From concept to creation

While I am waiting for the finish to dry on my newly completed project, I thought I would take the time to show some of the pictures I took of the work in progress.

First, a nice section of very green mulberry was selected. It was a living breathing tree a month ago.  Its only fault being that it was growing to close to my uncles barn.

Fresh cut log debarked

Fresh cut log debarked

A note on carving green wood.

Carvers set themselves up for potential disaster whenever green wood is used.  The key is to alleviate the stress from the log and to carve it as quickly as possible . The sap wood will check and nothing can be done about that.  But I believe the checking of the  heartwood can be forestalled by boring a hole through the center of the oldest growth ring. I do not own an auger so the best that I could do was to drill a hole into the top and bottom of the log with the largest drill bit I had, which happens to be 1/2″ diameter.  The log developed a couple of minor cracks  before I drilled the holes.  Having temporarily alleviated the stress in the heartwood it is a race against time before the sapwood starts to check….A race which cannot be won.

stress relief

stress relief

This should be the first step since you don’t start a carving without first developing the concept.

Nothing to know here,  just a simple, symbol of fertility.  Every flower garden or patio should have one.  (yes, I have one to sell you.)

sketch-of-pregnant-woman

Okay, time for the hard/fun part.  I’ll skip the pictures of it looking like a deformed lump.  Suffice it to say that there were many days of pounding chisels into wood  with the effect of chips flying off the tips of keenly honed blades, whirring back past my face so fast that they sounded like hummingbird wings, in flight.  I took to wearing safety glasses for the early roughing out stage.  I carved it turned upside down on occasion to see if the forms were true.

upside-down-pregnant-mulber

Here I am, working at the new carving bench that I had just built before starting this project.   I am working on the detailing stage of the carving.  My favorite part.

Matt-carving

Photo courtesy of Dawn Bonebrake

I agonized over the curve of the lips and the shape of the eyes for hours.

unfinished bust

unfinished bust

A plug was carved to fill the hole in the center, and then sanded down smooth with the table top with progressively finer grit sandpaper.

table-top

I have just come in from applying the third and final coat of finish.   Tomorrow I will  post her in all of her finished glory.  I hope that you will be here too.

mulberry-bust

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1 Response to “From concept to creation”


  1. 1 auldiy September 14, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Interesting to see the project develope.


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