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

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Carving of the 'Dragon Lovespoon' Commenced

After completion of all the scrollsaw work, from the pattern. I have commenced the actual carving of the design. There is in fact still quite a bit of design work left to be done, because after the initial plan view drawing of the spoon design, and perhaps a few sketched lines on the edge of the timber block, everything else 'inside' the carving, is beyond my visualisation ability and I am forced to proceed intuitively into the rest of the carving work.

When I say 'forced' into an intuitive mode of working, I don't mean to say that this aspect of the work is not an exciting one and also an enjoyable one, as possibilities suggest themselves for inclusion in the design at many points, in a way enhancing to the work. Things that I might never have thought of with pencil and paper alone. Things for which I can take no credit, just recognise and accept what has been provided.

There are perplexing points as well, as sometimes no clear way ahead appears and mishaps and obstacles pop up instead. All this is part of the story that goes into the carving of a lovespoon however, and whether it is to be known or not, it's good to think that this hidden narrative will somehow add to the enjoyment the recipient will acquire through receipt of this kind of gift.

Perhaps they will be moved, by an albeit, hardly articulate sense, of what has gone into the whole carving, designing and making process. Moved to something like gratitude, not so much to the designer/carver as for the carver, to the maker of that carver – and also maker of the material used – and also maker of their very selves. Selves that have been given their own skills, abilities, even perplexities of life, in which they are sustained in their being.

It must have been easier in a less technological age, even more perhaps in a less industrial age when the human hand was more evident in just about every household artefact, to be confronted with the connection of human lives that had participated in the things we use and have. Many zeros and ones, company profits, corporate identities and shareholders stand between us and this connection now.

You don't have to own a hand-crafted object (most artist/craftspersons would like you to consider it), but have a look around at that part of creation that consists of things made lovingly by human hand, learn an art or craft yourself if you feel inclined, but consider the creator behind every creation and its human connection. And consider that, that creator connected with humanity by becoming human. Lived, suffered and died guiltless and rose again in eternal supremacy. And consider at last that connection with him which is by his invitation, a connection, when you receive it, for which you can take no credit but just recognise and accept what has been provided.

In consideration now of this particular carving, for better or worse, I'm finding the relative softness of the timber requires careful cutting with very sharp tools. But still, the fiddly cutting in close quarters, that I'm having to do in some areas, is resulting in whispy residues of that cutting and tiny tear-outs that will all have to be removed with careful fine sanding at a later stage, probably lots of fine sanding and somehow that needs doing without removing the crisp edges that will need to persist to the finish.

Normally I would use the penciled-in profile of the spoon, on the edge of the block, (temporarily re-assembled after scrollsawing the pattern) as a guide to removing a substantial portion of the waste with the bandsaw however in this case because the design is so dense and layered throughout most of its length, it's not possible to do this with much certainty of not removing too much. So I'm relying on the timber's softness to allow a gradual removal of waste 'on the fly' at those times during the carving process when I actually know what I'm doing.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the calibration. Been carving a long time and never really talked to another carver.
    Your description of the vagueries is comforting. "whimsical" carving is what I like most. Lately took pictures along the way and have kept some of the things that came up as the piece became smaller. Ghosts!
    Thanks for the posting. john