Interview with Master Sculptor Karl Demetz

The passion for wood sculpture
Seeing all those beautiful works that my predecessors created and the passion for sculpture that I have always had, gave me a push to move forward, to undertake this difficult profession. I like to find myself in front of a block of wood; in the block of wood I try to already imagine the figure, the subject inside the block of wood and then I find the passion in taking away all the wood that is too much so that the figure pops out... that is perhaps the procedure that I find like more.
In the mountains we have the wood closest to home... the pine is a wood that grows right in front of the house too... wood is one of the most beautiful materials, it is difficult to work, but wood is a living thing, it is a thing beautiful when you can
pulling something out of wood, a beautiful sculpture gives a lot of satisfaction..

To become a Master Sculptor first of all you need passion, then a bit of imagination, a certain creativity and a great desire and passion, a great desire to work... that is very important.
Which wooden sculptures are produced
We make sculptures of any kind, first of all we do for churches
of sacred furnishings, saints, etc. then we also make saints for families, for private homes, for birthdays, etc. small statues are given as gifts, for example if someone is called Anna or Giovanni, we make a small Saint John or a small Saint Anna.
They are very interesting gifts to give to families, even to young children, for Holy Communion, for example
Then we also do things to furnish private homes with profane subjects; the starting point is first of all the drawing we make copies of subjects for example we proceed trying to find the right piece of wood, or if the right piece of wood is not found, we need to take some boards, cut some pieces, plan them and they are glued, forming a single block. When this block is formed, you draw the controls a little, try to cut the thickest band with the saw and then start rough-hewing with the chisel and mallet; you rough-hew, remove the "large" part of the wood and then as the work progresses you then try to make some finishing touches and then when the sculpture is finished or it is coloured, you have to give it a lacquer first so that the color absorbs well ; then they give any oil colors; there are also other painting techniques then the coloring is given so that the product is finished.

Differences between types of wood suitable for sculpture
There is a big difference between one wood and another; for example, the softest wood is the pine which is our local wood that grows between 1500 and 2000 meters... then another very soft wood is also the lime, which works very well and is a little harder; then other types of wood are also worked such as, I don't know... woods like walnut, etc.. woods that are much harder; However, it takes at least twice as long to rough-hew a wood for example as a walnut or a maple, harder woods... but the carving is much more suited to slightly softer wood... you have to try to always create new things, to do jobs that even young people can enjoy because nowadays furnishings are very different from years ago, houses are simpler, more linear, we need to try to do things that are a little more stylised, more modern...even churches have other subjects, others...slightly different works are done, they are no longer so full of statues, sculptures but simpler, more linear things so that young people will also have work for the next ones decades.