Czeslaw Olma

Czeslaw (pronounced "Ches'waf") Olma is a talented self-taught wood carver who lives on the outskirts of the southern Polish city of Bielsko-Biala.  A beautiful shrine and three over life-sized carved wooden sculptures guard his house. As you walk inside, you are met by a multitude of colorful Madonnas, saints, devils, and village people. Although Czeslaw is inspired by religious subjects, he is also moved to carve pieces about social issues. His most unusual sculptures deal with the problems caused by air and water pollution, deforestation, corruption, greed, and gossip. Czeslaw enjoys carving both hard and soft woods, including oak, birch, linden, and spruce. Each sculpture is signed and numbered and can be found in hundreds of collections in Europe and America.

shrine.jpg (68077 bytes) czeslaw.jpg (91707 bytes) 2czeslaw.jpg (91377 bytes)
House Shrine House Guardian Czeslaw and another
House Guardian
deforestation.jpg (63000 bytes) pollution.jpg (59799 bytes) retirement.jpg (65396 bytes)
The first generation plants the trees, the second generation nurtures the trees, then the third generation, featured here, cuts them all down.
Water Pollution (notice the webbed feet and strange large fish) Retirement
For more information, see "Polish Carving: Where Ideas Take Form," in Wood Carving, March/April 2001:56-59. To contact Czeslaw, you may write or speak to him (in Polish or Russian) at:
  ul. Janowicka 219
  43 344 Bielsko-Biala
  Telephone: 011 48 603 547 993
gossipback.jpg (61627 bytes)
(notice the large ears)
Polish Wood Carver, Jan Piotr Ledwon
Polish Icon Maker, Dr. Miroslaw Mrozowski
Silva Foundation Workshops in Lisbon, Portugal   
Marquetry of Granada, Spain  
Religious sculpture in Seville, Spain
Haida wood carver, Reg Davidson
Haida painter, James Sawyer
Mexican wood carver, Fernando Giron Pantoja
Mexican marquetry box maker, José Antonio Rodríguez
Wood carving in Foumban, Cameroon, Africa 
Ga Coffins in Teshie, Ghana 
Wood Carving in Bali, Indonesia 
Horn Carving in Bali, Indonesia

Web page, photographs, and text by Carol Ventura in 2000. Please look at Carol's home page to see more about crafts around the world.