Ortisei’s woodcarving tradition dates back almost 400 years, when the Trebinger and Vinatzer families along with a certain Johann Demetz started woodcarving in Val Gardena. These families made their living as farmers during the summer and by carving in the cold and snowy winter months. Working out of their homes, they first started with smaller carvings of saints, little reliefs, wooden toys and picture frames. By the 18th century the woodcarvings of Val Gardena were appreciated for their beauty all over Europe.
Today the Demetz Art Studio is one of the worldwide leading workshops that manufactures ecclesiastical art and continues the old tradition of woodcarving in Val Gardena. Its roots extend deep into the history of woodcarving, since it is a family business that was founded in 1872 and passed on from generation to generation. During the last decades it has reached worldwide fame for its modern religious sculptures as well as its traditional art.
This family business is in the process of changing: its fifth generation is getting introduced to the business with his son, Reto, and one of his daughters, Anja. The senior president, Mr. Ivo Demetz, has achieved worldwide fame for his company during his over 55 years of dedicated, successful work, and he is still the general manager of the Demetz Art Studio.
The headquarters and showroom in the centre of Ortisei in a century old building just in front of the Church of St. Ulrich built in 1729.
The woodcarving workshop and art studio just outside Ortisei. It has a surface of 3,000 sqm or 33,000 sqft with the most modern technological infrastructure and spacious ateliers for large jobs. Demetz Art Studio also has a chin drier which guarantees that the wood has a perfect humidity level and will not crack or split over the decades.
The fiberglass workshop in Villasanta, just 10 miles North of Milan, is one of the most advanced facilities for the production of all kinds of resin figures. ODemetz Art Studio's own workshop, all on one floor, has more than 1.500 sqm or 16,600 sq feet of and allows their staff to elaborate fibreglass statue in any requested size.
Woodcarvings are valuable for their timeless beauty, becoming more precious with age. Wood itself is loved for its warmth. The character of wood is always preserved weather left in its natural state or lightly finished in oil colours.
The wood used to create Demetz Art Studio fine works is called Linden wood or also Lime wood ( Lat. Tilia spp.). Demetz Art Studio imports it from Eastern Europe, cut it and kiln dry it as needed, this way the best quality pieces are used. In spring Linden flowers are collected to make a very aromatic herbal tea.
Linden wood is used for carving since it is not too hard, fairly white in colour and, when professionally dried, it does not make small cracks as pine wood does. In addition, since Demetz Art Studio uses just the “first bull”, i.e. only the trunk to the first branches, it is without knots. Each statue is made out of different laminated wooden pieces.
The same carving tools used a few hundred years ago are still being used by their talented sculptors. On the first carving stages, the artists may use a larger cutting tool with a wooden hammer or in case of very large figures even a chain saw.
The colours used by Demetz Art Studio are regular oil colours. Even if the statues look so polychrome, Demetz Art Studio artists use only 12 basic colours and mix them to obtain endless varieties, thus each of their works is even in its colouring unique.
Maintenance: Thanks to an opaque lacquer overcoat, simply dusting the statue with a soft cloth will suffice to cleanse it. If necessary, use sparingly some water with a mild soap detergent.
Make sure to avoid any acid chemicals. Since wood is still a living material small cracks or splits can occur mostly caused by changing temperatures and humidity. These do not affect the value of the artistic object but makes it more precious with time.