The Sydney Woodcarving Group

Member Profiles I


As interviewed by John Fallon,


Angela is a long time member who has participated for 19 years of the Sydney Woodcarving Group activities.  She has held several executive positions and more

recently, has been the Group’s Web Master

having responsibility for the compilation and

presentation of the


For many years Angela

has involved herself in

other creative activities

including the design and

embroidery of a two

metre circular wall

hanging depicting the

12 astrological figures;

she has taught herself

to play the ukulele,

reads copiously and

researches family

history, is compiling a

travel diary through her

extensive travels

Australia wide within

the intent of possibly

publishing a book, and

she enjoys both live

theatre and screen


She has travelled to

Thailand for a short

workshop with a Thai

Master Carver and

thoroughly recommends

the experience to

anybody with an

interest in wood carving.  Her Australia wide travels has given her the opportunity to see meet many other carvers and woodworkers and to gain further experiences of styles and techniques.

In asking Angela the following questions, we get an insight into her carving world:

When did you start to carve? After visiting the Sydney Timber and Working with Wood Show 1996

What inspires you when you carve? The thought that I am artistic after all and can actually carve a piece of wood so that it actually represents something

Which is your preferred style of carving and why? Because of my constant travelling I have chosen to make smaller things, so miniature carvings, netsuke style, stylised birds, brooches and occasional life like representations of people. I say occasionally as they don’t always work.

Do you have a preferred finish for your work and why? Depending on the carving, of course, but for a stylised object it is all in

      the finish, therefore I will sand and sand up to an extremely fine

      grit, so that it literally shines before adding two coats of good wax.

      For a normal carving with a lot of detail I still sand up to around

      400-600grit a coat of sanding sealer and then wax, being careful

                                                                  to do a section at a time and

                                                                  making sure wax does not

                                                                  settle into grooves and

                                                                  crevices.  I have used

                                                                  polyurethane but only on a

                                                                  walking stick to be used


                                                                  Which tool wouldn’t you

                                                                  be without and why? My                        

                                                                  Pfeil No.11 knife. The

                                                                  majority of my carving is

                                                                  done by being hand held

                                                                    and cut with a knife, many

                                                                    would say whittling, but

                                                                    that is not necessarily so.

                                                                    I also use palm chisels

                                                                    a lot.

                                                                     If you were not a carver,

                                                                     what would you be?

                                                                     Quite probably a writer,

                                                                     although I do love working 

                                                                     with my hands but am

                                                                     useless at claywork. I

                                                                     prefer to take it off, not put

                                                                     it on!

                                                                    What was the most

                                                                    profound thing learnt

                                                                    whilst at the workshop in

    Thailand? To be confident. It was amazing how simple Noppadahl

     (my teacher) made it all look and to see him holding the object with his feet and carving a perfect elephant in a few minutes was brilliant. But good carving comes down to confidence. Don’t be afraid to dig that chisel in, I have watched beginners work and the ones that are diffident get nowhere as they just chip away and it takes so long to see a result they give up. He was also an advocate of using the right chisel for the right cut, ie., if it was a 2” cut he would use a 2” chisel!

You travel a great deal, how do you find that? I have made so many friends whilst travelling. I am always on the look out for woodcarving in any shape or form and was indulged in England by my fascination with churches, whenever I came across one I would go in, most of the churches in England are open during the day, and lo and behold there would be some marvellous carving, stone and wood. I have hundreds of photos of misericords and other carvings, and throughout my travels in Aus I get along to local woodworking groups and get to meet some great wood artisans.

Angela Johnson

Member Profiles (click to follow)


1. Angela Johnson

2.  David Crawford  

3.  Sandra Hamblen

4. Ted Furlong

5. Jim Lee

6. Tony Nesbitt

7. Enn Muller

8. John Unwin 

9. Kevin Gillis Queens Honour


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