Renowned wood carver Frederic Zavadil has been commissioned by CRCC to create a sculpture of the Crucifixion for the main altar at the Conference Centre.
Continuing with our questions can you tell us what are some of the other works you have created, both secular and religious?
My religious carvings can be found all over the North American continent. Some of my earlier sculptures were created for a company dealing with religious art. There are resin and bronze casts of them being sold even today, but not under my name, and I do not know where the majority of these statues are. To mention some of the major religious projects under my name – a set of six carved sculptures (St. John Neumann, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, two children) for a Catholic church in Atlanta, Georgia, a twelve foot bronze medallion of St. Pius X for an outside wall of a church in Colorado, sculptures of Jesus as the Good Shepherd for Good Shepherd Parish in Windsor, Ontario. The sculpture I carve most often is Jesus, either as a crucifix or a corpus.
The majority of my secular carvings are commissioned by residents of California. I’m not sure about the reason; it just seems that this part of the US really appreciates classical, realistic hand carving. I have carved several life-sized sculptures and many smaller individual projects for private collections. Some of my larger projects in Canada are a public art project for the Region of Waterloo as well as a 12′ by 4′ panel carved from black walnut and another 12′ by 6.5′ relief carving for a retirement residence in London, Ontario.
Will the spectacular West Coast setting and the strong native wood carving tradition of this part of Canada have an influence on the project you are doing for CRCC?
I have to admit that I have never been to BC. I only saw pictures of the site on your webpage. It is amazing! It will be an honour to have my work surrounded by such a majestic view. I am familiar with the native wood carving traditions in this part of our country. I have seen a lot of pictures and also carvings in museums and galleries but, being originally from the Czech Republic, most of all I am very much influenced by the old European art.
How did you get connected to Opus Dei for this job?
I met Father Gonzalo few years ago when we met to discuss a carving project in Toronto. He mentioned at that time that a new retreat centre was to be built in BC and that there could be a need for some new sculptures. He said that he might contact me in the future. He did so last year in June.
How many hours has it taken/will it take to complete?
I do not measure time when I work. My studio is in our house and I carve every day, sometimes five hours, sometimes fourteen, really depending on how I feel. I can get caught up in my work so much that I don’t notice how fast time is flying. The estimate to complete this project was twelve months, but lately I am spending most of the days carving, so this will probably result in having the work completed sooner.
What do you hope this sculpture will evoke in the worshippers?
A reverence and closeness to God, humility, love. And I really wish people could feel at least part of the emotions I feel when I am creating the sculpture. The biggest reward is to see them moved, sometimes with tears in their eyes, when they see the sculptures for the first time.
More work of the artist may be viewed at https://www.fredzavadilwoodcarving.com/