"Ax Day" is one of the most notable international festivals of folk crafts in Siberian region of Russia, annually organized at the rural park "Okolitsa" in Tomsk. This year the event was held on August 20th - 25th, and well received by participants and visitors together celebrating its twelfth anniversary. International Wood Culture Society (IWCS) was invited by the Tomsk Region Administration to take part in this grand event.
The woodcraft contest was the most important and most eye-catching program of the festival. The contest was divided into different categories: Garden sculptures, Wood carving, Object of architecture, etc. Materials used in the contest were the Siberian cedar and red pines. This year, Tomsk had united talented artists from all over the world, many of the whom are the World Wood Day frequenters. There were Russian wood carvers from 37 regions and 30 international craftsmen participated in the event demonstrating their art work with diverse cultural background.
In addition to the wood carving contest, the "Ax Day" festival has a large number of interactive handicrafts programs related to forest products, for example, the art of birch bark making, woodcutting, woodturning, pyrography, tree bark painting, traditional dance performances, puppet playing, even tree seedlings for sales. The wood carving art pieces and architectures from previous “Ax Day” Festival can also be found in the open park. Hundreds and thousands of local visitors came and enjoyed the event in the park.
Led by secretary general Ms. Su Jinling, IWCS team was warmly welcomed by the Tomsk Region Administration. On August 22nd, IWCS team was invited to visit the Tomsk Region Forestry Bureau. During the meeting, Mr. Konev, Director of the Tomsk Region Forestry Bureau, introduced the forest resources, industry, and forest related trades and non-timber products of the Tomsk Region. Ms. Su Jinling also gave a thorough introduction of the World Wood Day event to all woodcarving contest participants and they appeared to be interested in taking part of it.
Following by meetings, series of activities were specially arranged for IWCS team including visits to local forest museums, a woodworking vocational college, timber industry factories, non-timber forest food product incorporations, forest seedling center, civic center, and 2 local art studios; the studio of the famous artist in Tomsk, Leontiy Usov, and the art studio of the event prize winner, the AB Studio. All arrangements gave the team an opportunity to experience and understand more about Tomsk region.
An official meeting and a press conference were held on the 26th by Tomsk Region Administration. IWCS secretary general, Ms. Su Jinling expressed the deepest gratitude on the kind invitation and all well-arranged visits. In order for the press to understand more about World Wood Day event, Moreover, Ms. Su Jinling gave a brief introduction of the WWD event to the press by explaining its purpose and impact on the global community. The deputy governor, Mr. Knorr, on behalf of the Tomsk Region Administration highly considered the value of WWD, and showed great interests in holding one of the future World Wood Day event in Tomsk, Russia. The trip to “Ax Festival” laid a good foundation in promoting World Wood Day, culture exchange and collaboration between IWCS and Tomsk region in the future.