While our founder is going to introduce you to our latest experience in video format, I am going to write about it in a blog post. Please feel free to comment at the very bottom of the page.
Let me start by telling you why I am writing to you. The experience was so entertaining, stress-free and peculiar to Cyprus: Wood Carving!
At 10 o’clock in the morning, three of us met up in front of HASDER, a nonprofit organization located in Nicosia, the Walled City. A man greeted us and invited us into the workshop, where we learned how to carve masterpieces. Our instructor, Mr Zeki, was a friendly and knowledgeable and gave us all the necessary instructions and guidance throughout the workshop.
Mr Zeki had already drawn different figures like a bird, a flower and the shape of Cyprus island. These were drawn with pencil on square-shaped wooden pieces, made out of Swedish Pine. Each of us got to choose one of them and I choose the bird shape, representing the highly-anticipated peace in Cyprus.
After being given detailed instructions, we each picked up a special type of equipment to carve the wood, a kind of ‘shredder’ that comes in many different sizes and began carving.
During our carving process, our instructor kept giving us important tips & tricks to make our work better, such as carving in the same direction as the shaded veins of the tree and not carving with strength into the wood. In all honesty, each of us needed some help from Mr Zeki at some point and he was always polite and willing to help.
We shaped the wood like one would shape a homemade cookie dough, with an endless patience and attention to detail. We each used different sizes of carvers depending on the magnitude of the task at hand.
After we completed the basic form of the drawing, we smoothed the edges and indented the carved areas to bring out the shapes. We then gave our pieces to be torched and varnished, which took them approximately 15 minutes. They offered us assembling hooks to attach to our work in case we wanted to use them as key chains or hangers. But, we were so proud of our hand-made work that we wanted to keep them for display. Subsequently, we took photos of our perfectly-carved, brightly-varnished artworks, thanked the professional team for this amazing experience and left.
To sum up, it was a wonderful day. It was the first time that I attended this type of activity and believe it or not, it makes you feel enormous in terms of learning an essential part of your own culture, having a try at it, digesting it and finally composing it. No matter if you are a Cypriot or not, my suggestion to everybody, who makes their way down to the Walled City of Nicosia, is to give a chance to wood carving and experience a totally different culture!