Unlike items cast using a mould and hot metals, carved items require the artist to slowly chip away at the block of material to ‘reveal’ the artwork within. This is usually achieved using metal chisels and a mallet to add more force to the blow but can also include chip carving where just a chisel with no mallet is used, and whittling which uses a sharp knife instead of a chisel. The most common materials to carve are wood and stone and examples of these have been found to date back many thousands of years. No matter what the age, the skill of the artist is to understand how the material has been formed and where the natural weaknesses are so they can work in harmony with them. Those working in wood will know that carving with the grain is far more effective than against the grain (which chips more easily) and that a tighter grain will hold more detail. Similarly a competent stone mason will know how soft or hard each type of stone is and how it should break or chip even before they hit it.
For those who collect carvings the love is often both for the skill of the craftsperson to bring that piece to life, as well as the way it has continued to age over time. The inherent moisture and internal pressures in wood will cause it to crack and bend over time as if still somehow alive, and stone left out in the weather will slowly wear away the details and become home to moss, lichen and more. It is this ability for carvings to constantly evolve even after they have been completed which make antique and vintage pieces so much more special than new examples.
At LoveAntiques we have a fine selection of Antique and Vintage carvings for all your needs.