Posted by: woodbeecarver   in General

It has often been said, “You can not teach an old dog a new trick.” That may be true but dogs do not carve wood.  No matter how old a wood carver becomes, one is never too old to learn.  In fact woodcarving is a “learn by doing experience” in that the more one carves and while one is carving, one is stretching one’s ability and perception in the art of woodcarving.

Books and magazines on the subject of woodcarving aid in learning, but nothing takes the place of taking a class from carving instructors who have blazed a trail with new carving projects and procedures.  One may learn only one technique, procedure or highlighted observation, but the one thing may be the key to open the door to greater carving opportunities.

Preceding the Sauder Village Wood Carving Show in late October, I was able to take a two day class from Robert Stadtlander www.stadtlandercarvings.com learning his style of caricature carving.  My style of carving has been knife carving that is more an exaggerated realism than pure caricature so I wanted to learn a style of caricature carving using gouges as well as knife carving.

The result of this two day class is shown in the following photographs.  What can not be shown are verbal instructions, visual observations and tool movement by Stadtlander and yet his signature style influenced the finished result.  Thus learning occurred.

PUMPKIN FACEPUMPKIN FACEThese pumpkin heads were carved from a two inch square by two and a half or three inch blocks of basswood.  The square block was carved into the basic shape of a pumpkin and then a caricature face was carved to give it human characteristics.  This was a lesson in learning to carve caricature eyes, teeth and facial expression that humanized the pumpkin.


These caricatures were carved out of a two inch square by four inch tall block of basswood utilizing one corner to carve the face.  The use of the corner is to simulate the ninety degree angle of the face from the tip of the nose towards the sides of the face at the cheek bones.  In the beret wearing caricature the attempt was to adjust the mouth and the eye to indicate a wink with a smiling face.  In all of these caricatures face wrinkles were carved into the face to add character and movement in a caricature sort of way.

What is learned in a class setting becomes a part of the carver’s memory experience and when carving a similar subject some of what was learned will be applied.  This is one of the benefits of taking a carving class.  Just as important is the comrade and friendship with the other students which makes the journey of woodcarving all the more interesting and memorable.

This “old woodcarver” will continue to take classes as often as possible because such activity fits the WOOD BEE  CARVER’S philosophy: “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”  Simply stated it means that one is “always open to learning.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 11:05 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One comment


Congratulations Don on achieving the Ron Ryan award at the Dayton Artistry in Wood Woodcarving show this year. You are most deserving of this award and I can’t think of anyone who fits the mold better as to what this award is designed for. You have provided much help and support over the years to your fellow carvers including myself. It has been a privilege carving alongside you and I look forward to many more years of such enjoyment. I really like the carving that Lynn created for you.

November 19th, 2008 at 11:25 pm

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