CHALLENGE ~ The Teacher of Unknown Lessons

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


An ORC is a mythical humanoid creature, generally described as brutish, aggressive and repulsive, stemming from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkiem, author of The Lord of the Rings. This carving of an ORC was carved in a seven-inch-tall by three-inch square block of basswood.  The finish is artist oil paints mixed with boiled linseed oil and final coating of Deft.

The gallery below is of the finished ORC from various angles and close up photos to get a panoramic view.







Challenge is a teacher of the unknown lessons that become known in accepting the challenge and learning through it.  Every new carving project is a challenge with small challenges and large challenges.  Not accepting the challenge is to learn nothing while accepting the challenge will bring about learning with new lessons.

Years ago, there was an appropriate observation that came to this carver that “the hardest part of any project was getting started, but once begun the creative juices flowed.” Taking the risk to begin no matter how daunting the challenge appears to be is like priming the proverbial pump.  When one takes the step to begin, even not knowing what all to do is the kick start the creative subconscious within to guide us into the unknown of our potential. Accepting the challenge does a similar tutorage to show us the way to work things out, learn the unknown lesson and marvel at the discoveries that lead us on.

Carving an ORC character presented a challenge to learn about the characteristic of an ORC in order to get a mental picture to spark imagination to come up with the beginning of a design.  With that part of the challenge at work additional challenges came up during the “design by carving” phase of shaping the ORC within the block of wood.  In the case this particular project the basswood block became a challenge in that it was harder that usual and slicing away the wooden chips would not always cooperate. Guiding the slicing cuts had the feel of cutting against the grain no matter the direction and like it was a gnarly grain although it was not. Guiding the slice was a “slow and easy” approach to each stroke. The “slow and easy” approach also benefited by taking breaks from carving and with carving being for shorter periods of time.  During these breaks the creative imagination continued to work below the surface and made the return to a carving period more productive in working with the harder grain.  In the end when the details were completed and the project had its completed look the challenge smiled as if to say the lessons have been learned.  Perhaps the greatest challenge is the one that temps us to give up, throw in the towel and accept the agony of defeat.  Ecstasy always follow the agony is the best lesson that challenge offers.

The photographic gallery below is a progressive journey of the carving of ORC in it various stages.









Notice that in the first photo of this gallery that three skulls were carved in the waste area around where the head would be carved.  These skulls were epoxy glued into the side of the base to add to the motif of the scene.  Notice also the handle of the sword is adorned with a small skull and the pendant is a skull of a crow. Knives were the only tools used in this carving to keep with the Whittle-Carving method of the WOOD BEE CARVER.  The Challenge within this carving journey was a good instructor and ecstasy was the end result as ecstasy always follows the agony.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 4th, 2022 at 2:27 pm 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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