Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


“Ancestry Gothic” is a recent commission carving project of an interpretative likeness of the maternal grandparents of a high school friend (class of ‘59) using only a couple photographs as a guide along with verbal memories of long, long ago.

The photographic gallery below presents the completed carving in its final presentation.



The guide photographs present a two-dimensional view while a carving is sculpted in three dimensions.  Added to the challenge is the emotional connection of ancestry that the commissioner sees the image of her grandparents in a photo in a very subjective way while the artist carver sees the photo in an objective manner while trying to make the carving of the grandparents look close enough to the cherished memory vision of a granddaughter. The end result is the carver making a creative interpretation with a close resemblance of the honored grandparents.

The photos below begin with the final version of facial interpretation followed by practice faces carved to lead up creating a final version.





The grandmother is holding a cross stitch embroidery to indicate one of her hobbies and the grandfather is holding a cream can to indicate that he operated a creamery. The cross stitch and cream can add to the story each carving is telling.


The final photo gallery shows each carving in the stages of being carved in basic form and progressing towards the final detailed carving finesse. The first photo shows the basswood blocks with one being five and a half inches tall by two inches square and the other block being six inches tall by two inches square with the grandmother block being the shorter of the two. The grandmother is the first to be shown holding the cross-point embroidery in its embroidery hoop.




Next series of photos are of the grandfather being carved showing how the cream bucket is carved against the pant leg for strength so that the handle can be carved as being held in the right hand.  This is an explanation for how delicate areas subject to breakage are strengthened by being attached to an adjacent area.  Grandpa also has interesting details as part of his outfit as in the detail of his suspenders and the sleeve garters.











The final photo is of the two carvings attached to a basswood base and the names carved into the bases with incised lettering.  Artist oil paint thinned with boiled linseed oil was used to color and finish the carvings with a final application of Deft applied.


Carving is always in interpretation of the carver’s imagination applied to the subject being carved and is always a challenge to present the best story in the medium of wood shaped with a carving knife with the hope that both the knife and the carver’s mind are sharp enough for the art of creative expression.




This entry was posted on Saturday, September 17th, 2022 at 10:23 am and is filed under Carving Projects. 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.

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