Master Wood Carver Alexander Grabovetskiy was once awarded the “International Woodcarver of the Year” award by the Woodworker’s Institute. He is now living the dream life of a professional wood carver as he hand carves elaborate furniture and architectural elements for luxury homes and historical buildings around the world. His work is highly sought after because of its life-like appearance.
But things were not always so favorable for this award-winning wood carver. In 1973 Alexander was born into a family of craftsmen & artists in the small Soviet town of Dimitrovgrad. His great grandfather, an expert wood Carver, trained Alexander in ornamental wood carving from the age of six years old.
By the time Alexander was 16, his work was so advanced that he was taken on as an apprentice under famous wood carver Vladimir Tokarev. Over the years Vladimir taught him the techniques that would culminate in Alexander’s award-winning carving masterpieces later in his life.
Then his life took a sharp turn when he was arrested by the Soviet government for adherence to his religious conviction, and for his refusal to join the Red Army. Alexander was finally released from prison at the age of 21, at which time he continued to run his successful architectural and ornamental wood carving business that he had started while in prison.
In 1996, Alexander, his wife Nadia, and their 10-month old son emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States, as a political refugee. Now Alexander runs his thriving wood carving business in South Florida, where he lives with Nadia and their three children – Mark, Jessica, and Alexis.
Alexander often carves day and night, and he works with a number of styles including sculpture, high relief, low relief, architectural and ornamental modes. He is often hired to create intricate classical interior spaces using his trademark hand carved furniture and rococo carvings. Much of Alexander’s inspiration comes from Grinling Gibbons, a 16th century English wood carver who had the uncanny ability to make wood appear like real life objects.
Alexander makes use of an extreme undercutting technique that creates a unique play between light and shadow, which he feels is the most important aspect of any carving design.
As he carves his life-like masterpieces, Alexander only uses hand tools, and he never sands his pieces, believing that the tool marks make each piece distinctive. “It is the same as brush marks on canvas in fine art,” he says.