I am always looking for carving ideas. Now that I almost always have an iPad with me it is easier to capture some of them quickly. This photo hangs in a hallway in my Uncle Georg’s house in western Germany. What caught my attention was the roof lines and the texture the artist shows us. Having done many roofs, what I note is shapes and shadows. Also, on the building to the right, my eye is caught by the strong line near the top denoting the final layer of thatch. The question is then, how can that be replicated in wood. Which tool works best, what will be the most efficient way to make those cuts. For anyone who has not carved, part of the issue is the direction ones cut, up from the bottom of the roof or down from the top. Experimental cuts need to be made to determine what happens to grain wood, how the grain reacts.
Sorry about the quality of this photo. However, for my purposes, this is good enough. What is appealing to me is the roof lines of the buildings, how they sit together, the shadows, and how the artist has created texture. While the photo is fuzzy, the relationship between the buildings is strong enough to be appealing. Hope you have some ideas to share. Or, if you use some ideas from these pictures I would love to see them.
Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Isaiah 40:1
Something to look at
This will be a short post:
I am not sure how to state it. Seems a bit …..well not sure…..you tell me.
I am hoping to increase my subscriber list. I would like to share carvings, carving ideas, carving talk, cool wood and wood stories with more folks. But always, how to get the word out? Could you help? Many of you have stated how much you enjoy the posts – all 70 of them. Would you be willing to invite others to subscribe? Wasn’t hard for you was it? Still looking? Enjoying? Please, consider which of your friends might also be interested. Thank you for your time and effort.
Ask me what happened.
There is a carving idea this photo somewhere. What can you suggest?
“What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.” Proverbs 19:22
One of the joys of carving bark is dealing with what each piece of bark brings to the table. The challenge, always, is finding ways to incorporate the natural features into the finished piece. In this piece of bark we have a very deep fissure bracketed by two nice, solid pieces of bark.
The fissure itself creates a wonderful negative space for the eye. The dark slash through the piece takes your eye up in to the house at the top. Shadows and light spots add lots of visual interest to the base of the carving.
The two solid masses of wood on either side of the fissure have been dealt with in view of the strong visual texture of the fissure. As you can see in the picture immediately above, lots of bark has been left on the base. This light bark stands in contrast to the dark fissure. But, in order to tie the base to the house above, some rocks have been cut into the bark of the base to expose the redbrown of the under wood. The shapes and the color add another layer of visual interest.
Moving up from the base we come to the house itself. The base has drawn our eye to the color and texture of the house. Small rocks in the chimney echo the larger rocks of the base. The rounded shapes of the chimney rock and base rocks are countered by the strong vertical and horizontal lines of the roof shingles, squared stones of the walls the steps and landings, and door and windows. More shadows and highlights are created by the bench underneath the window.
All in all a piece I really like. Trust you do too.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:22
One of the joys I have in carving is cottonwood bark. The bark of the cottonwood tree is a delightful carving medium.
It can grow up to six inches thick on certain Plains trees. Most of the bark I work with is from two to four inches thick.
Another great feature of the bark is its color. The outer part comes in many shades of gray, maybe black or I have even found pieces that have been bleached white by the sun and other conditions. The exterior coloring is also varied by the amount of moss or lichen which may cover the piece. While there is great coloration on the exterior, the interior coloring always takes my breath away. Tones of color from rich, deep reds to light browns and even yellows make cutting into any piece an adventure.
In the next months I will post many more bark carvings,
take note of the color variations. Added to the coloring is the growth layer variations which are exposed in different ways with each new cut. If you have not, let me encourage you to pick up a piece of cottonwood bark and give it a try.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music… Psalm 98:4
There is no better place to carve than outside in the sunshine, especially with friends. Two friends, Ed and Jeff, and I spent last Saturday carving in my back yard. Jeff worked on a cypress knee while Ed and I worked on some bark houses.
Jeff has received lessons for the cypress knee from another carver so we left him on his own. He was working on a few of the extra details for the piece.
Ed was making his first attempts at carving houses out of cotton wood bark. We talked about setting up the piece first. We looked the bark over for defects, taking off the lose or weak pieces. Then we drew on the back of the bark to get an idea of how we wanted the house to stand on a hill, the angles of the roof line, walls and hill. Next we began to rough in the roof, the walls and hill lines.
Cotton wood always forces you to deal with weak spots, pieces that fall off or break off in the process of carving. Ed’s piece had two wings, but one broke off while the piece was being handled. In the end the carving
will actually be stronger as a result of have less wood. Ed had to figure out how to make the house fit on the rearranged piece.
After roughing in the house and spotting it correctly on the hill the next work was to begin adding windows and doors. On bark house I tend to make the doors and
windows oversized so they are easier to set in and carve.
The tedious work began here. Roof lines had to be finally set in and shingles drawn out and carved. Doors and windows had to be pierced to let light through. Exterior siding were sketched on and carved in. Details for the hill, rocks, benches were added at this point in the carving.
While we did not get the project completed the final steps after details are fixed in place will be to spray the piece with sealer bringing out and preserving the rich colors of the bark. And then the piece is ready for signing and dating. And, as Jeff keeps reminding us, once the piece is signed no more carving on it.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Another carving. Three photos to go with our article. Amazing what one can learn. Of course, we aren’t saying how long it took.
A DIFFERENT SLANT ON THINGS.
Cottonwood is one of my favorite materials to use. As you can see, the bark of the cottonwood can be very thick. The exterior layer is usually gray and dark. The fun begins when the exterior is open and the grain of the bark is displayed.
Rich, deep reds, browns and yellows interplay in pleasing and exciting patterns. Before finish coats are added the exposed bark is a soft brown, often unremarkable. When a coat of sealer or wax is added cottonwood bark really stands out.
Cottonwood is a pleasing wood to carve. It is softer than most carving material. It holds detail nicely. One drawback is its fragility. When carving, you always need to be aware of the pressure being put on the various parts of the carving. Flexibility in design is a must when carving with cottonwood.
This piece is for sale today at a 10% discount on the Gift shop price. Contact me if you are interested.