Woodcarvings true works of art

Over the years since the middle of the last century Paul Lautard has been capturing local scenes in his bas-relief wood carvings.

Paul Lautard’s bas-relief woodcarvings show amazingly fine detail with animals and foliage standing clear of the background. To accomplish this he would first carve the details on the foreground features and then

Paul Lautard’s bas-relief woodcarvings show amazingly fine detail with animals and foliage standing clear of the background. To accomplish this he would first carve the details on the foreground features and then

Paul Lautard, former resident of Rhone now residing in Midway, hosted a display of his life-long woodcarving hobby last week in the basement of Parkview Manor.

Word spread around the community and Lautard spent the day greeting people as they came to see his work.

He said he began carving in his 20s. In fact, he did one carving while stationed in Scotland during the Second World War that he left behind there when he came home. He continued his hobby until he had to quit when his eyesight began to fail.

The bas-relief carvings were done in teak planks which came from Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand.

They are heavy, and as Lautard points out, they were once twice as heavy before he began to bring them to life, a task that took as much as six months per piece.

Many of his carvings depict local landscapes— lakes and mountains; one shows a prospector’s cabin that no longer exists. Another shows a winter scene with a cougar treed by dogs.

Each carving has a custom-made wooden box to protect it that Lautard (a retired carpenter by trade) made before he started the piece. Also on display were the tools he’d used, including a hammer for his chisel work that he’d made from a broken baseball bat.

He said his woodcarvings have been displayed in schools, both locally and on the coast, and in the Vancouver and Coquitlam art galleries.

The lines he uses to frame the scene are perfect and his letters look like they were done with stencils. A modern CNC routing machine would be hard pressed to equal Lautard’s hand-carved work.