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Here's My Woodcarving!

by Alexander Grabovetskiy
Waxhaw, NC

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I am a Master Wood Carver and I specialize in architectural and ornamental wood carving by hand.

I am 39 years old, married, and have three beautiful children, Mark (17), Jessica (14), and Alexis (9). I was born in the Soviet Union 1973 in the small town of Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk Region, and immigrated to the United States 17 years ago. Before the Red Revolution my great grandfather was a very famous woodworker and had his own furniture manufacture. But when the revolution happened, my family was moved to Russia. So that is how I became "Russian."

When only a young boy of 6 in Russia, I chanced upon my grandfather who taught me several chisel techniques and gave me my first chisel and mallet. This brief mentorship in an old workshop was the beginning of a life-long prolific career for me. When I was 16, I very impressed by Professional Carver Vladimir Tokarev, who was from my home town of Dimitrovgrad, Russia. He took me on as his apprentice, and under his professional tutelage I honed my woodworking art. This was until the Soviet Government arrested me and sent me to prison because of my Christian faith and refusal to go into the Red Army. I had to survive in jail. I was 19 years old and had a really good skill, and was able to carve and build really unique items. So I started my wood carving business (free of charge) in jail and was making different furniture like tables and kitchen sets. I was honing my skill even more. Amnesty International was advocating for religious prisoners while I was enduring my ordeal. The group protested and asked that religious prisoners in Russia be released. "It was a Wednesday," as I recalled that day I wrote to my future wife and told her that I would never be released. The next day, the administration told me I would be released, and on Friday morning, I tasted freedom. "It was the air of freedom." I was 21.

After prison, I could not find a job. The Soviet Union was no more. Chaos was everywhere. So I had to start my own business. I was Blessed that I had my Wood Carving Skill. I became a professional Carver and some really rich "New Russians" gave some some commission work.

On March 15th, 1996, myself with my Wife Nadia and our 10 month old son Mark immigrated as political refugees to USA. In 1998 I started my new corporation "Aalmark" in the state of Indiana. By 1999 I had 6-8 people working for me. I was doing Architectural Wood Carving and my employees would do other woodworking projects.

As of now I still carve every day and yes I consider myself Professional. I love Wood Carving. I can carve from 6:00am-11:00pm without realizing what time it is. Now I am carving and building hand carved furniture full time for businesses (Furniture, Cabinet, Restoration, Decorative and Ornamental) and private customers.

I can work in any style of carving. I do sculpture, high relief, low relief, architectural, ornamental, no limit really. Give me wood and I will do anything with it. (Almost)

I was recently nominated as "International Woodcarver of the year 2012."

You can email Alexander at info@aalmarkllc.com or check out his website at www.aalmarkllc.com/ .

Would you like to see your carvings in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodcarving projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodcarving. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your carving work in a future issue!

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