The WOOD BEE CARVER approaches each carving project as a learning experience with continuing discoveries in the carving process. Long he has encouraged carvers to do a twenty minute a day exercise of experimenting with a carving tool and a piece of wood to discover a variety of cuts and maneuvers in shaping a piece of wood as the cutting tool slices through the wood. Coupled with that idea is the experience that the more one carves the better one carves because of the ongoing learning process. Carving with greater frequency allows for the carver’s imagination to grow with creativity which contributes to a sharpening of carving skill and creative design. All of which are inherent in the motto: “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”
The carving of Two Carpenters was another learning adventure in the “journey of carving” of learning from carving the same subject while at the same time making each unique in and of it self. What was learned in carving the first carpenter allowed the creative subconscious to guide the carving of the second with slight innovations. A visual study of the photographs may show some of the subtle changes that made each one to have a personality of their own. Even quite similar yet each is still different from the other.
The carving of a particular subject is intended to be an “interpretation” of the carver’s “imagination” which guides the carving skills of the carver to shape a piece of wood into a close facsimile between the reality of the subject and the imagined vision of the subject. The two carpenters were a commission to be added to previously commissioned subjects of a nativity scene. Tradition suggests that Joseph, the carpenter was older than Mary his espoused wife and so the imagined design of the carving envisioned a balding man with a mature beard wearing the traditional long shirt like garment secured with a fabric cord around the waist. The carpenter holds in one hand a wooden mallet and the other hand rests on the strap of his necessary bag that carried other small tools. Clothing and accessories help to define the carved figure as in the old saying “clothes make the man.”
While clothes help to identify the figure yet it is the face and hands that give distinction and personality to the carved figure. This means that the learning/practice of carving faces and hands will go a long way to bringing life to a carving. Even though every face possesses the same basic landmarks, yet it is how these landmarks are refined in the execution of beginning with a good foundation prepared for receiving the final detail carving actions that breathe life into the face and hands. The experience of carving facial features over and over again allows the carver to learn how to tweak and refine the cuts to create the imagined results. Study the faces in the photos below, first with a raw sienna monochrome color followed by multicolored photos.
The WOOD BEE CARVER is primarily a knife carver who designs the shape of carving knife blades to accomplish particular slicing cuts that will create the cuts desired. Designing the shape of the blade is like carving itself being an ongoing and ever changing progression of learning what will be an efficient carving knife. One knife is not necessarily any better that the next and yet a slight change in the angle of the cutting edge, the size of the blade in its length and width and the curve of the cutting edge can make all the difference. Which means that many knives may be used during the carving of a particular project. While a carver may use only one knife to carve a project in its entirety yet a variety of knives will enhance the carving process.
The knives pictured in some of the photographs are examples of this variety of carving knives used. Most represent the Signature Series of knives make by HELVIE KNIVES and some knives [called Other Knives] are made by this carver for his own use. It is these Other Knives that through trial and error of the carving process are refined into a design that eventually become a Signature Series Knife. In the photos above the two on the left are the # 13 Bumble Bee and # 5 Stinger Bee and on the right, is # 25 Side Kick (Signature Series made by HELVIE KNIVES) and the fourth knife is the carver made Other Knife with Extreme Scimitar blade shape.
Case in point is the photograph showing five knives that have blades shaped into an extreme scimitar blade shape. These knives were used in the carving of the finer details of the two carpenters. The three knives in the second photo are of the SIDE KICK knives used to sculpt or rough out the basic shape of the project. Read an earlier posting entitled, SIDE KICK Revisited that describes the use of the Side Kick knives in the sculpting phase of carving the two carpenters.
The journey of carving will experience the carving of many projects, each of which become a way to grow in carving ability, grow in imagination and creativity and grow in wanting to start another new carving project. Woodcarving is the journey and never the destination ~ “Keep Carving and Carving Will Keep You Carving” (the Old Carver Sez)