Saturday, 25 May 2013

Adventures in Woodcarving - Part 3

    Well, my uncle, who is an AMAZING woodcarving (check out his work here), said, "I don't do whimsical" when we began carving together a few weeks ago, yet he took the time to show me how to carve a simple mouse - you can see my results here - and when I showed up for my third woodcarving session guess what my uncle presented me with?  Check this out:

aka to his friends, 'Archie'
(Hand carved by Mike Sullivan, basswood, painted with acrylics, approx. 3"x 2.5"x 2.5")

    Archie had only just come home with me when he discovered the 'garden' (backyard) and he set to exploring it... He was found this morning climbing the Box Elder and inspecting the English ivy that has been clamoring up the tree's length (as you can see in the above photos). 
    When I inquired about why he, being such a small mouse, was climbing such a tall tree Archie informed me, quite seriously, that he had created an official position, to which he appointed himself: "Herbaceous Specimen Inspector."  I was about to ask what exactly that job would entail when he toddled off further up the tree only turning back long enough to ask if a clipboard and pencil might be handy.  When I informed him that we only had 'human-sized" clipboards and pencils, I do believe I heard a "Tsk, tsk" before he turned away and continued his journey up the Box Elder...

       I knew my Uncle Mike had whimsy in him!!  I love this mouse and how he took it to the next level: li'l glass eyes, wood burning Archie's fur, giving him not just a tie but a red tie with white polka dots!! Oh yeah, there's all kinds of whimsy in him just waiting to get out!!

    The kids had a day off of school and joined me last week for a carving session, so Uncle Mike generously prepared projects for them to work on while we carved.  He cut out a pelican profile and carved off the edges a bit and then showed them how to use two different grits of sandpaper to smooth out the birds... When they felt they were as good as they could get - Uncle Mike encouraged them to take them home, look up pelicans on the internet to find proper colouring and paint their l'il wood sculptures.  They were inspired to get right to work painting upon returning home and this is the end result:

(Sanded & Painted by Kiddo #1)

(Sanded & Painted by Kiddo #2)

    In other news, Kevin the hedgehog discovered a second hedgehog taking up residence in the ivy garden - even though hedgehogs are rather solitary animals I do believe they will become good friends!


    My uncle's creativity inspired me to make a story about his li'l carving, and that li'l carving puts a smile on my face every time I look at it!  His project for the kids encouraged them toward finding their stick-to-it-iveness in sanding and inspired them toward research & artistic flare in painting their pelicans!  
I ♥ inspiration!! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

My Adventures in Woodworking: Part 2

    This is the very first hedgehog I have ever carved, therefore it's special and its name is Kevin... 

 "Kevin the Hedgehog"
(basswood, approx 3"x2")

The rough stages of carving a hedgehog from a block of basswood...

    My Uncle Mike lent me a wonderful hand chisel and showed me how some light gouges would create the desired texture for the hedgehog's coat of bristles.I still need to put eyes on him - just as I need to still put eyes on Clem & Clara.

   I haven't been feeling very well for the last few days so I've not been able to carve any more hedgehogs, as I had hoped, from the wood blanks my uncle sent home with me.  Hopefully in the next day or two I'll be able to get some work down on them.

    It's definitely inspiring to see a simple li'l sketch in my sketchbook:

 ...turn into a li'l sculpture I can hold in my hand!  

Looking forward to making some more!

    ♥ Cath-

Monday, 6 May 2013

My Adventures in Woodcarving

 "Clem & Clara"
(hand-carved, basswood, each approx. 2.5"Wx3"Hx2"D)

Clem & Clara are a sweet li'l couple who took up residence here
 in the last week or so.  Clem is always doing thoughtful things 
for Clara... her favourite thing is Springtime blossoms and
 flowers, so Clem rarely returns from his morning walk 
without a small fragrant gift for his sweetheart.

    In late winter I asked my Uncle Mike if he would be willing to teach me to carve - he's a brilliant wood carver - check out his blog here!  We planned to get together weekly beginning in late April.

    So my first lesson was two weeks ago... I decided I wanted to try carving a mouse - who doesn't love a mouse??  Uncle Mike cut a few pattern blanks out of basswood for us to work with and we got started.

    Within a couple hours Uncle Mike had his mouse practically completed - carved tail and chiseled ears - and all I had was a chunky piece of wood with a pointy knob on top and a few rough pencil makings. 

    My uncle obviously had enough faith in my ability to somehow grasp the technique he had taught me because he sent me home with my chunky piece of wood with the pointy knob on top and handed me the third pattern blank he had cut and told me to bring back the finished mice the next week.

    I worked away at home on my carving and soon Clem was completed - I gave him arms so he could collect flowers and decided to even include a flower in his tiny grasp.  I penciled two eyes on his face and set him down in the grass and snapped a photo of him:


       Excited and enthusiastic about the result of several hours of carving, I carefully set Clem off to the side of my work space and snatched up the basswood blank, carving knife at the ready and - I FROZE!  I couldn't remember how I even started Clem nor how I completed him!  My mind went completely blank! I just sat there holding the wood blank, staring at Clem, trying to figure how I went from Exhibit A (the wood blank) to Exhibit B (the mouse). 

    I set the block of wood down. I picked the block of wood up. I put it down again. Okay, wait, I can do this!  Yes! I can! Okay, deep breath in... Exhale slowly... 

    I picked the block of wood up again and remembered the first simple instructions Uncle Mike had given me: "Start by carving off the corners and edges."

    A couple more days of carving and Clara was sitting beside Clem, gushing over the flower he was presenting her with!



"Clara & Clem Going For A Walk In The Ivy Garden"

    Getting over the "mind blank" and completing Clara with her tiny clasped hands was a very inspiring! I was excited to show my uncle what I had been able to complete in a week's time and he must have been somewhat impressed with my accomplishments because he sent me home with my completed carving from Week 2 and FOUR wooden blanks!

    In my next post you will see my completed Week 2 carving - and maybe a couple more completed carvings from the wooden blanks!