Cherry Face

I carved this guy from a piece of fire wood. He seems happy to have been rescued from his original purpose.  Now he can just hang on the wall and stare into space.
the wood is Indiana grown, black cherry. Not the best, but its what I’ve got.  It has been drying for approximately one year. Not long enough, but I got tired of waiting. If it will burn, it will carve.  It will be a good experiment to see if his face checks, from the stresses of drying.


The grain is both unpredictable and beautiful. Notice how the left side of his face has a very vertical almost boring grain pattern, while his right side has several  circular ripples that I found very pleasing.

Wood carving is always an adventure.


He has his flaws of course, but I learned things while making him that should help me in the future.


I plan to make a Greenman sooner or later and I thought  if I could carve a face and then carve leaves, then I could also carve a greenman ( Matt logic.)  So this is practice and maybe a confidence booster. It was fun breaking out my chisels and mallet, but  my wood carving skills need a lot of improvement.

The face is full size.

cherry-face-profileThanks to everyone that checks in on my progress and  thanks for the occational bit of feedback that I receive from time to time.


4 Responses to “Cherry Face”

  1. 1 dorisfiebig July 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    hi matt, interesting to see you carve big …is it not fun to carve full size ? i like carving bigger better, partly because its easier on the eyes, but also because its easier to maintain correct proportions… ah the wood is truely beautiful, very nice pattern, in particular on the one side, but still the pattern not overrides the carving. very pleasing indeed… oh, yes, matt logic is good logic, lookig forward to the greenman…

    • 2 matthewgrimes July 25, 2009 at 2:19 am

      Yes Doris I like larger carvings. It presents a different challenge than carving miniature, but I enjoy both. With a full size face I found myself wrapping my hand around my forehead and touching my temples with my finger and thumb and then doing that to my carving to see if it felt the same. Not as precise as calipers but a good measuring devise. I can understand how a blind sculptor would work by feel. Larger work is more vigorous, I liked roughing out with mallet on chisel.

  2. 3 Robert Cahill July 30, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Have been watching your taqua nut carving and find it very interesting. Where would you suggest to fo to purchase them? Is there any suggestion like soaking them in water or somwthing to carve them. Just out of curioustity how many do you have around your neck and what type of comments have you gotten.
    Thanks for sharing this with us I really enjoy seeing your work.

    • 4 matthewgrimes July 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks Robert, I really appreciate that. I would suggest doing an online “Tagua nut” search. I always pick mine up on my trips to Peru and so I can’t give much advise on purchasing them here in the states.

      I tried soaking one in water when I first started carving them and did not think it helped any. They get harder and more chippy as they age, so that’s good incentive to get started on them right away. Buy several more than you might need for your project, be prepared to fail a time or two, and have fun with it.

      I wear four tagua faces around my neck, pretty much every day. I could swap them out for newer ones, but those have sentimental value. I carved them while sitting under a palm tree in Iquitos, with the sun baking into my brain. That was a time when I had a real breakthrough. When I wear them outside of my shirt I can always expect them to be a subject of great interest. The other day a gas station attendant asked, “what do you have around your neck?” I held them up to the window for inspection and explained that I had carved them from a palm nut, her eyes lit up with interest. I approached a line at an airport, the woman in front of me turned to see who was behind her, turned back to the front and then did a classic, double take. Turning back to me, she said ” I really like the female face, is it someone you know? did you carve those yourself?” I like that, when people see it, feel it and respond. I especially like it when they see and feel what I wanted them to. On very rare occasion I get a person who wants to ask me what they see and feel. That always seems odd to me. I realize that we are all wired differently. Some people are uncomfortable with artistic expression. It isn’t organized, doesn’t fall under any parameters that they can understand and that’s to bad, but I will not tell them “this is a frog, this is a rat, this is my interpretation of Jesus.” I make them work it out on their own. Its good for them.

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