Next Steps in Carving

Mary May
July 20-24

This workshop is designed to strengthen carvers’ tool handling skills and deepen their understanding of what makes a carving tick. Emphasizing clean, precise, and efficient cuts, Mary teaches more advanced techniques through demonstration and one-on-one guidance. These include learning how to make carvings appear deeper than they actually are through undercutting, overlapping, and the use of design perspective.

During the week, students carve ornate acanthus leaves, classical ribbon designs, and deep-relief English roses, before finishing up with projects of their own design. Throughout, participants learn to better visualize the final piece so that they can make successful carving decisions at every step along the way. 

Mary May is a self-employed woodcarver in Charleston, SC, with three decades of professional experience in carving architectural ornament, custom furniture, and sculpture. She originally studied with master woodcarver Konstantinos Papadakis in Minneapolis, and later furthered her skills in England, Greece, and Malaysia. Mary has been a featured guest on the PBS series “The Woodwright’s Shop” and teaches throughout the U.S. and in Europe. She has an online video school and is the author of Carving the Acanthus Leaf (Lost Art Press, 2018). Mary’s website is


Open to intermediate carvers, including anyone who has taken an introductory carving course.



Tuition: $820



Kellogg HomeTraditional Acanthus Leaf by Mary May, basswood (5"x7"x1"), 2011  

Kellogg letter blocksEnglish Rose by Mary May, basswood (5”x1½“x4”), 2019