pagoda art

Types of wood art

Art To Remember

When you purchase art it can be at times hard to tell certain specifics about the piece. Indeed we desire quality. Also we want art to remember and make an impact on our home space. Yet much of this value in art will depend on the type of wood art we select. Not all are equal and the price tag certainly will reflect this.

Knowing the type of art you are looking at will help you determine its value. As a buyer do not miss this information. For an artist this can help inform you as to where you may need to go next in your artistic creation. Pushing to the next level is always a good thing.

Plan ahead knowing the species of wood you will use to carve and the desired outcome you seek.

Wood Carving or Burning?

Do not confuse wood carving as compared to wood burning. They are two very different applications in art with wood.

While burning has its place know that it is simply an altering of the surface of the wood with the use of heat. Another common name used for this wood burning art is Pyrography which is not tied to Shou Sugi Ban.

The problem with pyrography is that it mars or distorts the surface of the wood grain rather than enhancing it. This may not be a problem for many applications. Yet carving is a much better choice as burning has less value and can destroy the beauty. I have included a picture table coaster to show what burning can look like.

When wood is carved by hand, a router or with a cnc mill, it will have three possible types of cuts. The three different types are 2d, 2.5d, and 3d. There are many more terms to describe wood carving such as relief carving. Yet this term does not specify what type of carving.

The advantage over pyrography is that it can enhance the wood grain while showing its art and is of greater value. The artwork itself does not destroy the wood grain, rather it works in conjunction with it. I have included a picture of one of my works as an example of wood carving.

Laser carving and engraving has offered alternative which before were more difficult to achieve in wood art. It holds some advantages in allowing more realistic images to be engraved. Yet the principles behind the type of art which is placed into wood remain the same as other methods.

Wood Carving in 2d

The easiest way to describe 2d wood art in layman terms is that it is similar to writing with a pen onto a piece of paper. The words you write with ink are flush with the paper. When you run your finger across the paper you only feel the paper not the letters of the words. Another way to describe 2d wood carving is that it is often called engraving art.

When you look at a piece of wood art and the words are cut into the wood it is similar to taking that pen to paper. The one difference is that wood is removed from the surface as the words are carved into the wood. It leaves no raised letters nor does it alter the surrounding surface of the wood. It is engraved into the artwork. This kind of art is often relatively inexpensive by comparison but this can depend on the wood itself and its size.

Wood Carving in 2.5d

When one looks at 2.5d wood art it is very different. Some will try to call this type of carving 3d yet know that it is not. It will follow similar principles but 2.5d cannot mechanically achieve what a mill which is setup for 3d artwork can do. The difference is simple to explain. A machine carving 2.5d can achieve cutting a a cylinder out of a piece of wood, yet a machine setup for 3d can cut out a sphere.

Going back to our comparison with paper and pen, this time think of braille. A blind person will take their fingers and run it across a page to feel the marks on the paper to read. With 2.5d art the letters are not cut into the wood. Rather in this application the material will be removed from the areas surrounding the words so that each letter is raised from the surface. You will be able to take your fingers and feel the letters or the design which was carved. This type of cut is often called relief carving.

The 2.5d art carving allows for a piece of wood art to have multiple dimensions represented within the same piece of wood. It offers greater depth of design and contrast between the parts which make up the work. Also various colors of stain can be used adding to the contrast of the design parts.

Ultimately the finished product is very beautiful and it can be seen as well as felt by touch. Lets say a bird design is carved into the wood. It is not engraved, rather the bird stands out from the surrounding surface. This kind of art is much more expensive than 2d engraving. It requires much more preparation and finishing to the art as well as many more toolpaths. The image to the right shows 2.5d carving as well as the earlier Tree of Life wall art above.

Some pieces can have elements of both 2d and 2.5d used within the work. It can create a beautiful combination such as the images can show within this art box article.

The 3d Wood Carving

When you see 3d wood art it is carved in such a way that it will appear more as a sculpture would. If the item is the face of a person then you would be able to run your fingers over the features of the face just as you could a real person. These kinds of wood carvings are not the most common that you will find to purchase from independent artists. It requires so much design setup for an original piece that often it is used for select items like furniture.

Those that do wood hand carving can achieve this yet its cost is considerably more which should naturally be expected. Depending on the scale of the work hand carving can consume the artist for some time.

The most common place to find 3d wood art is from vendors that produce on a larger scale. If buying know up front if it was mass produced or individually carved by an artist. In the past I have seen those who attempt to sell 2.5d as 3d. Be aware that these two types of wood carving are not the same.

If a unique piece is done by an artist expect to pay a premium to obtain what you desire. Time out of someones life on an elaborate piece will not come cheaply.

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