic. Please see our page How to research topics not listed for more information.

After "TFAO references" are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.

Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

We welcome suggestions for additional content by sending an email to


Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:

Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky (5/30/15)

Fragile Fortress: The Art of Dan Webb, with catalogue introduction by Nora Atkinson (4/4/14)

John Buck: Iconography, Work from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation (12/2/09)

The Image Business: Shop and Cigar Store Figures in America; article by Ralph Sessions (4/22/09)

David Hostetler, Wood and Bronze Sculpture (11/1/07)

Samuel McIntire: Carving an American Style (11/1/07)

Felix Lopez, Santero (9/28/07)

Santos and Retablos (11/28/06)

Saint Makers: A Living Tradition in American Folk Art; with essay by Father Thomas J. Steele, S.J. (9/6/05)

Animal Sculpture in the Folk Tradition (5/20/05)

Our Saints Among Us: 400 Years of New Mexican Devotional Art (11/20/01)

Puerto Rican Santos de Palo: Sculptures Between Heaven and Earth (4/14/01)

Carvings by Fred Webster (1/9/01)

Gustavo Victor Goler, Santero (9/24/00)

From the Creative Hand: The Carvings of W.D. Neher (12/5/99)

Louisiana Lures & Legends (10/23/99) Traditional hunting decoys and historical artifacts are on display. Chance: the Decoys of Chauncey Wheeler features the work of Alexandria Bay, New York, decoy maker and folk artist Chauncey Wheeler. This exhibit shares some of his finest decoys, folk art flyers, and never seen before treasures.

Life of a Sailor: A Collector 's Vision (6/8/99)

Floyd Scholz, Vermont's Master Woodcarver of Birds (5/21/99) "Wooden" as an adjective usually describes something stiff and lifeless. But in the hands of master carver Floyd Scholz, solid Tupelo hardwood becomes something graceful, light, and spirited, as it takes on the form and feathers of a red-tailed hawk, a bald eagle, or a hermit thrush, Vermont's state bird.

Ah-Louisiana, The Land of the Acadians: Wildfowl Carvers (2/23/99) Wildfowl decoys are not only a work of art as a carved and painted sculpture, but also a piece of history. Unique to North America, the wildfowl decoy is folklore, a form of regional art. Decoys depict bird species found along our waterways, and become history of a people, a time, and a place.


TFAO references:

As of 4/4/14 TFAO Digital Library contained 14 pages with the phrase "wood carver", 206 pages with the word "carving" and 32 pages with the phrase "wood carving." To search TFAO's web site please click here.

During October, 2012 TFAO researched 246 deceased American wood carvers for inclusion in Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.


From other websites:

Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft and Design, an exhibit held March 19, 2013 to September 15, 2013 at the Museum of Arts and Design. Includes video. Accessed March, 2015.

American woodcarvers from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection, September 24, 2010 - January 30, 2011: introductory video, slide show and 59 minute "Shop Talk" video from the The Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. Accessed August, 2015.

Arte Latino: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Accessed August, 2015.

"Asa Ames: New Discoveries," By Stacy C. Hollander, from The Magazine Antiques, August, 2009. The essay was written in conjunction with an exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. Hollander organized the exhibition of sculpture by Asa Ames. Accessed January, 2016

Branching Out: The Art of Wood, an exhibit held October 10, 2009 - February 14, 2010 at the Figge Art Museum. Includes images. Accessed August, 2015.

The Center for Art in Wood, located in Philadelphia, PA, says: "The Center for Art in Wood is the founding arts and educational institution, maintaining the history and leading the growth, awareness, appreciation and promotion of artists and their art in or related to wood." The Center offers changing exhibitions, collection and publications. Accessed 3/17

Decoy Carving  - sample of artists and works from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Decoy Carving from Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center. Accessed August, 2015.

The Essential Elijah Pierce, an exhibit held February 1 - March 16, 2014 at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Accessed December, 2015.

Harriet Rosenberg and Tim Klock: A Cut Above was an exhibit held in 2016 at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Altoona. A June 3, 2016 article By Cherie Hicks in The Altoona Mirror covers the exhibit. The article says: "One artist noiselessly uses fine, tiny cuts while the other makes coarse carvings and wears ear protection while he works. But there is a similitude to the art created by Harriet Rosenberg and Tim Klock that now is on display....Both involve cutting, you make one from the other and neither is the typical museum fine art....Rosenberg is a paper cutter and Klock is a chainsaw carver, and their dual "A Cut Above" exhibition is now on display through Sept. 10..." Accessed August, 2016.

John Svenson: For the Love of Wood was a 2014 exhibit at Claremont Museum of Art which said: "John Edward Svenson's love of nature and mastery of his materials is evident throughout his large body of work, which ranges from small wood carvings to monumental public commissions. A native of the Pomona Valley, he studied art at Claremont Graduate School and worked for many years with sculptor Albert Stewart and artist/designer Millard Sheets." Also see YouTube and Vimeo videos titled "John Svenson: For the Love of Wood" and Daily Bulletin 4/11/16 obituary. Accessed 10/16

The Lawrence University website contains a section named History of Björklunden. Part Three, "The Wood Carvings," is an essay by Marjorie Meyers Graham in which she discusses wood carvings at Winifred and Donald Boynton's chapel at Björklunden. Accessed August, 2015.

Meet the Santeros from Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute. Accessed August, 2015.

Santos microsite explaining materials and techniques, culture and history, scientific tools, reading lists and additional resources from Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education. Accessed August, 2015.

Turning of the Seasons: The Moulthrop Family and the Chattahoochee River Dams Project is an exhibit held August 6 - December 31, 2016 at the Columbus Museum - Georgia. The museum says: "Georgia's importance as a center for wood-turned bowls is largely due to the contributions of three generations of the Atlanta-based Moulthrop family. Turning of the Seasons: The Moulthrop Family and the Chattahoochee River Dams Project will present a selection of works by Ed, Philip, and Matt Moulthrop, including turned bowls that Philip and Matt recently completed using wood salvaged from the old 19th - century Chattahoochee River dams."Accessed August, 2016

View from the Pier contains in Compass Rose section On the Santos Trail in Puerto Rico, published in four parts April and May, 2011. Accessed August, 2015

Kentucky Educational Television offers a series of 1/2 hour videos from Mixed, a weekly arts series starting in 2003. See Program 615: Harrodsburg potter Mike Frasca, another member of the Strecker family of artists; long-time Courier-Journal photographer Bill Luster in his hometown of Glasgow; and the eclectic sounds of Louisville's A.M. Sunday; Program 718: Wood carver LaVon Williams; the African American Theatre Program at the University of Louisville; the "Recovering Is a Beautiful Thing" art exhibit; and music by the Big Maracas, a Latin band from Lexington Kay Harris, a visit to the Explorium of Lexington, and a taste of Indian classical music. Accessed May, 2015.

Dr. Mark Sublette, owner of Medicine Man Gallery in Tucson and Santa Fe, has created a channel of YouTube online videos on topics relating to Native American baskets, weavings, pottery and carvings. Titles include for carvings: How To Identify Early Hopi and Zuni Kachina Dolls. Accessed May, 2015.



Early American Wood Carving, by Erwin O. Christensen. 1972, Dover Publications, 160 pages


DVD/VHS videos:

Santeros = Saintmakers. Documents the lifestyle and attitudes of five New Mexican artisans who continue the 300 year-old traditions of the earliest santeros. 33 min. Video/C 1341 from Media Resources Center, Library, University of California, Berkeley.

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format


TFAO wishes to express appreciation to Lonnie Dunbier and Chet Murray for providing information cited in this catalogue.


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