British Decoy & Wildfowl Carvers Association (BDWCA)
Members of the BDWCA (British Decoy & Wildfowl Carvers Association) are wood carvers who specialise in the creation of a wide range of birds, often referred to as “releasing the bird from the wood” as each bird will start as a simple block of wood. One of our constitutional aims is to promote and develop the art of wild bird carving, and we exhibit each year in the Art Marquee at the Birdfair. Some of our Regional Groups also meet at wildlife centres and exhibit at local events, where the public can see us at work.
The inclusion of the word ‘Decoy’ in the Association’s name causes confusion in some people’s minds, but nowadays in this country, and many others around the world, decoys are increasingly used to attract wild birds, enabling capture for weighing, ringing and checking the general health of a species.
Three styles of carving exist today – Decoy, Decorative and Interpretive. Decoy style reflects the origins of the art. Birds must depict the salient features of the species but may be of quite a simple design. They should be capable of attracting fellow members of their species. Decorative style is perhaps the most challenging as carvers seek to recreate lifelike depictions of birds. This is an opportunity to demonstrate their skills, and the finished article can be almost indistinguishable from the real bird. Interpretive style allows great freedom to produce an artistic representation of a bird. Here almost anything goes providing the work clearly depicts a bird and is carved from wood.
The Association normally holds its Annual Show and Competition – the Festival of Bird Art – in Bakewell, Derbyshire, on the second weekend in September, but this year we will have a Virtual Competition where each member can enter one carving. They will compete at Youth, Novice, Intermediate and Advanced levels in categories ranging from fully textured and painted Waterfowl and Birds, smooth painted Waterfowl and Shorebirds, and Decorative Miniatures to Interpretive Wood Sculptures. The six Open classes – Working Decoys, Fish, Innovative Wildlife Sculpture, Carved Bird’s Head, Carved Bird’s Head on a Stick, and Feather – will return in 2021. Photographs of all the carvings entered in 2019, plus the winners from the shows in 2015 to 2018, and more information, can be found on our website – www.bdwca.org.uk. The pictures of the entries in the Virtual Competition will be added after the virtual show in September.