Friday, February 19, 2016

Carving a Willow Wall Hanging Staff

Wood Carving in February

Wood carving, who knew it would be so much fun. Our newly formed carving group in Creston, BC has been busily carving once a week over the winter. The weather has been so nice that one member has already been carving outside. This really is ideal as the chips can just fly. 
Leaf details
This diamond willow staff was purchased years ago on our trip to Alaska. Finally, this winter I started carving entwining leaves on it with a few clusters of berries. To start I sketched one or two leaves, scored around the shapes and carved out some wood to create a relief. Best to think ahead a little as you may want two leaves overlapping one another in which case you want to be careful not to remove too much wood. Making the most of the bumps and twists in the wood is one of the challenges of designing the pattern. Somehow I have a knot right in the middle of a leaf. What am I going to do with that?
For variety I am carving a few different leaf details with one of the designs being the mostly dominant throughout the piece for consistency. The stick is currently about 5 feet long but I will be cutting it down to the necessary length for hanging a textile art piece on (yet to be created by me).

I keep thinking I would like to add some transparent colour to the leaves and berries.
There is as much variety in carving subjects as there are number of people carving. Here are some samples from this week's carving get together.

 This is only one in a whole set of figures for a nativity scene. Note the one below that is finished and painted. L has her block of wood screwed onto a vise. Let me tell you those wood chips can really fly with the piece being so steady. Take care when sitting in the line of fire!
 A, has a good start on this 'mountain man'. All began from a simple rectangular block of wood purchased at the local hardware store.
 R, harvested this lovely piece of diamond willow himself and is cleaning off the bark and carving out the diamonds.
C is in the beginning stages of carving his own designed figure. C, is a painter so working in the three dimensions required with carving challenges the mind in a different way. I find it quite exhilarating.  
Joseph was painted in acrylic and then an antique stain was used to age the finish. After it was all dried, L sprayed a clear finishing coat to protect it.

A, is really getting into carving of characters. The first guy originally had a hat but things happen and you just have to adjust. Just look at that wonderfully shaped cowboy hat on his next carving. The pipe was carved separately and one day at the end of carving it was missing. I looked through the chips in the dust pan and didn't see it. Luckily someone else checked again and found it. Those little items are difficult to carve.