Always looking for creative new ideas. Here are two ways to use scrap or small stock to create holiday gifts. While winter and Christmas are months away, now is a good time to think about projects, materials to gather, scheduling of carving, painting, and deliver of pieces completed.
Posts 127 has two of my creations, one in basswood with bark on it and a second stylized trees in cedar scraps. Post 130 has a mass production version for ideas. Have you any other Christmas tree ideas?
“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” Prov 10:17
Sometimes there are just too many “good” scraps in the scrap box. You can’t burn them all, especially when it is summer and the heat index is 107. So what to do? Vegetables, of course. And in the heat, why not chilies and tomatoes.
These guys are made from basswood scraps, cut ends and odds shapes one would normally discard. The odd shapes give the added challenge of finding shapes that fit. You know, ala Michelangelo and his “David.” Yes, we are stretching it a bit, no, a lot.
While there is a great distance between the artistry of and material used by Michelangelo and these five guys, the use of reclaimed or cast off pieces is the same. And, tip of the hat to “VeggieTales, the cute smiles one can add makes them pleasing to the eye also.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Prov 10:4
Where do you find carving material? The answer, everywhere! This piece of wood came from limbs pruned from trees on a university campus in Beijing, China. Hey, when you need to carve…
It is poplar. The limb was cut to length and then left to season a little. The goals here were to practice a different kind of hat and to work on facial expression. I like both. Also, part of the caricature was to oversized the hands and then the thought came to do the same with the button. It certainly was easier to set in detail around the button without worrying about cutting it off. How often have you tried carving in the round?
Sorry for the poor quality of the second picture. It is only one I could find at the moment.
“They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'” 2 Peter 2:19
I still love the idea of reusing objects, materials, ideas. As a professional teacher there is great satisfaction in developing a teaching point or idea and then finding as many contexts as possible where it can be used. I like the same for objects, whether it’s old tires to retread sandals or old boots to use a flower pots.
Wood isn’t any different. The pictures below are of another rustic carving recycled from an IKEA bed frame. (See Post 145 for the first one) It could be an old school house, an old church, or cabin. I like the movement in the piece, with the leaning top and uneven walls.
What do you think, paint or no paint? Post 145 got paint, this one no paint. It was sprayed with several coats of clear, gloss varnish.
To answer before listening—that is folly and shame. Prov 18:13.
How does you critique or evaluate a carving, especially your own? One thing to try is to ask questions. Another is to make observations. So, here is one of my pieces. First question, do the textures seen in this view work together?
A second question, do the colors compete or support each other?
One could also ask, is the flow or movement in the piece?
An observation is that the church seems to fit the piece of wood, neither too large or too small for it. If the rule is thirds, then the church is about one third, stairs one third, and rocks one third.
Another observation is to note the repeat of color, red steps and red in the windows, brown cross and trim, around the windows, and in wood work. Perhaps there could have been some yellow lower down or in and open window to tie in the roof.
For some reason the cross titled to the side seems to work. It adds some movement to the entire piece. What do you think?
I know it has been a while since posting, but as you can see, carving continues. Hope yours has too.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Ps 23
The little guy really turned out nice. I like many things about him.
One thing I do enjoy about this Hobo is his color. I was really pleased with the way the colors worked together. Also, the wash of paint allowed the wood grain to show through this piece very nicely. I might have added a little more rosy coloration to his checks, but his face is cute enough to make up for that lack of color.
The next part about this carving to like is the movement created by the position of the legs, hands, feet, and coat. Their positions give the piece a more dynamic, rather than a static, stationary feel. The eye is invited to follow the lines of the carving, to find the interesting points along the way.
Hobos aren’t really a “cute” topic. They represent economic hardship and difficulty in life. But I am a fan of “Freddy the Freeloader” ala Red Skelton. Red’s portrayal of a hobo was “cute.” It is that character I looked for in this carving. So, you will notice the “cute” toes sticking out of the shoes. I also like the scrunched face, a little character being a little character.
The block of wood for this carving was 4″ x 2″ x 2″. The figure was not roughed out. The image was drawn on the square block and the roughed out by hand. This method has its advantages. One advantage is demonstrated in the coat tail. As you can see in “Hobo coat tails” there is a nice sweep to the coat, as if it were caught in the wind. This is the result of have had “extra” wood in the back of the carving with which to play.
On this last picture and on “Hobo coat tails” you can see how great a paint wash looks. You can see the color, but the wash allows the grain of the wood to come through in a pleasing way.
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1
One early carving medium which caught my attention and efforts was the basswood egg. Actually I went to the craft stores and bought a number of eggs which crafters use.
The paint work crafters do on them can be gorgeous, however, I learned quickly that craft store eggs are not ideal for wood carvings. Most of the eggs I found years ago, haven’t looked lately, were, as I discovered through painfully slow experience, turned out of birch or maple. That means they were hard, hard, and hard. I had seen someone carve an egg.
I had looked through some books on egg carving and thought it would be enjoyable. After the first few eggs and hours and hours into the work, I began to wonder if it was worth it. The time it took to cut the maple or birch eggs was far greater than I had anticipated.
Then I found basswood eggs. What a difference. I have gone through an “egg” stage. For a while I was carving 100 to 200 a year.
The eggs shown here are a small sampling of what one can do with basswood eggs. Enjoy.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6