Posted by: Michael Keller Woodcarving | July 4, 2011

Healing Properties of Your Woodcarving

We all know what a pleasure it is to walk into a room full of art that pleases you.  And, speaking for myself, when I see art that is not pleasing, I can’t wait to get away from it.  It’s like crappy music.  I find graffiti to be un-nerving.  I don’t like paint spattered all over walls or sticks glued together in some random fashion either.  Wow, I just reminded myself of Andy Rooney.

We know that prisons are painted in colors that have proven themselves to have a calming affect on inmates.  In more recent years, many hospitals and medical facilities have included art in their buildings to help patients in their treatment and healing process, to calm fears, speed recovery, as well reduce stress for staff and visiting family members.

Studies have been conducted on the benefits of art in the health care field.  Positive art images have a healing affect on the autonomic nervous system, hormonal balance, brain neurotransmitters, the immune system and the blood flow to all organs of the body.

Healing artwork also has a valuable place in our homes, our offices, and our shops or studios.  Today’s world can be a pretty stressful one.  Many people are experiencing anxiety, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, depression and many other ailments as a result of stress, as it takes a heavy toll on the body and immune system.

The woodcarvings that we create can be a powerful tool toward creating a pleasant atmosphere and assisting with health, happiness and well-being for ourselves and others if it is composed of the things we love and are passionate about.

I would also argue that when we carve the things that we love and are passionate about, we will create a better quality piece, get lost in the carving process, and feel so much better about our finished product.

By placing art in our homes and offices that allow us to experience moments of peace and reflection, or a sense of joy or upliftment, it will help us to combat stress and stay more balanced.  Think about what kind of art and colors feel good, make you happy and inspire you.  For many people this involves pictures and carvings of nature, as the studies indicate.

What is hanging on your walls or sitting on your fireplace mantle ?  If you have dreary old pictures that you inherited from a relative as “family heirlooms” and feel obligated to hang them on your walls but have never liked them, give yourself permission to take them down.

The painter Henri Matisse said that art should be “something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.”  Surround yourself with what you love (this applies to everything in your home, not just the artwork) and get rid of what you don’t love.  Then notice how your home, office or shop will transform into a joyful life-affirming space.

Healing and the Woodcarving Process

Obviously for us woodcarvers, the creating of fine art is healing.  Not only is the piece itself healing but so also is the process of creation.
May I suggest to carve only the things that you love.  I assure you that if you carve a piece, as in a commission, that you don’t really have your heart in, it will not be a nice as it could be if you did love it.  And when carving, open your heart to the process and enjoy the moments spent.  I find that when I carve an item that I truly enjoy, it creates an energy in the piece that is recognizable by the observer… or new owner.

Make clean cuts.  You do not need to be a master carver to make clean cuts.  Whether you are a novice or a master carver, clean cuts will add to a carving’s beauty and positive energy.

In my experience, woodcarving is meditative and calming.  I don’t need to sit cross legged or hold my hands in the lotus position.  Carving can be meditation in action and during these peaceful times of calm, you can find inspiration either with the piece you are working on or with others.  It is not unusual for me to carve away and then experience a “waking up,” so to speak, and I ask myself: “hmmmmm, I don’t remember doing that.”

May your experience in woodcarving and your carving projects always be peaceful and healing!

Thank you for joining me.  Please visit my website at: .


  1. That sums up a feeling I have had for years, and never been able to put it into words. Well done, would love to use some of it on my Web Site.
    Terry Adair

    • Thank you Terry. I am glad you enjoyed it. Feel free to use any part of it on your own wonderful web site but please give credit to its source. You do nice work.

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