Charles and Doris Leverett hosted a fourth – three day carving seminar on June 8, 9 and 10, 2012 in their Northeast Alabama carving studio. Eight Students survived the rigors of Whittle-Carving using only a knife to make the necessary slicing cuts to shape a block of wood. Pictured is the photo are Bob and Lynn Zenoble, Hugh O’Neal, Ann Armstrong, David Wilson, Cherie Cornelius, Charles Leverett, Greg Douglas, and Joe Cernut.
Using the overall theme of the A-B-C’s of Face Carving each student explored exercises to learn to carve faces using various slicing cuts that included making notch cuts, three cut triangular openings and rounding square corners and flattening round surfaces. These exercises included the Three Version Face Stick, an oval carved from a thin rectangular block of basswood into which the basic landmarks of the face were carved. Even a simple exercise of carving a simple daisy style flower was applicable to learning slicing cuts to be utilized in face carving.
Students learned about the angles and planes of the human face in order to carve a good foundation in preparation for the final detail carving. Ninety five percent of carving is carving the basic form while only five percent is carving the final details. Guiding the process of opening a block of wood to receive the basic form was an understanding of the Rule of Three of Facial Proportions. The proportions of the face are divided into thirds with the area between the hair line and the eye brows is one third; the area between the eye brows and the bottom of nose is one third and the area between the bottom of nose and bottom of chin is one third. Each of these areas has angles and planes that give shape to the face. Ear length is in middle third proportion. The area between the nose and chin has its own Rule of Three with top of upper lip one third below nose and second third is the notch groove between bottom lip and chin. The nose and eye width also have their own Rule of Three proportions. With the length of the face being three thirds long proportionately then the width of the face is two thirds wide proportionately to the length.
Knowing the Rule of Three proportional landmarks helps in guiding the carving to basic form of the face to prepare for carving in the details of the eyes, nose and mouth.
With a bit of humor, David Wilson came up with this saying: “Rule of Three – Thou shall divide by Three, Thou shall not divide by Two, Neither shall thou divide by Four. Thou shall only divide by Three.”
Additional fun exercises included the practice carving of a hand and a Whittle Dwarf. The major carving project was carving a basswood hen egg either as a face or a bust figure. The instructor gave individual demonstrational instruction with each student that applied to their chosen project from the variety of go-by carvings. Some students also began carving a full figure carving to further their learning of Whittle-Carving.
As the class came to an end, each student survived to carve another day encouraged by the fond memories of good carving friends who shared good humor amid the wood chips of lessons learned and carving ideas explored.
Thanks to Charlie and Doris for another delightful carving time together. Woodcarvers are some of the best friends one can have and these Alabama Carvers are best friends.