The Woodcarver The Woodcarver Woodcarvers are sometimes said to identify and release the inherent qualities of the piece of timber on which they are working. Each piece of wood selected for carving has had a unique organic history made up of many variables. For example, the density of the grain will relate to the growing habit of the tree, whether it had developed quickly or slowly. The colour of the wood and its texture vary from species to species. The carver may collude with the piece of wood before him to express himself through the features and qualities that its history has fed into it; conversely the nature of wood dictates what can be done with it. This image is a useful clue to the way in which PROMISEworks mentoring happens. This story seeks to explore this phenomenon. The comparison to creative activity using organic material is neither coincidental nor fanciful. There is in both a paradox which is a source of discomfort to many who favour order and control. The woodcarver may be seen to bring about a transformation, from a piece of wood into an elegant figure of an animal conveying movement and vibrancy or an abstract shape of intrinsic appeal. This is not really a transformation, however, but a realisation of the form that already lies within the wood. In the years of its activity, PROMISEworks’ experience is that the process has followed a similar course to that of the woodcarver. The unique qualities of the material are released and realised with the aid of the carver; the mentor.