Ornamental and Heraldic Woodcarver Patrick Damiaens of Belgium

Anyone who has traveled through Europe knows well how inspiring and overwhelming it is to see all the wood carvings done by hand in churches and homes and public buildings.  This is a forgotten art is that is making a gradual comeback by a handful of gifted artists.  Although these days contemporary ornamental and heraldic woodcarvings by hand are a rare sight, it is reassuring to know there are some who are preserving this noble art and passing on the tradition to others.  

Wood carvers create for liturgical spaces beautiful works of art that live on for generations and long outlive the artist.  They include, but are not limited to, heraldic panels for church interiors, altar card frames, furniture, confessionals, doors, and even episcopal coat-of-arms for cathedra thrones in cathedral churches.  Such appointments lend dignity and color to sacred spaces, making them high demand pieces.  There is no lack of artistic worth here.    

Patrick Damiaens is a woodcarver based in Maaseik, Belgium, who not only creates great works carved in wood, but he also restores older works of  wood and teaches woodcarving to students, thus effectively passing on the the secrets of the trade to the next generation.  May God reward these carvers who are making a great contribution to beauty and history.  

While large precincts of the art world have forgotten the value of wood carving by hand, the tradition continues, revealing a reality to us that sacred art manifests divine beauty in countless natural mediums, most especially in wood.  As Chesterton once said, "Wood is the most sacred of all substances: it typifies the divine trade of the carpenter, and men count themselves fortunate to touch it."

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