Ornaments Artist Unleashes Potential of Wood

Christine Coffman has turned her artwork into a thriving business.

 Hand Carved Butterball Ornament

At age 12 Christine Coffman asked her father to teach her to carve. That was 46 years ago in Garden City Michigan. Over time her own style developed and people began to see her Polish and German heritage in her work. Listening to advice from fellow carvers, she learned to be more detail oriented. She also learned that she was not so much a woodcarver, but an artist who worked in wood.

Coffman draws her own ornament and figurine patterns and then forces the figure from the wood. She uses both Butternut wood and Linden wood, also known as Bass wood. Linden wood is used due to the perfect pairing of its properties to her needs. Linden wood is light and strong. The grain is straight and allows fine knife strokes to create a smooth surface. Butternut wood is used for its interesting grain patterns. Both woods are native to the eastern United States.

Ornaments were a natural extension of her artwork. Each ornament is still a tiny, original sculpture that looks natural hanging by a string. Granted, sometimes the cats or elephants ornaments are hanging by their tails, but who is to say that is not perfectly natural?

By drawing her own ornament patterns, Christine is able to change them on a whim. She will use a basic outline to start the carving but by giving each ornament carving different details, she creates very different looks. That premise carries over to every ornament figure she carves. The little children ornaments may be described simply as being dressed in pajamas or nightgowns and holding onto the string with one hand, but once carved, each child has his or her own distinct look. The wooden ornaments at are not limited in design. You will find nativity sets, wooden santas, cat figurines and much more. With Christine Coffman’s talents and skills, a piece of wood is pure potential.

Article and images used with permission from Christmas-Carvings.com


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