Whimsical Wood Blog Pages

Home Page www.whimsicalwood.com

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Carving the Chameleon for the Whimsical Wood Automata

The chameleon character has been carved from Holly and eventually coloured with water colour and coloured pencil on an acrylic base with a final wax finish. The action of the chameleon consists of the body rotating to expose the length of tongue that extends into a hole in the mouth and into the hollowed body. This gives the impression, barely, of the tongue extending albeit in a lethargic manner. I would have preferred a snappy movement but it was beyond me at this stage to accommodate a suitable mechanism for this into an already crowded series of accumulated mechanical devices.

The chameleon carving was roughed out as a high relief profile, first with the scroll saw and then with knives and gouges. The hidden side was carved out for the tongue to slide in and out of through the mouth hole at the front of the head.
After refining and sanding to 400 and 600 grit the process for 'carving' the raised bumps on the chameleon's body could be commenced.

To produce the raised bumps on the chameleon I used a technique outlined in an earlier post on carving 'The Desolation of Smug' dragon. The process is a Japanese carving technique which begins with the actual punching of concave depressions wherever a raised bump is to be. An ordinary nail makes a suitable punch when it is shaped, smoothed and polished, pretty much to the size and form of the desired bump you want to produce.

With the work safely secured, the punching of depressions, sometimes deeper and sometimes more shallow, was strategically applied over the surface to be textured. I am mostly holding the work in one hand while carving with knives and palm gouges but this technique requires both hands to hold the punch and strike with the mallet. I used both a jig with holes and holding cams to clamp the work and also some soft cushioning material to seat the work securely upon. Whichever method held the work still enough for the process without running any risk of crushing or breakage.

I varied the size of the depressions both by mallet force and by using different size punches. When the body had been textured with these depressions the next stage of the process could be commenced.

The next stage for 'carving' the raised bumps requires the 'removal' of what has been done so far. But not everything is as it seems. By gently carving, scraping or sanding with as little compressive force as possible on the work surface, all of the pitting work done so far is sanded, scraped or carved away just down to the bottom of the deepest depression.

Having continued this part of the process until back to a smooth body again - texture given and then taken away - The final part of the process would at last, advance everything to the final desired result.

Sponged or poured, hotish water brings to the surface the raised bumps that had been punched 'in' earlier. This is a useful technique which seems to work with most timbers and will at a pinch produce any raised shape corresponding to the footprint shape of the punch making it.
The water of course re-swells the compressed fibres up above the now removed un-compressed ones, thus producing the effect.

To colourise the chameleon. I first coated the front of the carving with Golden's absorbent medium, so I could paint and lift watercolour pigment, until a variety of greens and orange, broken colour was produced. Coloured pencil continued this slow addition and modification of colour which was finally finished with 'Traditional Wax' to a n appropriate varied sheen.

No comments:

Post a Comment