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Totem Pole Carving

Totem Pole Carving

Totem Pole Carving
with tool care and sharpening

Masks & Grotesques

Totem Pole Carving
with tool care and sharpening


Sat/Sun 27-28 April

Thurs/Fri 6-7 June

Fri/Sat/Sun 5-6-7 July

Thurs/Fri 8-9 August

Fri/Sat/Sun 4-5-6 October


Should you wish to discuss any custom made course options or individual or group sessions please get in touch.

You will find full details and the booking form below as usual. If you would like to request information in the post please send your contact details via contact form

Hope to see you and your friends and family in 2013.
Best wishes


Please see course details below



"Totem poles are associated with the Native americans living in the richly forested environment of the Pacific Northwest coast of the Americas. They were a civilization with an elaborate social and ceremonial structure and with traditions going back to the beginning of time. These peoples understanding of the connections between all living things and their dependence on certain animal and plant species fostered beliefs in the super natural and the spirit world and by telling their stories through dancing, singing and visual expression, they developed richly artistic traditions. "

"The function of totem poles varied among the different peoples, but overall they were historical monuments, or documents of great meaning and value to the cultures that carved them. The poles displayed images that represented a people's origin and lineages, their rights and privileges, their supernatural experiences, their exploits and achievements, their marriages and memorials."

Karen Hansen

To walk with giants you first have to find your own way. We give you the opportunity to step out and experiment with your hands and minds to carve out your own mark in time - People from all corners of the earth have done so since first discovering tools and will do so long into the future. Expressing your connections to life you will be carving a personal story pole for celebration or in memory of anything that is important or fun.



We provide the materials sourced from local woodlands and all the tools you need. Courses will give experienced guidance to both beginners and improvers of most ages.





Based on a brief introduction to the history and symbolism of masks and grotesques we will be working up your own design and set it out on a fresh green log.

Working with gauges and the techniques involved in cutting low and deep relief in the half round, you will come away with a fantastic image telling the story of your imagination.


Exploring images and totems that have relevance to your life, history and environment you will be guided through drawing up your design ready for setting out on to your prepared Sweet Chestnut pole. We will work through the techniques involved in carving low and deep relief in the round and you will become familiar with the appropriate selection of tools for the job.

The course is intended to be creative and enjoyable and whether you decide to do simple shapes, carve something from nature or a caricature of yourself - you will come away with an experience in 3D carving and a small pole, which could become a welcoming gesture to your visitor or a garden feature to inspire discussion.



The three day course will give you a chance to learn more about the appropriate tool care and sharpening techniques which will enable you to carry on carving in your own time. You are welcome to bring any carving tools you might have.



(Minimum age 11)

This is your chance to create the family crest or celebration pole by working on a communal carving. You will draw and design the elements of your choosing and transfer the images onto a prepared pole. Depending on how many of you are working together we will either divide the pole into segments for later assembly or work the pole as a whole. You will be instructed in the use of gouges and shown the techniques of relief carving. We will finally make use of colour to emphasise the features in your story.



You will have the opportunity to carve an image of your choice on to a small block of wood. Bring your own ideas or take inspiration from a simple leaf or natural pattern. Wood, tools and refreshments provided.

Time: 2-6pm. Booking essential.







April 27/28 Sat/Sun
Totem carving



June 6/7 Thu/Fri
Totem carving



July 4/5/6 Fri/Sat/Sun
Totem carving with tool care and sharpening



Aug 8/9 Thurs/Fri
Masks & Grotesques



Oct 4/5/6 Fri/Sat/Sun
Totem carving with tool care and sharpening



* 3 day courses start at 2pm on the first day
All other days run from 9.30 – 17.00



Download & print the booking form to sign up


For more course details please contact Karen Hansen
Tel: 01935 83580





Working with wood in carving takes a little patience and perseverance and the intention is to give you a chance to have some serious fun in a relaxed setting. You will be spending your time in a sheltered spot in the lee of the Evershot hills, where we will be working in a lovely tucked away barn. We will provide a simple lunch for your enjoyment and stop for breaks around the fire - keeping the kettle warm.

Gift certificate
Gift certificates for the carving courses are available throughout the year and can be purchased for any amount you nominate. They make a greatly appreciated birthday or Christmas gift for someone - to have a go- and you might even be able to share the enjoyment of the end result.

Custom made courses
We are able to facilitate special requests for individuals or groups and happy to discuss any projects you would like to see happen.



© 2008 - 2016 All works copyright Karen Hansen