Chip-carving is a woodcarving technique in which geometric patterns are incised into timber surfaces in low relief by means of chisels, gouges and parting tools.

A wonderful example of this craft is a demountable occasional table, produced in Melbourne around 1902 by English-trained emigrant carpenter George Stevenson Liggins (1874–1907).

Chip-carving also became a fashionable hobby for the middle classes in Australia, particularly among women, during the Arts and Crafts movement (1880s–1930s). As an addition to the many handcrafts used by women to decorate interiors, chip-carving was suited to the home environment as it required few tools and created little mess. Many amateurs gained instruction from magazines, newspaper articles and practical manuals, with pattern books providing additional ideas and designs for the ornamentation of domestic items.

Common late-19th- and early-20th-century examples of chip-carving are small decorative objects such as picture frames, panels in pieces of furniture and small boxes produced from softwood timbers such as pine and cedar. 


18 April 2011 - 19 August 2011