Posted by: woodbeecarver   in BEE Buzz


“The hardest part of any project is getting started,” is one of the Wood Bee Carver’s Rules used in his wood carving classes that originated in 1996 as part of a certificate presented to every class participant in subsequent carving classes until retirement from teaching at the end of 2019.  Besides being a souvenir for each student, it served as an introductory educational tool at the beginning of the class to review the philosophy of the Wood Bee Carver. The full statement is: The hardest part of any project is getting started, but once begun the creative juices flow,” which is discovered over and over again.

The sentiment behind this “getting started” observation came from the personal carving journey of the Wood Bee Carver with the assumption that every creative person has this kind of experience. Acknowledging this sentiment is the beginning to move ahead by ~ “START” ~ “Exercise” ~ “Just Do It” ~ “Prime the Pump.”

A good start is to learn that ~ woodcarving is learn by doing and the more one does the better one carves ~ every carving project is practice for the next project ~ Practice to make progress ~ Keep carving and carving will keep you carving ~ “Would be carvers would be carvers if they would carve wood.”

Some say they never have time to carve.  A 20 minute a day workout is a good way to get started.  For twenty minutes a day see what all can be done with one cutting tool (knife or carving tool) on a piece of wood. The next 20-minute exercises, use different tool each time.  One will learn good eye and hand coordination as well as the versatility of what a tool can do. Such exercise lessons will enable the carver to use any tool in the carving process without having to think about what cut to use. Also, what happens is that 20 minutes grows into a few hours with a carving project that just pops into the carver’s mind. The twenty-minute exercise can also be applied to learn and practice sharpening, learn to make simple drawing guidelines, or learning how to paint and finish as carving.  Such exercises stretch creative muscles to grow the carving experience.

Remember the folk song about the traveler in the Western desert who was without water and came upon an old rusty pump and a note from Desert Pete who gave instructions to use the water in a bottle tied to the pump to prime the pump and not drink from the bottle of priming water as the chorus says: You’ve got to prime the pump. You must have faith and believe. You’ve got to give of yourself ‘fore you’re worthy to receive ~ Drink all the water you can hold. Wash your face to your feet. Leave the bottle full for others. Thank you kindly, Desert Pete

The twenty minute a day exercise is “Priming the Pump” as a way for GETTING STARTED.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” is an ancient observation. The woodcarving journey begins with a single intention to carve that begins with an idea. The carving idea only becomes reality in the actual carving process.

“Turning the soil over in your mind does not plow the field,” is the same as carving an idea in one’s mind does not create a carving. “The hardest part of any project is getting started, and once begun the creative juices flow,” has been my experience on the woodcarving journey.

So, the journey of carving begins by “getting started,” putting the cutting tool to the wood to remove chips and begin to form the idea of the mind. Often the journey begins without knowing where it will end up so we carve the journey to see where it will take us. Even if we have a clear mental picture in our minds or a photograph model or a life study, yet we know that as we carve towards that model it will become our own through creative interpretation.

Wood carving is more the journey than the destination which means the carver experiences the joy in the process of carving much more than in the completion of the carving. Caricature carver and instructor Gerald Sears said, “Still learning, each carving is practice for the next one.”  No truer words were ever spoken to describe the carving experience.  We learn from every carving project and when that project is completed each carver is ready to begin carving another project.  Carving is a learn by doing activity and the more one carves, the better one carves. “Keep carving and carving will keep you carving,” is the mantra for the carving journey.

Finally, in the “Getting Started to unleash the creative juices,” read these words from a professional artist Chuck Close:

Carver, “Show up and get to Work” ~ “Just Do It” ~ “Prime the Pump,” and the creative juices will flow, as the journey repeats itself and continues.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 1st, 2024 at 8:26 am and is filed under BEE Buzz. 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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