2016 World Wood Day Folk Art Workshop presented diverse forms of wooden folk art from 10 countries and 6 Nepali ethnic groups. Through a series of exhibition, demonstration and workshops, it offered an opportunity for participants to reflect on attitudes towards traditional woodcrafts. Even though some of them are vanishing due to modern development, wood still plays a prominent role in connecting people with nature and culture.
A Santa Cruz wood sculptor, Gary Stevens seeks to get the form to work with what’s naturally occurring in every piece. His passion for the wood itself comes through in his art as sculpting is an outlet for his desire to create. It is in the tranquil setting of his own redwood canyon he is inspired ; and through his sculptural vessels that are variational forms of plant parts he finds a beautiful way to expose what God has created in Nature.
On 25 April 2015, with a magnitude 7.8 Earthquake hit Nepal and major aftershock on 12 may 2015, Nepal was in disaster. The earthquake caused a massive damage to people and heritage sites including Changu Narayan area where the oldest temple in Nepal is located. This video showcases the spirit behind the renovation of the Changu Narayan, and full size replica of the Shiva temple on the 2016 World Wood Day event.
The XIV World Forestry Congress, themed “Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future,” was grandly held in Durban, South Africa from 7 to 11 September 2015. Gathering the world forestry’s sectors every six years, it serves as an important platform for experts and stakeholders to discuss related key issues and explore ways to sustainability. International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) and World Wood Day Foundation (WWDF) also took part in the exhibition and discussions to promote wood culture, a way to remind people that forest is our roots. The diversity of culture and diversity of ecological system are interconnected. We all grow and bind together and therefore, efforts by individuals and groups, big or small, are significant in building our sustainable future.
Renowned sculptor David Best, who has designed and built nine Burning Man temples at Black Rock Desert and various temples in other countries, and his crew, made of volunteers from the United States of America, were invited to create a community stupa in honor of the people of Nepal who suffered greatly from the 2015 earthquakes. The construction site located in Bungamati, a well-known traditional woodcarving village that has had more than 70% of its buildings damaged in the earthquakes. The Temple Crew cut and drilled rough-hewn logs and planks into manageable blocks that were strung on iron rebar and fashioned into the shape of a classic Nepali stupa. This stupa is composed of thousands of pieces of wood representing earthquake victims. Along with bringing international attention to the ongoing wood carving tradition of Bungamati, this project also helped to rejuvenate the community by interacting with local people and artists. The stupa is currently displayed at the Nepal Academy and will eventually be moved back to Bungamati.
The 2016 Collaborative Project kept exploring the possibilities among traditionally-different practices through teamwork as 20 collaborators came together to create wooden sculptural works in Bhaktapur. Together with interactive playground equipment that created a safe wood environment for school children, an installation consisting of 282 carved bricks by 130 artists rose to bring hope of renewal to the community. It was an inclusive venture between creative minds and the community where skills were shared, artistic thinking was challenged, and authentic partnerships were forged through a process of collective ownership, fellowship and mutual respect. This cross-border platform encourages communal interactions while offering younger generation new experiences to discover the art in wood that is both educational and entertaining.
Those two Kina trees are well-known and long-lived in Damascus, they have remained for many generations and attended many historic phases in early time. They were to be burned, it was the ideas of Mr. Moufak Makhoul to revive them in a certain way, and the Syrian trees never die. As the thickness and height of the trees, the process of engraving is done on the dry and died trees that are more than 130 year-old. The work is not just in related to sculpture, and as well as to give it an aesthetic value, the historic value, and the educational value of how we employ the dry trees instead of burning it. The artists tried to make them a tableau with inscriptions, and asserting the origins of art and civilization in Syria.
Woodturning Training program at Wenzhou School of Special Education, set up by the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) and the American Association of Woodturners (AAW), continued in November, 2015. Mr. Andy Chen from United States, as the instructor of this semester, gave a bowl-turning lesson to Zhu Shicheng and the students at school.
The whole staff of Wenzhou School of Special Education expressed their appreciation to IWCS and AAW. Everyone does hope Mr. Zhu could keep on practice and grasp the skill to pay back the society and the students who need more social care.
The Grand Sawara festival has a history of 300 years. It is indeed one of the biggest festivals in Tokyo, Japan. During the festivals, Dashi is always under spotlight. Each Dashi is composed of one giant sacred doll which represents the Japanese deity and a shrine that is elaborately decorated. And Ikkyō Kitazawa is specialized in designing and engraving the surrounding walls of Dashi.
Nepal is a multiethnic country, including more than 59 indigenous groups which constitutes 40% of its total population. Many of the communities fully depend on forest and timber products for survival, entertainment and religious purposes. Wood is an indispensable part of their live, though its importance is diminishing due to the influx of cheap alternatives. Meanwhile, attempts are made by individuals and groups to preserve and promote their tradition of using wood.
IWCS team visited 3 of the major ethnic groups, namely Newar, Tharu and Chepang, in Kathmandu, Dang and Chitwan to explore their distinguished and diversified wood culture and introduced some of them to the global audiences in the 2016 World Wood Day celebration at Nepal Academy.