re-using, recycling, and redeeming old wood

Archive for March, 2012

89 Carving ideas: Philippe Faraut, Portrait Sculptor

Every wood carver learns from all other wood carvers.  Any debate on this?  One might say that a Phil Bishop or a Lynn Doughty could  not learn from a raw novice, but even they would admit to learning something along the way from “newbies.”  Perhaps they would not learn a new technique or great improvement of style, but newbies ask questions that are “outside the box.”  Those questions make the expert carver think differently about their own work.

Having argued that we all learn from each other, it should also be no matter of debate that we learn more from an “expert” in a field than from a novice or newbie.  Experts have meditated, applied, refined, and sweated over the details.  Someone like Fred Cogelow has poured thousands of hours into the art of wood carving.  Experts teach us more quickly because they have often walked the road we are on, they have experienced what we are struggling with.  So, look for experts.  Here is a clip from a sculptor I enjoy, Philippe Faraut.

Sculpting Demonstration Video Clips by Philippe Faraut, Portrait Sculptor – StumbleUpon.

I would encourage you also to look for his book    “Book 1: Portrait Sculpting:  Anatomy & Expressions in Clay  by Philippe & Charisse Faraut.”  The pictures here come from his book.  There are many more.

If God be God, then no insoluble problem exists. And if God be my God, then no problem of mine is without its appropriate solution. —Maurice Roberts


88 Other wood recycled: How to Hide Dead Trees

I really like the idea of recycling.  It just makes lots of sense.  That is one reason I enjoy carving old wood:  chair spindles, stair railings, barn boards, cut offs, thread spools.  And of course, that is also one reason I am attracted to the material below.

Here is a quote from a post sent to me.  The photos and the work are great.  “All the old cottonwood trees in the area of Craig, Colorado, had some disease and needed to be removed. So the city council approved a Chainsaw competition in the park and offered a prize. The attached pictures are a result of the competition in the park. Great artists! Great public service.”

Of course this is only the teaser picture.  The rest are in the gallery.  “Hats off” to Craig, Colorado for making such great use of lost trees.  And a double hats off carvers for their good work.  My favorites are the Trolls, the Kids, and the Giraffes.  Which ones do you like?

While I do not care for chains saws myself, I am always impressed with the skill others have developed using them.  Again, more food for thought when it comes to my own wood carving.  I have my eye on the giraffe piece.  That might look great in a piece of bass or even a chunk of cotton wood bark.  I would add some paint to them to catch the distinctive giraffe markings and give another layer of variety to a carving.

Three more things to share here.  1. I would love to hear from those of you who check out these posts.  Got any questions or anything to share about wood carving?  2.  I also ask you to consider subscribing if you have not already done so.  I am not only interested in wood carving but also in those who track carving and its ideas.  3.  And finally, do any of you have carving ideas to share?


God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God. He has already lived all our tomorrows as He has lived all our yesterdays. —A.W. Tozer

87 Carving ideas: Awesome Watermelon Carvings

What is an adjective?  A word which…..  Stunning, delightful, breath-taking, delicious, how do these all fit into one story?  And carving no less.  As you have already seen, the watermelon carvings below are gorgeous.  Skill, experience, and artistic ability all contribute to wonderful carvings.  See the link for all 75 carvings below.

The birds below are my wife’s favorites.  She has a substantial collection of them in wood, glass, metal, fabric, porcelain, and even a gourd.  But this one she won’t keep, other than as a photo.

Now how do they do that?  I know that in wood carving, if you break a piece off you still have a chance to glue it back on.  What do you use when a piece of watermelon breaks off?  Ice?  Hmmmm.  Adds to the difficulty if you ask me.

75 Awesome Watermelon Carvings.

A God who could pardon without justice might one of these days condemn without reason. —C.H. Spurgeon

86 Other carving: Book carving GUY LARAMEE

It is wood.  Well, at least it began as wood.  I know, it isn’t in the traditional form, but wonderfully carved none the less.  I have shown other book carvers, but these are really fun.  Have you seen Petras?  Guy has done a masterful job of giving us the feeling of the place.

