Groups working with the wood carver will learn the ancient techniques
of shaping and carving wood. Gaining inspiration from the beautiful
wood carving of the screen, they will design and create their very
own panels adding symbols and patterns that reflect themselves and
Newton Abbot in 2012.



A team of enthusiastic local people have come together in the beautiful surroundings of Decoy Park (many thanks to Ranger Simon Cunningham for hosting us) to work with Doug and to learn how to carve. The group was varied in age, experience and more. We had two sets of parents with children which was an aim that we wanted to achieve for this part of the project. It was a wonderful experience to see those taking part be inspired by Doug and Oscar and to have their confidence raised to a level where they felt able to carve into the oak. The designs from the group were ambitious but they matched their determination and passionate approach. Many took their wooden pieces home to continue to carve and the results are stunning. We will be exhibiting the final pieces in the Summer at the Heart of Oak celeberations. Photos of people working are in the gallery section - pop over to the gallery page and have a look.

Comments from Wood carving Workshop held at Decoy Park on 19th February 2012:

I’ve been looking forward to this and enjoyed myself so much I’m going to go and get myself some tools. I love the texture of it - and how the shape grows out of the wood

I used to do this at school, but never thought of doing it outside. It’s like riding a bike - you don’t forget the skills you’ve been taught

My Dad and I are doing this together. I’m not old enough to do it on my own

I’ve done leather carving and carpentry - but this is different - not harder, but different.

I’ve surprised myself! I thought I was going to be rubbish, but it looks OK

From Wood carving Workshop held at Decoy Park on 17 March 2012:

Mentee Oscar:
One of the most revealing insights I’ve gained so far whilst helping Doug with his role in the Heart of Oak project has been observing the emergence of latent abilities in the participants. It has shown me that the most important aspect of teaching a skill is simple encouragement and reassurance, people have an amazing talent for teaching themselves the finer points of woodcarving when provided with a nurturing environment.

My worst fears came true....I’ve become addicted

I had the opportunity to take my piece home and it’s given me the confidence to do other things - it was a super opportunity, thanks Heart of Oak, thanks NA Museum.

Great fun. More!

Very inspiring. It was fun playing with ideas.

I needed the encouragement to give it a go!

It was just great to have people to help, encourage and show you how to do what’s in your mind.

It was so good to have good sharp, tools of all sorts of shapes and sizes - If I had to go into a shop I wouldn’t know what I needed and would just walk back out. Now I have some knowledge to start myself off in the right direction.

I went straight down to the recycling centre after the first session and got myself some chisels. A friend sharpened them for me and I was away. I had to be dragged in to eat.

Oh, if only I could have done this at school! I could have been famous by now!

Comments from Wood carving open session held at St Leonard’s Tower on 24th March 2012:

My son has inherited his grandfather’s wood working tools. He’s really keen to do something with them - but doesn’t know where to start
And later........
He’s been shown how to hold the chisel properly, how to sharpen them, and how to make himself an apple-wood mallet. He’s got a grin from ear to ear!

On 12th October, wood carver Doug King-Smith and mentee Oscar Holland helped people turn their hand to wood carving at the Clock Tower with people of all ages trying carving for the first time. Passers by, local residents and visitors to the town were able to have expert tuition in wood carving from Doug and Oscar. Participants carved oak leaves and acorns and certainly got a feel for how difficult it is to carve intricate designs into oak panels. Do look at photos in the gallery and to view a short video of what happened at the workshop visit the Heart of Oak vimeo Channel,