Master Class with Spencer Tinkham: Introduction to Sculpting with Wood¬

A white man with glasses leans over a wooden sculpture he is carving.

Photo courtesy of Spencer Tinkham


Saturday, May 11, 2024
10:00 AM-3:30 PM
Virginia MOCA


Adults (16+)
1 session
Instructor: Spencer Tinkham

Join Witness artist Spencer Tinkham for a workshop surveying the world of contemporary wood sculpting!

Together, we’ll learn about different wood species, get a feel for common tools of the trade, and see a special demonstration of Tinkham’s intricate carving process.

This workshop will begin with a gallery walkthrough where we will see Tinkham’s finished artworks and hear about his process. Next, we’ll gather for a hands-on introduction to common wood species and tools for sculpting. Then, we’ll view a demonstration of Tinkham’s carving process before trying some introductory wood sculpting of our own.

By the end of this workshop, participants will leave with newfound knowledge about the overlap of contemporary art, craft, and science, as well as a handmade wood silhouette sculpture of a native bird species!

There will be a 30-minute lunch break, so please bring along a bagged lunch.

Level: All levels welcome
Saturday, May 11
10:00 AM–3:30 PM
Members $75, Nonmembers $90


A wooden sculpture of a close up view of a starling

Spencer Tinkham: Witness

“No better way is there to learn to love Nature than to understand Art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.” —Oscar Wilde

Artist Spencer Tinkham loves nature and art and has made a study of both. From an early age, he became enthralled with the study of birds, admiring the rich diversity and variety found in his childhood neighborhood. They inspired him to look more closely, observing the beauty of their design and structure. He realized that through sculpture, he could preserve his fleeting encounters with nature’s inhabitants. Tinkham travels across the country to research specimens found in natural history museums, discovering the fascinating individual narratives birds have courted for millennia. They were and are tiny witnesses to the big things happening on our planet. Tinkham pieces together their stories and shares their minute beauty with us, carving the details of their feathers into enlarged spotlights.

Birds have existed in every age of human history. They live on every continent and ocean, bearing witness to the great changes on our planet, both natural and manmade. They are a fluttering, swooping, soaring part of our lives. We share this earth with them as their neighbors, albeit poor ones, destroying their habitats and averting our gaze from their decline. But it’s important to recognize that our ecological fates are intertwined—what happens to them will happen to us. If they disappear, so eventually will we. Tinkham shares their stories of witness with us. Their fragile beauty is magnified so as not to be missed by the careless eye.

Tinkham’s work is collected and exhibited internationally. He is a David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023 finalist and has pieces in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and Dollar Tree, Inc. collections.

February 9, 2024-June 9, 2024