This may seem a strange topic for a blog on woodcarving. Humility by definition : “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.”

Mahatma Gandhi wrote ““It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

I have been certainly humbled by working with wood – who hasn’t? However some of my great pleasures have indeed come from wood too.



Olive wood has to take its fair share of showing me humility. The piece I got my hands on came from a good friend but was extremely dry – intended for knife handles and never used. It was lying in the workshop for many years. It is dated Oct 1991 on the piece so at least 25 years in the cut state.


As I worked with it I found the grain seemed to lift from whichever direction I carved and initially I became very frustrated. I persisted though – making sure my chisels were very, very sharp and I took lighter and lighter cuts. I found I had to constantly rotate the piece in my hands carving from many different directions until I found the one that worked. The very next cut beside however, may be a different direction altogether!


Slowly I began to have more success and pieces are turning out to be quite pleasing. Olivewood has a very striking grain and is certainly lovely to hold.


However…. starting to see daylight on this piece so maybe another healthy dose of humility is on the way……..!


“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” Criss Jamie

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