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The Kingdom of Nepal is home to the Newar woodcarvers who come from a rich lineage that dates back to the 10th century Malla Dynasty. To this day Kathmandu valley contains one of the world’s richest living woodcarving heritages. Lee Birch, an American, studied craft and design at the California College of Arts and Crafts and the San Francisco Art Institute in California. Lee has work closely with the master carver, Raj Kaji Tandukar, for over 25 years to create a world-class atelier that produces "museum quality" woodcarvings. The atelier uses only traditional tools and carving methods to help preserve the heritage and ancient skills of the Newar woodcarving master.

Training is kept traditional. After the sons graduate from school, they come and sit by their father's side. This apprenticeship will last a lifetime. What makes a carver a "master carver" is his ability to execute a new and creative piece for the first time.

Creating from original designs is an expertise at the atelier and they specialize in "one of a kind" commissioned pieces. Lee often works in collaboration with American woodworkers and cabinetmakers who require master decorative carving.


Lee Birch - Woodcarving Studio


Lee Birch personally seasons all of her own wood. The two main woods used are Dalbergiya sisoo, an indigenous high-grade rosewood possessing a rich golden brown color with a distinctive grain and Adina Cordifolia, an indigenous high quality blond hardwood.

Lee handpicks her wood for each design from her personal stockpile of seasoned wood thus ensuring quality and durability. Special finishes, blended from oils and waxes, are chosen to reveal the inner luminance and natural properties of the wood and its grain.

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