Rules and guidelines 2024

  • A carver may enter carvings in ONE level only.
  • The registered carver or “designated team” must make all carvings. A designated team consists of two individuals (e.g. carver and painter), who worked together on a particular carving/work. Individuals can only belong to one designated team.
  • Entries are to be handmade of wood. Other materials may be used for habitat, eyes and structural purposes.
  • Submissions at the Advanced and Masters levels must be original art, a concept of the artist’s own making. Carvings done in a seminar or with any assistance or coaching from another carver will not be considered original.
  • Habitat and feet in Masters, Advanced and Intermediate levels must be hand-made by the carver.
  • Cast feet/legs, stones, driftwood habitat are allowed in the Novice and Youth levels only.
  • Carvings must have been completed in the 12 months prior to the opening date of the show.
  • The decisions of the judges will be final.
  • All entrants must complete and sign an entry form.
  • All entries should be pre-registered  with payment made at the show. Carvers are asked to pre-register early, by August 8th using the on-line registration form to help with planning. Entries may also be registered at the show from 1300 to 1700 on Friday and 800 to 1100 on Saturday.
  • All entrants are responsible to select the correct category for their work and to check all information slips to ensure their carvings have been correctly registered. The registration committee will assist as necessary. In the case of controversy, the registration committee’s decision will prevail.
  • Once a carving is entered, it can not be touched or altered in any way.

  • Purchase Awards: All carvers are eligible to enter carvings for consideration in purchase award competitions. For entry in purchase award competitions there is an additional registration charge of $5 for Novice and Intermediate entries and $10 for Advanced and Masters entries. This charge is not reflected on the registration page, but will be added during on-site registration.
  • The NBWA also invites carvers to bring non-competitive/strictly for sale carvings to the Show. The Show will organize an area to display carvings for sale during the show and provide staff to monitor the table and collect monies on your behalf. For this service there will be 10% commission paid to NBWA in the event your carving sells. There is no fee to display on the sale table if the carving does not sell.
  • While the organizers of the competition agree to take every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of articles submitted, it must be understood that the owners of each article are required to directly assume all risks, including an article accidentally damaged. For lost or stolen articles, the organization will not recognize any claim for payment of the value of the article or costs incurred, whether in full or in part.

Level Qualifications

  • All carvers may enter the Masters level by choice
  • All carvers may enter Advanced level by choice, except carvers who have qualified as Masters.
  • All carvers may enter Intermediate class by choice, except carvers who have qualified for Advanced or Masters.
  • Carvers may enter the Novice level by choice (including youth) unless they have qualified for the Intermediate, Advanced or Masters level.
  • The Youth level is limited to age 16 and under carvers.
  • Purchase awards are not considered to be a level. All carvers may enter the Purchase Awards.

Masters Level

Carvers who have won two (2) BEST OF Show in Advanced or Open at any carving show, must advance to the Masters Level.

Advanced Level

Carvers who have won Two (2) BEST OF SHOW in Intermediate Level at any show must advance to the Advanced Level.

Intermediate Level

Carvers who have won TWO (2) BEST OF SHOW in Novice Level competition at any show, must advance to Intermediate Level.


Judging is a difficult task. It requires a broad knowledge of the species and specific knowledge of the detail of the subjects. The judge(s) will consider all of the following factors in their decisions::

  • Technique and craftsmanship
  • Accuracy or correctness of the piece
  • Artistry
  • Presentation
  • Other elements, e.g. creativity, complexity

The judge(s) are not obligated to award a First Place (or any) ribbon if they don’t feel it is merited. Judge(s) have the discretion to move carvings to a different category, to combine categories or subdivide categories, if felt appropriate.

The decisions of the judge(s) are final.

Code of Ethics

As a competitor, you must keep in mind that a competition is a public forum to have your work judged against that of other carvers and it is not a perfect process. Indeed you may agree or disagree with your fellow carvers, the judge(s) or the public at large. Therefore we ask all carvers to be guided by the following:

1) A carver is responsible for knowing and understanding all the rules of the competition.

2) A carver will address any complaints directly and only to the Competition Chairperson.

3) A carver shall not communicate with the judges at any time during the judging process.

4) If a carver solicits a Judge to critique his/her carving/work after it has been judged, the carver will accept the Judge’s comments courteously.

5) A carver should respect the work and skill of other carvers; no matter at what level they work.

6) Carvers should be willing to share their knowledge and learn from others.

7) Carvers are ambassadors for the Art of Woodcarving. Their conduct reflects on all fellow woodcarvers.

8) Judges or members of their families can only enter pieces in those categories and/or levels that they are not personally judging, and must recuse themselves from any subsequent award decision involving such pieces.

9) Judges must be given the show rules a minimum of one week before the show and confirm that they completely understand the rules After all judges have to be accountable too.


The competition committee may take pictures of all entries in the competition. These pictures may be used for the promotion of the competition in the future.