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mooseWood Carvings

Various types of wood are used to handcraft each unique wood carving.  One type of wood used by the artists featured at Living Light Studio is Ironwood (Olneya Testota). Ironwood is a very dense and heavy wood of intriguing origin; each piece is handcrafted in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Northern Mexico.  The most suitable pieces of wood must be exposed to the extremes of the climatic conditions only found in the desert.  Being exposed over the course of a few years in the hot, dry environment, the wood collects, condenses, and cures the natural resins therefore transforming the wood into very dense ironwood.  Since the government has banned the harvesting of living Ironwood trees, artists are comprehensively searching for trees that have fallen naturally.

Ironwood carvings were originated by the Seri Indians, a small tribe that once dwelled in the great Sonoran Desert for thousands of years.  The carving is an unusually demanding art form requiring many hours of intense labor from the time the wood is gathered to the finishing piece.   Each handcrafted piece is done with very simple tools and the artist has to do hand sanding and polishing for every carving.  Since the carvings are handcrafted, no two pieces will ever be identical.  The supply of true ironwood is limited causing the number of carvers to diminish greatly.

Oaxacan( pronounced Wa-Haw-Ken) wood carvings are brilliantly colored figures that are hand-carved and painted in tiny villages in the state of Oaxaca, where the Zapotec Indians live in Southern Mexico.  Each figure is made from Copal wood found in the hills surrounding the Oaxacan Valley.  It takes a few days for the artists to carve the basic shape of a figure, then hand sand and meticulously paint each piece.  The whole process can take up to a week to complete just one figure.  Each artist uses creativity and imagination in their paintings to make them more alive.

Just like ironwood carvings, each piece is hand-carved to make sure no two pieces are identical.  There is also a limited supply of carvings available and each piece may appreciate in value as many have become collector’s items.


Prices range from $15 - $500