The Camden Public Library and Maine Coast Workshop invite the public to attend a special online presentation by world-renowned wood carving master Alexander Grabovetskiy on Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. Maine Coast Workshop is hosting Grabovetskiy at their studio in Camden for a five-day immersion workshop. This Zoom event is a unique opportunity for the community to get a peek at the craft of classical wood carving. Maine Coast Workshops is a small woodworking school; the school offers a limited number of classes each year, with a focus on traditional 18th-century American craft. Email jpierce@librarycamden.org to request a Zoom link to attend this free online event.

Grabovetskiy has hand-carved many pieces for luxury homes around the world. “He has been called the world’s finest carver,” says William Brown of Maine Coast Workshop. “He also is a fascinating man, from Russia, who gives a colorful and animated presentation.”

Grabovetskiy was born in the Soviet Union in the small town of Dimitrovgrad in 1973 to a family with an inherent love for the arts. His great grandfather, an expert at custom wood carving, had his own furniture business. Grabovetskiy received his initial education in ornamental wood carving from his grandfather when he was six years old. When Alexander was 16, he impressed Vladimir Tokarev, a professional carver famous for his skills with creating hand carved furniture and other wooden goods. Tokarev took the teenager as an apprentice, teaching him the techniques that would help Grabovetskiy create unique, award-winning wood carving masterpieces.

Life seemed to be heading in the right direction for Grabovetskiy when he suffered the biggest setback of his life. He was arrested by the Soviet Government, and sent to prison for his adherence to faith and his refusal to enter the Red Army. He was released from prison at the age of 21. By that time, he had already started a successful architectural and ornamental wood carving business from prison. In 1996, Grabovetskiy, his wife Nadia, and their 10-month old son Mark immigrated as political refugees to the United States. Now Grabovetskiy lives in South Florida, is still married, and has three children – Mark, Jessica and Alexis. His love for wood carving has only increased with time, and he still carves every day.

For those who may be interested in attending the five-day, in-person workshop at Maine Coast Workshop, visit mainecoastworkshop.com for more details. For more information about the Zoom program and other upcoming events from the Camden Public Library, visit librarycamden.org.