In The Studio With Master Artisans, Evgeni Dimov and Georgi Todorov
I had the distinct privilege of training with a true master of wood carving and metal engraving, Evgeni Dimov. On two different occasions during my stay in Bulgaria I traveled to Sopot, Bulgaria where Evgeni creates his masterpieces. His work is sought after all over the world, creating many commission pieces each year. I was fortunate to watch him carve a custom bow which was destined to the USA after it was completed. As an understatement I will say about that piece is that it is a true work of art.
Evgeni carves all his creations with his own hand-made knives. An additional skill that takes many years to master.
And speaking of masters, the second time I was in Evgeno’s studio, there was an exhibition of the works from his mentor and teacher, Svetlosar Raichanov.
After seeing the samples of Svetloser’s early carvings and etchings, I have more understanding of the skills Evgeni posses. With permission, I am posting photographs of a few pieces from the show. As many pieces were purchased years ago, portions of the exhibition are photographs. I tried to photograph a few of the photographs that caught my eye to share here as well.
Evgeni has many attributes which make him a master of his chosen art. He is a teacher, offering regular sessions to the youth of Sopot. He begins by teaching basic skills, so that when the children are finished with their education they are capable of duplicating the things they have learned.
Under Evgeni’s tutelage, I made attempts to cave with knives, a skill I have no basis to draw from. I also took the opportunity to try my hand as metal engraving. I have always had great respect for the artists who engrave items like guns and especially the barrels. After this first attempt, I will say that my respect has grown even stronger. The skill required to engrave even a simple piece of flat aluminum is beyond my abilities at this time. However, I feel this would be a good skill to develop. Below are photographs from my days in the Evgeni Dimov Studio, including some of the tools I used as well as a shot of me at the work bench.
Another of Evgeni’s attributes, which I respect ,is his sincere desire to see other artists succeed. He hosts a weekly webinar where local artisans can communicate and support each other. He also has a number of artist friends with whom he regularly meets to discuss their various arts as well as just have fun as friends. One of the members of this fellowship is Georgi Todorov.
Georgi creates handmade pipes, which he sells across the globe under the name “Getz Pipes”. I had the opportunity to spend some hours speaking with Georgi, in his workshop, about his creations and many other subjects. Also in attendance was his girlfriend, Angelina Vesselova, a writer. So we had lots of artistic thoughts in the room that night.
Below are a few of Georgi’s pipes he had in his shop, some shots of completed pipes and a few of pieces in work.
As our time together was coming to a close, we touch on the idea of a pipe done in the stylized oak leaves I like to carve. Georgi had some scrap pieces of Briarwood lying around so he gave me a piece to carve with my Paragraver. He also had a pipe he had started some time ago in his shop which he did not intend to finish due to some flaws in Briarwood the pipe is made from. He sent it back to Velingrad with me so I could add a little Brian Baity flare to this piece of wood. After a few hours of thought and some furious carving, so I could get my contribution to this collaboration completed before I go home, this is what I came up with. It will now go back to Georgi for some finishing which is a talent he excels at. I can’t wait to see it finished. I also include an image of the experimental sample carved in the scrap wood.
My time with the Sopot Fellowship will always be a high point for my visit to Bulgaria. Thank you, my new friends, I am honored to have shared stories and hours.