The Wood Carver (revisited)

If you follow this blog, you may remember this man whom I featured last year in the post Arts and crafts in Mozambique  . . .

The Wood Carver – a unique and talented artist. ©WMB/

He’s the wood carver who carves the most amazing pieces by hand. Although he has some assistants doing the rough-hewing of the timber, he does all the fine carving himself.  Last year his focus was on carving big fish. [You can see more photos and read about the process in this post.]

Willie recently returned to Mozambique, and found that the wood carver is still there. And he has expanded his business, as well as his artistic focus. When Willie’s group was there, he said that he had already sold most of the smaller pieces to other tourists. Willie tried to explain that the photographs they took of him and his work last year, have been seen by people world-wide. Not being able to communicate well, Willie is not sure if he understood what that meant.

Negotiating the price of this fish, which now resides in South Africa. ©Theo van Zyl

One of the typical wooden fish sculptures. ©WMB/

Now there are big fish and big sea-horses . . .

As you can see by comparing the sculptures to the people in the photograph – these are BIG pieces. ©WMB/

Lined up and watching the road ©WMB/

A wooden audience ©Theo van Zyl

Also new are the sculptures of human faces . . . Each face is different and fits the piece of wood it is carved from. The way Mozambicans depict human faces is very different from how South African artists do. Interesting considering they are neighbouring countries.

©Theo van Zyl

©Theo van Zyl

©Theo van Zyl

©Theo van Zyl

A sculpture which has just been started. ©Theo van Zyl

And in some pieces, humans and fish are combined . . .

Note the “t-shirt and shorts” uniform worn by fishermen from all over the world! ©WMB/

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Categories: Lifestyle/Travel, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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20 Comments on “The Wood Carver (revisited)”

  1. May 23, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    I love his fish….

    • May 24, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      Yes, they are nice. We’ll have to persuade him to start exporting to Japan! 🙂

  2. May 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I hope he does well with his work.

    • May 24, 2012 at 7:12 am #

      I agree – you want somebody who is talented and works hard at it to succeed.

  3. May 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Brilliant work. How great that Willy got to see him again!

    • May 24, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Willie is becoming a regular in Mozambique, so is beginning to meet the same people year after year. It’s good to see the wood carver is doing well.

  4. May 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    What beautiful work – it’s amazing to me what amazing things people can create with most simple of tools.

    • May 25, 2012 at 7:01 am #

      Maybe that’s the sign of true talent? Nice to “see” you again, Jolene! 🙂

  5. May 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I apologize for the redundancy of “amazing”, but it really is!

  6. Estie
    May 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Great to see and made in such primitive conditions and with simple tools. Why are we always waiting for something to inspire us or for the right environment or the perfect tool?

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      Shows that truly talented people don’t need fancy tools to create beautiful things.

  7. May 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    What talent! I can’t even draw a respectable stick figure so it’s hard to imagine how he “sees” the figures in the wood. You mentioned that each face is different and fits the wood it’s carved from.
    I’m glad that he is doing well with his sculptures. Thanks for showcasing him on your blog.

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:24 am #

      That’s exactly what fascinates me about sculptors or carvers – how do they “see” the three dimensional figure in a block of wood or stone? I agree, somebody like that really deserves to be successful.

  8. May 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    This is wonderful!

  9. June 4, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I think those seahorses are fantastic – I really love the photo “A Wooden Audience”.
    Not too sure how they’d fit in the boot of a car, though!

    • June 5, 2012 at 7:26 am #

      I thought the “wooden audience” was such an unusual angle to photograph the seahorses from. Yes, you definitely need lots of space in your vehicle for one of those big pieces. The wood carver also makes smaller ones, but they sell-out quickly.

  10. August 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm #


    These are what you call talent!! Hats off to him.

    • August 4, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Yes, he is very talented, isn’t he? Always wonder how sculptors see a figure in 3D in a block of wood or stone.

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