Woodcarvings from Gröden
Even before Gröden has become a renowned holiday destination in the Dolomites, Gröden Valley was already known for its elaborate woodcarvings.
In the past, Gröden Valley in the Dolomites was largely cut off from the outside world and the majorly rural population used to carve artworks out of wood during the long winters. As well, the woodcarvings ensured an additional income and the tradition was passed from generation to generation.
First written evidence of woodcarvers from Gröden date back to the 17th century: Christian Trebinger and Melchior Vinatzer both realized impressive Baroque works for the churches St. Christina and St. Ulrich – from crosses and holy figures to cribs and altars. The woodcarvings had become more and more popular and distribution was organised in a better way. By 1850, half of the inhabitants in the valley, worked as woodcarvers. They realised clerical as well as profane works. For instance, the famous “Grödner Gliederpuppen”, typical jointed dolls, were even exported to America.
Museums & exhibitions
An overview of the woodcarving tradition in Gröden during the last centuries, including cribs and many other products, offers Museum Gherdëina in St. Ulrich. However, if you are interested about modern woodcarving art from Gröden, you should visit the congress centre in St. Ulrich: Here, the permanent exhibition ART52 shows the variety of woodcarvers and artisans from Gröden every day. Also, there is the UNIKA group: Many artists and artisans of this association present their works each year on the "UNIKA" Sculpture Fair.
Tradition and present
Together with Lajen at the entrance of the valley, Gröden has remained a centre of the woodcarving art. However, other regions such as Ahrntal or Sarntal have woodcarvers too. For purely handmade carvings from South Tyrol, there is a seal of approval. As well, there is the brand Gardena Art for products which are 100 % made in Gröden and following the traditional woodworking criteria.