Wood-carvers Ortisei, South Tirol

    Since the 18th century Ortisei/ St Ulrich in South Tirols Val Gardena/Groedner Tal has been famous for the woodcarving tradition. For centuries sculptors habe been carving crucifixes, the figure of Jesus and other saints or the nativity.

    I love wood and attended a course for carving the figure at the Cademia the professional school for arts & crafts in Ortisei. To understand the different working methods which range from a traditional to a very contemporary approach, I visited the sculptors in their studios.

    Nowadays there are still more than 100 carvers living in a town with a population of 6000. The Perathoner family is a woodcarving dynasty in the 4th generation. The Perathoner brothers still work in the traditional way with the saint Pius as their most popular figure. Filip Picolruaz works with his father on traditional projects, teaches at the Cademia – the school for arts and crafts in Ortisei and in his free time works on his own projects. Richard Senoner carves Jesus on the crucifix and for other clients beautiful naked ladies. Willi Verginer and Aron Demetz are both successful artists and exhibit and sell their work internationally. They work with the figure in a contemporary way and experimental techniques. Aron Demetz uses a shaper connected with a computer programme to make some of his figures.

    Tourist attractions are Seisner Alm, Dolomites, St Jacobs way and the walk of dialogue.

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