Relief Carving

Carved pictures, Panels, Illustrations, and Sculptured Acanthus

Many of our pieces feature relief carvings. Relief carving styles can be described by the depth of the carving from the top surface to the background:

Deep relief is usually over 2” deep.

High relief would be from ½” to 2” in depth.

Bas-relief or Low relief is usually under ½” in depth.

Pierced relief refers to carvings where the background is removed revealing the entire thickness of the wood.

Though most of what we do at Norsk Wood Works is actually relief carving, the term relief carving is often used to describe picture carving. Pictures tell a story and carved pictures can be used to illustrate a story, such as a historical event or period.

For several years Phil was interested in portraying the Norwegian American immigrant experience through his carving. He carved several reliefs depicting feelings and aspects of immigrant life. Over the years he has carved many romantic scenes of Norwegian mountains and rural architecture. He has also carved scenes containing Viking ships, reflecting on the Viking period in Scandinavia.

Phil has designed and carved illustrations of many of the stories told in the Icelandic Sagas also referred to as Norsk Mythology. Some of these illustrations have been panels in furniture. He has created several kubbestols with carved illustrations of Norsk Mythology. Being illustrations of elaborate myths and stories, some of these carved pictures are fairly abstract and may contain more symbolism than realism.

Carved and framed panels are also a form of relief carving. The motif can vary widely from the Viking styles to picture carvings of horses, dragons, or other animals. Else has developed a very nice technique and feel for carving Norwegian Fjord horses in Bas-relief.

Relief carvings are often painted or stained for increased effect.