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carl mcculloch

History Of Woodcarving Art

In Belize

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An Introduction To Wood Carving Artist Carl McCulloch

It was not until the mid to late 1950’s that wood art such as bowl making and wood carving as an industry was introduced to Belize.   An American lady named Shirley Ward, visited Belize and fell in love with the beautiful hardwoods, especially the zericote.

Shirley Ward returned to Belize and set up a workshop, hiring several young Belizean men whom she taught to use the lathe to make bowls.  Shortly after, her shop was producing beautiful zericote and rosewood bowls for export.

One of the men Shirley Ward hired and trained was the renowned Belizean Artisan George Gabb.  Another was an uncle of mine.   After her business closed, my uncle started a small business of his own and employed his brother, my father, who quickly learned and excelled.

Although my uncle eventually gave up the business, my father continued wood carving.   I grew up seeing him produce some of the most beautiful open bowls, covered bowls, ashtrays and other carvings.

By the mid 1990’s tourism had become a major industry in Belize.  Many people entered the wood art industry to supply the new demand created by this industry.   I was one of them.  I teamed up with my father and learned the trade.  Lathe art is what I enjoy most and therefore, has been the focus of my work.

The beauty of wood is hidden behind the bark, sapwood and the unsightly burls.  It intrigues me to see what is hidden and to display it through the many art forms I produce on the lathe.

 

  5 belize woodcarved lamps

 

I am passionate about my art and strive to produce only the highest quality work.

Visitors to my workshop often find it hard to believe that the lovely finished product they are looking at came from that ugly stump they are looking at in a corner.  My passion is to seek out and unveil the hidden beauty that awes people.  This is for me, the most gratifying reward of my hard labour.  That is the first expression of appreciation for the beauty revealed.

I have spent over twelve years labouring diligently at my art and I cannot recall having a dull day.  I love my job and I hope you will love my creative expressions.

 



 


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