×

Production

The Pema company pays special attention to the uniqueness and perfection of each statue

The woodcarving company

The art of woodcarving - a 400 Year tradition

By the 17th century. Grödner mountain folk were already carving wood figures in various styles. The abundant alpine wood and the long winter months of the Val Gardena valley allowed families to supplement their livelihoods by carving in their homes. 

Initially, wooden toys and dolls were carved, later secular art like mountain men and hunters. The world-wide recognition of the carvers skills following the example of Johann Dominik Mahlknecht (1793-1876), the appointed the state artist, encouraged the carvers to create new ideas and models. This has led to museum-quality works, and a growing reputation of 1st-class artistry.

HOW TO CREATE A SCULPTURE

How are the original PEMA statues created?
A sketch on paper

The idea

A sketch on paper

To create a sculpture, we naturally start from an idea. Therefore, the very first step the artist takes is to draw a sketch on paper. This can be modified until it displays what the artist wanted to express when he came up with his initial project.

The model

The model

The first plastic form

The next step is to create a three-dimensional figure using modeling clay. This material allows the artist to continuously change his prototype. Once it is ready, this model serves as a template for carving the wooden sculpture.

How to prepare the wood

How to prepare the wood

The right choice of the raw material

The wood used for any sculpture must be carefully selected and prepared to guarantee its quality. Usually, a soft type of mountain wood, such as Swiss stone pine, is used for handcrafting a sculpture.

The original wooden statue

The original wooden statue

Creation of the original sculpture

At this point, the artist picks up the carving tools and carves the original wooden sculpture, which in turn will serve to create the bronze sculpture. The latter will later be used for the reproduction. Our master carvers learned the art of woodcarving from their ancestors, who have passed on their skills for generations. The woodcarving technique used in Val Gardena is therefore something unique and the resulting sculptures are very difficult to imitate anywhere else in the world.

How the figures are created

How the figures are created

The rough shape, the carving of the details and the polishing

To reproduce the original sculpture an equivalent bronze statue is created. This can then be used by the artisan to make many similar statues using a pantograph. The outcome are little figurines in a very rough form, which need to be further improved by carving the details by hand. Therefore, this production step requires great skills and a lot of patience. Finally, the figurines are polished to perfection.

The decoration

The decoration

Painting, staining or gilding

A wooden statue can be left natural or colored by using various techniques and paint types to achieve different effects. In fact, water-based patinas can be used for a soft painting or oil colors for a more intense painting. Moreover, for very refined results, the statues can even be antiqued and gilded.