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         Whittling or Woodcarving? --  My take on this age old discussion.
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Am I whittler or... am I a woodcarver? 

This question has been posed many times and with much discussion.

The term "whittling" conjures images of old guys making shavings while chewing a wad of tobacco and while sitting on the bench at the country store. The term "carving" implies the use of chisels, gouges, and a mallet while sculpting is just carving while wearing a beret with a plump nude sprawled out in front of you.

Another misconception is that whittling is a lesser art than sculpting. Is the project produced in a studio better than that produced at the country store?  :-}

The following text clarifies the issue:

A whittler is a person who holds the block of wood with one hand while removing chips with a knife held in the other hand.

Whittling is in a sense scupture in miniature. It differs in essential ways, first that it is executed with a knife rather than with mallet, chisels, and gouges. The other two differenct are in scale, and in selection of material. The whittler works in soft wood while the sculper (woodcarver) selects massive hard woods for his artistry. The whittler most commonly permits the knife cut to form the final surface where as the sculptor may sent great amounts of time perfecting the detail.

The work I do is definitely whittling as all the work is done with a knife and is handheld. It is produced from a chair and not from a bench. I do not feel like a "second class" citizen because I choose to whittle and not to sculpt.

Is it art, folk art, or craft?

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  Revised:   2001-01-01


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