The Demetz Art Studio has been working with wood for over 130 years, following the tradition of wood carving in Val Gardena. Wood carvings are valuable for their timeless beauty as they become more precious with age.

  • demetz-allgemein-upscale-220_1.jpg

Wood is light and can take very fine detail, it is much easier to work on than stone and can be carved more thinly and precisely due to its fibrous strength. Wood itself is loved for its warmth. The character of wood is always preserved whether left in its natural color or slightly finished with oil colors.

Wood carving is an ancient art of woodworking that has evolved over thousands of years. In its earliest form, wood carving was done with simple hand tools such as knives and chisels. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Chinese and Greeks already carved in wood and created outstanding sculptures, architectural details and furniture.


The kind of wood we use to create our fine artworks is called Linden wood or Lime wood (Lat. Tilia). We import it from Eastern Europe, cut it and kiln dry it in our own workshop. After that, blocks of wood get glued together to form the block needed for the size of the statue to be carved.

Linden wood is used for carving because it is not too hard, fairly white in color and when professionally kiln dried, it does not make small cracks later. The latter is much more likely to happen with pine wood, instead. We only use the heartwood of the tree trunk because it is almost knotless. That way the wooden statue will have an even, homogeneous surface and a fine woodgrain appearance.

In Val Gardena, a Northern region of Italy, the tradition of wood carving dates back to the 17th century. At that time, Our ancestors were mountain farmers and during the long and rough winter months they spent their time carving little statuettes of Jesus Christ, wooden frames and toys. These artifacts carved of wood were then sold by traveling merchants and spread throughout Europe. The first documented wood carver in Gardena Valley was a certain Christian Trebinger in 1615. As centuries went by Val Gardena gained worldwide fame for the making of wood carvings.

Wood carving has come a long way, from simple hand tools such as knives, chisels and mallets to power tools such as the power saws and computer aided machinery. The same carving tools used a few hundred years ago are still being used by our talented sculptors today. On the first carving stages the artists may use a larger cutting tool with a wooden hammer or in case of very large figures even a chain saw. The rough piece will then be hand carved with a variety of chisels in different sizes to create detailed and intricate designs.


The colors used in our studio are regular oil colors. Even though our statues look so polychrome, our artists use only 12 basic colors. These get mixed by hand - at the very moment – to obtain endless varieties and shades. Therefore, the final result depends on the pigments, the technique, the manual skills and the experience of the master painter. As a result, each statue is a unique piece in its coloring, too.