This is a really old piece. I like the reminders of the story of Saint Nicholas. There was a real Nicholas. He was a 4th Century Bishop of the church, a wealthy man who lived in Turkey. He became well known for his acts of kindness and gifts to the poor and needy.
His reputation was passed on to 16th Century Europe. In England “gift givers” were referred to as ‘Father Christmas,’ France ‘Père Nöel,’ Germany ‘Christkind,’ the Netherlands ‘SinterKlaas’ (notice the tie back to Saint Nicholas). And in America, Sinter Klaas became ‘Santa Claus.’ No matter what the name, this figure reminds me of the original love motivating the gift giver, a tradition worth continuing.
The piece is basswood. The colors are Old World – ivory, winter green, ruby red, white, and gold. The face is medium flesh with a rose wash. All the colors except for white, are a ratio of 1/15 paint to water. It was finished by being dipped in boiled linseed oil.
Merry Christmas, Frohe Weinachten, Joyeux Noël, Vrolijk Kerstfeest.
“Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.” Prov 20:28
Where do your carvings or hobby projects go? Some sit on shelves at home because we can’t part with them. Some sit in boxes because there isn’t any more room on the shelves. Some sit on work benches or tables for years, “nearly” finished.
And some go to family and friends. Here is part of a collection held in Michigan. It is a joy to see others find pleasure in the things one creates. Perhaps this is the year for you to let go of more of yours. Gift them, donate them, sell them, but let the world enjoy them.
“What a person desires is unfailing love…” Prov 19:22a
A fun afternoon project. The design began with a hesitation to attempt another set of eyes. Easy fix, cover the eyes with the hat. Many iterations later you have this piece.
What I like about it most is the hat. The brim and tassel were first outlined with a veiner. Then the green upper part is cut with large, flat strokes. The tassel results as the upper green is completed. The brim is rough cut as a wavy line. It is then textured with a small U-gouge. He looks happy and rested, ready for cookies and milk to come.
“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Prov 16:32
One of the joys of carving is the opportunity to try different things. This is an egghead. Many of these have been done. I have tried 500+. So why keep trying them? Variety within a field.
This head was an experiment in creating plaid. The covering could have been a traditional Santa hat painted plaid. But that didn’t seem enough. So the tam and the plaid make it. I think pitting the front edge of the tam nearly over the eyes also works. It creates a tension that helps the overall effect.
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Prov 16:28
What do you do with a wooden egg, basswood? Make an egghead, of course. A bald egghead. A Father Christmas, bald, basswood, egghead. Green shirt with a hint of red on the chubby checks and a snow-white beard and hair. He has to be smiling, naturally. Squinty eyes are best. That way you can imagine the hohoho better. More eggheads in the following posts.
“Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.” Prov 16:19
It is possible that you, in this season of Thanksgiving, are already making plans for family gatherings, both the Thanksgiving meal and for the Christmas holiday. Are your carving or crafting preparations coming along well, too?
Here are a couple of older pieces held in private collections in Illinois and Michigan. Father Christmas or Saint Nicolas done in spokes from recycled kitchen chairs. The spokes are maple, a hard wood, a challenge to carve by hand. They would be good for dremel tools or other power tools.
The first step was to skin the varnish and stain layer from each piece. The hardness of the wood meant the stain had not penetrated too deeply. Next step was to decide where on the spoke to place the face and how large the face should be. Once the face was roughed in, the next decision was texturing. What texture would the hair and the beard have?
A further step was shaping the hat and its decoration. You will notice that the piece on the right retains more of the original spoke shape, while on the left the hat has modified the spoke more. A final step was color choices and painting. These pieces are designed to hang in a Christmas tree, adding color and attracting attention to the tree.
What are you working on this season? Anything to share?
“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” Prov 16:16
Well, perhaps not completely round. It is a unique piece, nonetheless. A change from all the round, rolly polly figures one sees.
The layout for this carving took longer than the actual carving. I do like the formal effect that the straight lines and symmetrical shapes give to the piece. I also like the shadows created by the gouge lines in the hair and beard.
Hope you are enjoying your hobby too.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Prov 15:22