Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Friends

Woodcarving is an open door to friendships made and being made.  A carving can be an extension of the personality of the carver, so much so that we can know the carver through their carvings without having met one another in real life.  Such friendships also happen in a casual meeting at a woodcarving show or in a carving seminar.  Such was the case when Karen Scalin  came to the Artistry in Wood Show in Dayton, Ohio in November of 2012.  Listening to her passion for carving opened the “carving friendship door” to receive two photos of her style of carving. Those two photos needed to be shared with the visitors of this blog along with reading her story as an encouragement to us all to grow our passion for wood carving.  So here is Karen in her own words:

I went to my first carving show in 1996, and got hooked, then joined a local club and got exposed to more ideas of how to and met some wonderful mentors.  Next came joining the National Wood Carvers Association. When I received my first issue of Chip Chats a whole world started to open up.  Over time, I got my hands on every back issue and proceeded to read all of them.  This allowed me to become familiar with carvers, styles, concepts, design, and much more.  I was also able to take some classes from nationally known instructors. 

 Other than learning technique, the best instruction I had was from the book called “Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain“, by Betty Edwards.  Never having had the ability to draw other than a stick figure and even that not too well, by the time I had finished reading and doing all the exercises in the book I could draw beyond any expectation I could have believed possible.  I find that what Betty Edwards teaches in her book is the key concept to all art – she teaches you to learn how to “see”.  It is such a simple concept to learn to see what your eyes actually see and not what your mind tells you that something should look like.  Once that light bulb went on there seemed no end to the possibilities of what I could learn to do.  

 My abilities seemed to take off quickly once I got a carving glove and stopped slicing myself instead of the wood.  I soon found my niche with miniature caricatures that were 2″ or less.  I had been carving for about 3 years when my arm was severely disabled from injuries sustained in a car crash caused by a drunk driver.  Almost 12 years later I have finally been able to resume carving and it seems better than ever.  There is so much more I yet want to learn.  My focus now is working more on anatomy to add more motion and activity into my carvings; and most enjoy instruction that explains the why rather than the how.  I am often asked where I get my ideas from and mostly I don’t have any preconceived ideas before I start to carve a piece.  I usually develop a face first which then dictates who the piece becomes.  If I decide on a new action or motion for a piece and I can’t sketch it to my satisfaction, I’ll work it up in Sculpy and bake it to use as a guide.  There are many pieces waiting to come to life and I’m looking for more time to spend carving and hope to find it in the near future.

I have been amazed and awed over the years by the people I have met in the worldwide carving community  Not just by virtue of talent, but overall carvers are some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  There is an openness and willingness to share ideas, knowledge, give of their time, as well as open their hearts and homes to others. Such experiences has expanded my horizons and challenged me to consistently try to improve my work.  I do not strive to copy the work of others, but rather learn theory and technique.

 Visiting sites like www.woodbeecarver.com and several other carvers have been most informative for me providing instruction through a more comprehensive understanding of anatomy, as well as exposure to different methods, styles, tools, and reference materials. For all that I am most thankful and hope to add what I can in any small way for the pleasure of others as well. 

Karen has added in a big way encouragement to carvers who have read her words about her woodcarving journey thus far and we thank her for her gift of creativity.  It is such friendships in the carving community that helps to make us all better carvers as we learn from one another.





This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 at 12:44 pm and is filed under Carving Friends. 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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