While it has been a favorite hobby for centuries, wood carving has finally become a recognized art in the modern world. The sophisticated use of power tools and education has turned it from something to do to pass the time into a world of its own. There are still plenty of people who consider it nothing more than a hobby, but the art world has also recognized there are those who have transcended into the world of true artistry.
Wood clubs are often made up of a collection of hobbyists who are interested in chatting while they work, and they are willing to teach what they know to newcomers. There are generally one or two members with a vast knowledge of carving, and they share their experience as their charges begin to advance. Soft woods are where beginners normally start, and using harder woods is a mark of their ability to learn.
For those who want to become experts, power tools are now an important part of the way the art is created. Small pieces are still valued, but larger pieces are now a mark of artistry. Carving with small power tools allows carvers to create pieces in a shorter length of time, and they have the advantage of being able to work on harder woods with little effort. Chain saws are generally reserved to create large pieces, and learning to use them is often taught by a parent or friend.
There are few formalized classes in how to carve wood, but that is beginning to change. Lumberjack festivals are beginning to have chain saw contests, so formal classes and seminars are not too far behind. Those seeking more information can find resources online, or they can check with other members of local clubs to see where they can find the instruction they need.