Saturday, March 14, 2015


Working in an alternative medium feels quite freeing. As a beginner, you do your best but there are no preconceived notions of the quality of your work. This winter I couldn't wait to purchase a diamond willow stick at the carving show. Where I used to live as a child in the Peace River area, diamond willow stalks could be gotten for free but here, I was happy to pay $22. for one.
A few pictures from my winter carving class. We have three new members and gosh they are doing  great. Of course that has a lot to do with the fact that we have a master carver, Joyce to provide excellent instruction.

Two new carvers. John from Alberta and Estela from Az. Missing is Diane also from Alberta.
John has a lot of carving to do as this is the first of a set of Chess pieces. This is the King carved in butternut wood. It is harder than bass wood but isn't the grain gorgeous.
Joyce showing Estela the importance of scoring the details first.

Estela's 'Little Man' . Amazing as this is her first year of carving.
L.Z. applies the technique of chip carving to a round surface. Now that is talent for you.

Diamond willow stick with the bark removed, the diamonds carved out, some peak holes created and the whole thing sanded and sanded. Larry is getting to be an expert at staff carving.

Close up of see through holes made between back to back diamonds.

Here is my diamond willow stick with a hole drilled through to start the look though. Gosh do I have a long way to go. It has a twig sticking out of it and I plan to carve a bird to sit there. This will be a very long project.  When I said that I plan to use my willow stick for a wall hanging rod, someone asked me what the wall hanging was like that is to hang on it. I had to say I haven't started it yet but I think it will be the easier of the two to complete.

Joyce, demonstrating how to carve a face.

Can you see the clean cuts. This is a master's work and what the rest of us carvers aspire to do.

It is always nice to have a sample to work from and by the next week John will have the duck's head attached. To do this he will drill a hole in each, insert a small round peg and glue the two pieces together.
Estela's first bird. Some carvers like a sanded smooth finish and some like the knife marks to show.

John's carving a gnome. He seems to always have someone in mind he is giving the piece to before he starts carving. That seems like a good idea to me.

Note the beard is detailed now.

Under Joyce's expert hand, a simple board cut out comes to life over a few hours and that is with all us beginner carvers interrupting her many times for help.

Almost done. Look at how clean the cuts are. No little fuzzy bits of wood hanging on.

My border collie is happy to be at home with all her toys surrounding her.

1 comment:

Win Dinn, Artist said...

How lovely to see all this carving, from newbies to a master. I've always been charmed by diamond willow sticks, and was practically salivating over them!