Whimsical Wood Blog Pages

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This blog features the current woodcraft, Art and Graphic work of David Stanley.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This is a sketch of the preliminary design for the 'Cariad' welsh love-spoon, my first commissioned carving. The spoon is for a Canadian and American couple of Celtic descent, ( Irish and Scottish ). It is in memory of their son Roman and loved one (Cariad), a mechanical engineer who had worked in Wales where he had enjoyed hiking and scrambling in the welsh mountains.

The front of the spoon will show, at the top, Mt Tryfan with the sun behind it, carved in shallow relief and enclosed in a ring frame. The iron gate in front of the mountain motif is after an actual gate that can be seen at the foot of Mt Tryfan. The continuous celtic knot represents the couple's celtic background and the mechanical elements; the pinion, gear wheel and connecting rod, signify the mechanical engineering profession.

The Welsh word 'Cariad' carved as insular script letters, roughly translates as 'loved one' and overlays the central portion of the spoon.

Finally the small ring encircling the stem of the spoon above the bowl, represents the 'Iron Ring' which is of particular significance to Canadian engineers and a reminder of their professional responsibilities.

A further element to be added to the design will be the inclusion of canadian geese. This was the suggestion of the couple commissioning the spoon, as they felt a desire for the representation of some living things on the spoon, to balance the mechanical and inorganic elements. They also related to me the unique significance canadian geese had for them after they had given their son a toy canadian goose in token of their connection when he first left home.

This was an excellent suggestion of course, as it will add meaning to the spoon and improve the design as well. The challenge will now be incorporating the new elements. I will be travelling throughout April and hope to be able to post the new design at the end of April.

The Iron Ring worn by canadian engineers can be seen here above the bowl of the spoon.

'Cariad' ( meaning 'loved one' ) in Insular script, placed across the gearwheel and pinion in the centre of the spoon.

Mount Tryfan and the gate at the foot of Mt Tryfan carved in reief at the top of the spoon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I've finished 'Eager to Learn' and made the frame. I will soon begin the blog on my first welsh love-spoon commission starting with the preliminary sketch and alterations leading up to a final design.

Here is a full view of 'Eager to Learn' showing the frame made from Eucalyptus viminalis, textured with gouge cuts, stained with potassium permanganate, the high edges of the gouge marks rubbed back a little with rotten stone on an alcohol dampened rag and finished with wax.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Continuing the rendering of 'Eager to Learn' I'm still using the same nib with short stipple-like strokes. This is not true stippling but the overlaying of short gliding strokes using a low heat and building up the darker areas by continual overlay of the same brushing strokes.

This method seems particularly suited to the representation of fur; short strokes for the mice and longer ones for the longer cat fur.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I have commenced rendering 'Eager to Learn'.
Again with the same pyrography nib used for laying in the outline, but this time using a relatively low heat, tone is slowly built up on the timber surface, over time, as many passes are made with the pyrography nib until the desired tone and colour are achieved. These tones are then repetitively layered one over the other to achieve increasingly darker tones.
There are no really deeply engraved lines using this technique. Short, 'gliding-across -the-surface' strokes, in a stipple like pattern, gradually polish and darken the timber surface to produce a dark velvet like finish without any furrowed texture which can reflect a little light from the peaks of each furrow wall and reduce the depth of the darkest tones .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This pyrography work called 'Eager to Learn', has been drawn in graphite pencil directly onto a 3mm thick Hoop Pine Plywood panel 330mm X 420mm and I have commenced burning in the initial line work with the pyrography tool nib that I have shaped and polished from High resistance wire. Hoop Pine, not a true pine, is an Australian timber very soft and also very pale without any open grain or figure. The last two characteristics make it very suitable for pyrography.
I have been constantly delighted to see examples on the web of stunningly inspiring pieces of work in all kinds of crafts. It is also a delight to witness the enthusiasm shown by people, beginners and expert, in all stages of the journey they are undertaking in their craft. I am especially appreciative of those that generously publish their progress, their processes of design, their methods of work, tools used, mistakes, remedies and successes for the benefit of others. Having benefited so much from this myself I would like to attempt a contribution of the same kind. So I am intending to Show my own progress in various woodcraft projects in this blog, in the hope that you will find it helpful for your own work, or for you to help me with mine. My interest is in many different kinds of woodcraft but in particular the hand-carving of Welsh love-spoons. I am only a beginner at this fine art of love-spoon carving, as I have only made two love-spoons so far. However I'm almost convinced that if ever a craft was the proper domain for beginners, then carving welsh love-spoons was it. Surely love-spoon carving, by the very nature of the case, was mostly carried out by beginners, a labour of love to produce an extravagant gift. I will soon be posting on this blog the beginnings of my first commissioned Welsh love-spoon, so it may seem strange that I am starting with some pyrography work. It is some work that I need to finish soon so that's where I will have to start.