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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Francis Brown

Maine Coast Workshop Instructors - Featuring Alexander Grabovetskiy

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

As a Master Wood Carver, Grabovetskiy hand-carved many pieces for luxury homes around the world​.

​Doing what he loves the most, Alexander carves from early morning to late in the evening. But things were not always this easy for the award-winning wood carver. Born in the Soviet Union in the small town of Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk Region in 1973, Alexander opened his eyes in a family with an inherent love for the arts. His great grandfather, an expert at Custom Wood Carving had his own furniture business. Alexander received his initial education in Ornamental Wood Carving from his grandfather when he was 6 years old. By this time, the family had been relocated to the town of Dimitrovgrad in Russia. When Alexander was 16, he managed to impress Vladimir Tokarev, a professional carver famous for his skills with creating Hand Carved Furniture and other wooden goods. Vladimir took the teenager under his apprenticeship, teaching him the techniques that would help the kid create unique, award-winning Custom Wood Carving masterpieces.​​

Life seemed to be heading in the right direction for Alexander when he suffered the biggest setback of his life. He was arrested by the Soviet Government, and sent to prison for his adherence to Faith and refusal to enter the Red Army. He was released from prison at the age of 21. By that time, Alexander had already started a successful architectural and ornamental wood carving business from prison. In 1996, Alexander, his wife Nadia, and their 10-month old son Mark immigrated as a political refugee to the USA. The rest, as they say, is history. Now Alexander lives in South Florida, is still married, and has three children – Mark, Jessica, and Alexis. His love for wood carving has only increased with time, and he still carves every day.​​

Alexander will be teaching two classes this year: Sign up Here

(NOTE: This was in 2020, see current schedule for Alex's classes offered this year) All skill levels are welcome to both; Small class sizes Carving with Classical Flair: May 26-30, 2020$950 + $25 materials fee​

Carving Fundamentals: August 24-28, 2020$950 + $25 materials fee

​Alexander has been known to carve non-stop! He doesn’t care what time or what day it is when he is in the zone, and like every true visionary, he embraces his art in every single one of its forms. He works with a number of styles including sculpture, high relief, low relief, architectural and ornamental modes. In fact, give him a piece of wood, and he can do anything with it… absolutely anything! In fact, give him a piece of wood, and he can do anything with it… absolutely anything!Alexander’s intricate wall decorations and wood ornaments are good enough to grace royal palaces. He is also often hired to create intricate classical interior spaces using his trademark hand carved furniture and rococo carvings.​

​As he creates his masterpieces, Alexander only uses hand tools to carve them out and complete them. No rotary powered tools are ever used in his work. He also does not sand his work as he is of the opinion that tool marks give a unique personality to each of his pieces, ensuring the owners that what they have is distinctively their own and that no two pieces of his will ever be alike. “It is the same as brush marks on canvas in fine art,” he says.A lot of Alexander’s inspiration comes from Grinling Gibbons, the glorious 16th century English wood carver who had the uncanny ability to make wood look like real life objects. Alexander is often approached by his clients to create works of art with that unique Grinling Gibbons look that brings objects to life.

Hear what his students have to say!

In fact, his technique is quite similar to the modus operandi employed by carvers centuries ago. Alexander makes use of an interesting undercutting technique that may seem extreme to some but it brings out shadows like nothing else. These shadows, according to the artist, are the most important thing in a carving design. As he creates his piece of art, his mind is always looking for ways to create an interesting play of light and shadow, no matter how intricate the object. And that is how he creates wood carving masterpieces with exquisite details. His work is prized and appreciated the world over because it usually takes ages to create such lifelike effects. He has been in the United States for more than 2 decades now. And over this time, Alexander Grabovetskiy has earned the standing for being one of the most quality-oriented Master Wood Carvers in the world.

The Masterpiece ​Alexander Grabovetskiy has earned the standing for being one of the most quality-oriented Master Wood Carvers in the world. Alexander Grabovetskiy created an ornamental wood carving, simply titled ‘The Wall Decoration’. The masterpiece won him the title of International Woodcarver of the Year, awarded by Wood Worker’s Institute. His other notable works include beautiful architectural wood carvings depicting animals and other natural phenomenon in all their glory.

​Grabovetskiy's YouTube Channel Here's some info about Alexander's classes at the Maine Coast Traditional Workshop:

Carving with Classical Flair May 26-30, 2020

This week will be an opportunity to study under one of the best carvers in the world. Alexander will start the class off with an in depth study of how to sharpen carving tools in the most productive and fastest way. Students will carve a project that will include the technique of using carving tools to do the majority of outlining and defining the lines of the design. Alexander will help students learn how to think in 3D and discuss how to make the tools do a variety of cuts, even when the wood grain is not cooperating. Students will learn the technique of thinking through the entire carving process from start to finish which will make the carving process efficient. Then it’s on to more advanced carving including the technique of drawing and carving in classical tradition. As the week proceeds and students begin to get a feel for the carving process, Alexander will answer the biggest question in carving designs; how does a carver create the BIG idea? Alexander and all of the students will design a project together by employing the most ancient math method. This method could be used in any type of woodcarving including carving for furniture or carving in 3D (carving in round) or just in ornamental or architectural types of wood carving. Key Points:*Classical design development for carving–the ancient art of design*How to think in 3D before you carve–the art of composition*How to properly use wood carving tools for safety and efficiency*How to work with wood grain issues*How to carve a classical design applicable to any type of woodcarving (furniture, ornamental, architectural)*How to sharpen wood carving tools fast and efficient*Tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your carvings​​​.

Note that we have some very nice (Harbour views!) local lodging during May-June for $50/night. Enquire for info.

Fundamentals of Wood Carving August 24-28, 2020

This class is designed to be an introduction to basic carving skills and would also be perfect for any furniture maker who wants to take his or her work to the next level. Alexander will introduce the student to the design process and ways to embellish their furniture as well as give it character. He will start by sharing his sharpening techniques which he calls “sharpening on steroids.” This is a production style of sharpening that is fast and precise, which he uses every day that he carves. Demonstrations will also include how to use carving gouges the old fashioned way – by hand. This class will cover tool selection, how to work with grain issues in the wood, planning the cut, ways to carve safely, how to clamp the wood without damaging the carving, and subtle tips and tricks in getting the best use out of your gouges. Students will start with carving a basic relief of a floral decoration, then move on to a more advanced relief carving of a classical acanthus leaf design, and finally will move on to carve a classic shell design in relief. Alexander will explain how to think through a carving project in order to make the carving process the most efficient. He will also demonstrate how to carve the linen-fold design, how to carve grapes or beads, and how to carve lettering. Key Points:*Sharpening gouges*How to properly hold gouges for safety & efficiency*How to lower down background for relief carving*How to work with wood grain issues*How to carve a basic floral decoration*How to carve a more advanced classical acanthus leaf decoration*How to carve a classical scallop shell carving*Tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your gouges*Demonstrations on linen-fold design, grapes, and letter carving.

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