Art Experience: Woodblock Carving

Past Event

Inspired by the new exhibition, Reach for the Sky: Tradition + Inspiration, this workshop will introduce participants to the artistic traditions of the peoples of the Northwest Coast.

From totem poles to boxes, masks, sculptures, and utensils, tribes have distinct cultural traditions and stylistic differences, but some artistic conventions are shared. In this two-day workshop (Saturday, Feb. 22 & Sunday, Feb. 23), participants will have the opportunity to learn about the elements of Northwest Coast artistic traditions and create an original carving inspired by these traditions.

Day One: Artist David Svenson will share his experience as a woodcarver working with native Northwest Coast artists and shed light on some of their shared design principles.He will provide a demonstration of some of the tools and types of wood that are traditionally used by carvers. He will then guide participants in creating their own formline animal design on paper.

Day Two: Participants will learn the basics of woodblock carving and will print the design they created in the previous session.

All materials will be provided. This two-day workshop will take place from 10 am to 12:30 pm on both days.

Sculptor David Svenson works across a broad range of media, including neon, glass blowing, and casting. Beginning in his teenage years, he had the opportunity to work at Alaska Indian Arts, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of traditional native craft and culture. Throughout the years, he continued working in Alaska and established a relationship with the Tlingit community. The son of renowned sculptor John Edward Svenson, David had a talent for carving and was invited to participate in totem carving projects by the Tlingit artists. Over the years, he has participated on many team totemic projects throughout the world ranging from 12’ to over 100’ in length and countless individual works. He is not Tlingit by blood and only carves in the totemic tradition when asked, out of respect for the culture. Learning, teaching, sharing skills and knowledge about glass, neon, art, and Pacific Rim cultures are important aspects of his life today. David has taught classes at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Pilchuck Glass School in Washington, Urban Glass and Corning Museum of Glass in New York, and has given workshops internationally. He is an active board member of the Museum of Neon Art and works periodically with a team of Alaska Native totem carvers on large commissions.

Fee: $35 per participant. 20 tickets available. Registration for this workshop can be found HERE.

For information, call 760.202.2254.

If you are interested in an art workshop that is full, please email your name and phone number to to be added to the wait list.