re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

#67 Wood carving: Lighthouses and driftwood.

Lighthouse and driftwood, collection of Beth Klompmaker

Visiting family and friends is always a blessing, a good time.  One of the added joys for wood carvers is seeing works that have been gifted or purchased which have been pushed from memory by newer carvings and carving ideas.  This Easter weekend was no different.  The picture above was a driftwood scene I found in my sister-in-laws basement.  I remembered the piece the moment I saw it.

Lighthouse, reverse view

Lighthouse, side view

The first thing carved was the lighthouse itself.  The large size of the driftwood demanded a larger lighthouse carving than I had carved previously.  Once the lighthouse was completed and “tacked” in place the piece called for more.
So, the keeper’s house was next.

Lighthouse and keeper’s house

You will notice that the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage were set into the driftwood.  This a feeling of solidity in the face of a storm.  The setting in process came after both carvings had been completed so that they could be fitted exactly.

Lighthouse, tree and walkway detail

One of the interesting things of which I was reminded when I revisited this carving were the “scrap” trees.  Each tree and clump of trees were carved from basswood scraps.  The driftwood, picked because its gray coloring resembled the rocks of the Atlantic Coast, called for something more along its length.  I was reminded of the pines one finds on in the American Northeast.  I have traveled there with family and have always enjoyed the pines.  So, we added a few pines and pines clusters.

Another view of the “forest”

pine tree clump

You will notice that the pines do not fit into the driftwood like the lighthouse and the cottage.  This adds a bit to the realism of the piece since trees come close to the ground but do not fit neatly as “factory made” trees might.  The added benefit for the viewer are  shadows created by the tree bottoms.

A view “from the forest walkway”

One more feature makes the entire piece.  After the trees were mounted to the driftwood something was needed to tie the entire work together.  Unpainted basswood strips proved to be just the thing.  I had a hand full of thin strips of basswood left over from another project.  These were trimmed down to make the cottage landing, the walk ways, and the stairs.  The light color of the wood provides a nice contrast to the darker driftwood and the green trees.

Map of Michigan lighthouses and the carving

Two last thoughts.  First, you will notice in the final picture how my sister-in-law has augmented the piece with a map of Michigan lighthouses.  The map even has pines and rocks around the lighthouses shown.  Against the white walls the picture and the carving compliment each other well.

Second, since this is a wood carving blog, I will raise a question I often hear or give to others – Is there anything on this piece you would change.  Yes, had I known how great the entire piece would look with the trees and walkways, I would have spent a little more time on detailing the lighthouse and the cottage.  Perhaps more lines for stone or bricks or more work on the windows.   Then again, the work has to be finished sometime.  Enjoy.

“An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends  and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.”  Proverbs 18:1

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2 responses

  1. hooray michigan

    April 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    • Yes, my home state. Spent the weekend there. Love the beaches and the lakes.

      April 26, 2011 at 6:34 am

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