About Sonrise Woodcarving Studio & R. Stephan Toman

R. STEPHAN TOMAN – Master Woodsculptor and Artist


My name is Stephan Toman. In 1983, while living in Tulsa, I built myself a hammer dulcimer and carved some crude maple leaves into it with a Dremel for decoration. A year or so later I discovered decoy carving and fell in love with carving birds. I was academically exhausted, and the carving was a therapeutic hobby. In 1986, having returned to upstate New York with a young family to feed and unable to find a job because of the recession, the Lord opened a door for me to begin to carve details for reproduction mantelpieces, and Sonrise Woodcarving Studio was born. By the grace of God over the past three decades I have become a competent master of my art.

This Eastern Bluebird was carved around 1987, when I was first exploring my new art form.
This Eastern Bluebird was carved around 1986, when I was first exploring my new art form.

Everything I offer is my own: Well, mine because of this creative gift that the Lord God has given me. I honestly did not know that I could carve until I was thirty years old. I have always been artistic, but I grew up with a scientist father who had no head for art, and for a plethora of reasons I was never encouraged in my creativity: My dad wanted me to be a chemist. I ended up being a rebellious hippy until I finally got my act together in 1974 when the Lord stopped my death spiral. I stumbled into this vocation after I burned myself out pushing through college and into seminary, and the Lord decided that I needed to learn something other than theology, and religion, and philosophy. So, He awakened this creative, visionary, imaginational side of me, and He has spent the last thirty years teaching me about Himself and His creation through wood working and sculpture. It’s like He said, “It was good enough for my Son, ( Jesus was, after all a craftsman); it’ll be good enough for you.” I’ve learned a lot.

So, I offer to you my original creations…made in America, not out-sourced. I didn’t even go over the pond to learn what I do: I’m self-taught, which means that I tend to think out of the box and have a style of my own. I know the best European master carver in America. He says to me, “Stephan, your work is wonderful, for someone who is not trained.” I take this as a high compliment: My carvings are different from the stuff that is locked down by 500 years of tradition.

Whether you invest in a sculpture in beautiful hardwood, or a bas-relief wood carving to grace your wall, or a resin casting of one of my hummingbird or dragonfly designs, all of the offerings from SONRISE WOODCARVING STUDIO either are or begin as hand-carved original art works. There is enough garish and poorly made junk being foisted on all of us every day to sink a cruise ship: I don’t want to contribute to this assault on good taste and the meaning of art.

I am, by training, a wood carver, but we live in a wonderful world of amazing new materials, and I have been discovering other media that are delightful to work with, which allow for whole new explorations in creativity. So I have begun to think of myself more as a “sculptor” and an “artist” than simply a woodcarver. In my gallery pages you will find sculptures carved in rare and beautiful woods, carvings created in ultra-high density urethane (HDU Corafoam), painted artworks, and explorations in resin-castings. Please enjoy.

As you explore this website you will discover not only a huge range of some of the finest woodcarvings available in North America, but also an always expanding catalog of unique gifts and original décorative wall art, sculptures, garden art, other interior and exterior design ideas for your home and office.

Please visit often: I will try not to disappoint you.



( The Eastern Bluebird carving was an early effort that I did back in 1986.  I haven’t done many birds since the ’90s, but am now returning to that “first love” with the exploration of my high-relief designs of hummingbirds and flowers.  The Celtic cross above is an original design carved in Honduras mahogany.  I am making an effort to discover a “new inspirational iconography” for the 21st century “Kingdom Church” that is now awakening around the world as we are, as a race, pretty much coming to the realization that our best efforts at getting our act together are probably going to end up pushing us all over the edge of a cliff in the relatively near future, and that perhaps a return to a living faith in the only God who can deliver can actually keep us from collectively committing suicide.)

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