Enfield Woodcarving Club History

Club History

Enfield Woodcarving Club evolved out of the Enfield Evening Institute of Education evening classes for those interested in pursuing a hobby or interest which was at the time held at Kingsmead School.

Vitold Janis Bukovskis who was known to everyone as John was the tutor at these Woodcarving evening classes. He was born in Latvia in 1926 a Latvian refugee of the 1939/45 war. He had left his homeland and all his family as a teenager never to see them again as the Russian forces were setting their boundaries for what was to become known as the Iron Curtain countries.

On arrival in Great Britain he attained citizenship and employment as a coal miner but this employment was a necessity but not of his liking and so when it was possible he moved South of the country to North London where he gained employment as a leather worker. His interest of Woodcarving which had been acquired over many years also stood him in good stead and it was in this craft he applied for employment to Enfield Evening Institute as a tutor for Woodcarving.

He did this with enthusiasm for many years and he and his student's work was always much appreciated when shown at Enfield’s craft shows one regular summer event being on the Library Green at Cecil Road. 

On the right:  John at a display of carving on the Green in Enfield Town. In the foreground are some of his carvings. 

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Vitold Janis Bukovskis ( John )

The time came when the Woodcarving evening class was to close as the funding by Enfield Council ended. This caused a problem for all those who attended his classes. It was his suggestion and offer to continue in the role but that all those interested woodcarvers along with him would have to find a new venue outside of the evening class circuit.

With his contacts he was able to acquire a room at on the top floor of the Millfield Arts Centre Silver Street Edmonton. Facilities were poor for carvers but all the students joined him there and found that working on their laps was interesting and in keeping with the attic of the Georgian House they now worked in. 

John as we all knew him started the club rolling with a £50 donation and the first Enfield Woodcarving Club evening began on 9th February 1988. John’s club as it was now known continued through his patronage until his death after a short illness in October 2004 at the age of 78 years old in Edmonton. 

Club members continued at Millfield but numbers fluctuated and numbers have yo-yoed between three and ten for many years. In July 2010 Millfield House was going to undergo a major refit and we were asked to vacate during this period. Rather than stop carving for several months during this time the club members agreed to find alternative premises to house our Woodcarving evenings. Hence we relocated to our present home in Chace Community School and the first Woodcarving evening began on the 7th September 2010. The days of Woodcarving on our laps have now gone as here in the school we have purpose built benches with a vice to work on.