Canadian Wood Carver Creates Incredible Sculptures in Cottonwood Bark

It is said that if one is naturally talented, this god gift has to manifest itself at some point in time in one’s lifetime. So is the case with Lucas Kost. This 26-year-old woodcarver, based in Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, found his true calling when he was only 11 years old.

It all started when Kost took a lesson in carving from a masterful carver. So impressed was he with the whole process that he decided to go in for it full time. It was not long before he surprised all with his carving skills. Since then, he has been expanding his skill set. Today, his work ranges from small and large wall hanging pieces in cottonwood bark to larger 3D custom wood sculptures. The pandemic, too, gave him ample time and opportunity to create many sculptures uninterrupted.

Kost uses 13 basic tools for carving that include both chisels and gouges. As regards procuring wood for carving, he considers himself lucky to be based near the Red and Assiniboine Rivers that have cottonwood bark trees in abundance. He only needs to take a stroll to find a perfect piece that meets his purpose. Says he on his website, “I harvest this wood in a sustainable fashion from the banks of these rivers, either as driftwood or from deadfall cottonwood trees.” He never carves live trees.

Kost, in one of his YouTube tutorials, explains the process that he has evolved. He takes a piece of cottonwood and holds it with his left hand. With the right hand, he holds the chisel and begins to scrape off the bark. He uses his left thumb to guide the right hand with the chisel. This not only keeps chiseling under control but also keeps him safe from accidental cuts.

The human face inspires Kost and his goal is not only to carve it in its exact likeness but also to capture its emotions. He creates the human face by expertly shaping the nose, refining the eye mounds, creating the brow and forehead area of the face. For larger sculptures, he uses a chainsaw to first rough it, before he begins detailing it by hand.

Lucas Kost

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