The rest of these book carvings are also eye appealing.  One reminds me of a Pueblo of Southwestern USA.  Another has to be named Pagoda.  Not sure if I see it correctly, but one looks like it has a grave at the top – are those flowers?  What do you think?  Another I call “Oriental Mountain.”  It reminds me of scenes from China.  The final one, which also looks oriental, I have named “Overunder.”  It has a great feel to it.

CARVING TIP:  You will notice the good lighting that the photographer used when taking these pictures. A good tip for wood carvers.  I am trying to learn the ropes of lighting.  One site I read mentioned setting up a photo area.  Have the camera, lights, materials and any thing else needed for photographing ready in one place.  Then, when you have a carving ready, it is but a moment to take a few shots and you have something to post.

intro page : GUY LARAMEE.

I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels. —John Calvin

85 Other ideas: Finding inspiration in the art work of others

Finding inspiration in all kinds of places takes work and a willingness to see, for a moment, the world as others see it. Artists catch a glimpse of the world’s beauty, translate it, record it, comment on it in a variety of mediums, display it in many creative ways.  One of the things I like to do is browse the art work of others.  Their pieces inspire me.  I ask, “How could I do that in wood?”

So, here are three stain glass pieces by my friends, Mel and Joy VanEssendelft.  Sorry, these three were auctioned of recently, so if you like one like them you would have to contact me or track them down.

How might you use their ideas for a piece of your own?

This could be a pierced relief to let the sunshine through when it is completed.

I believe that this piece done in wood has to have a textured back ground.  This would give the same feel as the clear diamond pieces of glass here.

The yellow “picture frame” around the daffodils would look good as a strong wood border around flowers set deeply into the wood.

No man ever fell into error through being too watchful. —C.H. Spurgeon

84 Wood carving: Table in Changsha, Hunan, China

I begin this post with an apology to my good friend Alan(wdm)  In a conversation with Alan this morning on QQ I invited him to look on the blog for a few pictures of a table in the Post Office of the school campus where we shared a few summers.  This afternoon I come to my Dashboard and, horror of horrors, I find that I have only begun to set up the next post, haven’t finished it, let alone posted it.

Alan, sorry, here is the table I mentioned.  Do you remember seeing it.  Alina is the young lady in one of the pictures.  Perhaps you saw her when we were walking through the classrooms.

There, enough.  Let’s move on.  Can’t you imagine having a formal dinner around such a wonderful piece?  Or even an informal gathering with the table filled with munchies and drinks.  But of course you will have to to Central South University of Forestry & Technology in order to enjoy it.

One of the great things about travel, for wood carvers, is the opportunity to see new wood carvings. One can only imagine the effort it took to trim and prepare this piece, to work it, and then to get it into place.  The pictures rarely do a piece justice, at least my pictures, but this was an enjoyable find.  Have you any interesting carving photos from any travels you have done?  Would love to see them.

A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant. —Stephen Charnock

83 Wood carving: Big Mouth 1 and 2

I have been showing the work of others for the past while. Thought it might be time to show something I have carved.  These two pieces were begun at the end of last summer.  They are now finished and hanging in our house.  The work in progress is shown here.  Will show the painted pieces soon, after I take a few more pictures. The carvings are roughly 18 long x 4 wide x 2 inches thick.

Both carvings are done in cottonwood bark.  Last summer I revisited a lightening struck tree while on a family vacation.  For years small sections or pieces have been falling off the tree.  This past summer the tree’s entire bark skin came off.  The morning we were to return home, while I still had an empty vehicle, I loaded up as much bark as would fit in my small SUV.  I found some storage for the bark and was even able to squeeze a few pieces into the load returning home from vacation.  Good thing we ate our way through some of supplies from the incoming trip. That left room for some bark.

I found inspiration for the pieces in a carving magazine.  One picture gave the idea.  The challenge was to get the correct cuts to recreate feeling of the photo.  My dentist liked the pieces.  Perhaps I will have to replace the bad spot in Big Mouth 1 with a gold filling.

Enjoy.  Feed back is most welcome.  Inquiries about purchasing pieces also.

“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.”  Proverbs 29:12