Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

The Indian bust carving project is another  “Journey in learning”  for the WOOD BEE CARVER  who is primarily a knife carver. This Indian bust project is carving a subject larger than what is normally carved as well as using traditional carving tools rather than just a knife.

The photographic journey begins with square cornered block of butternut, continues through carving to basic form and concludes with several views of the finished carving.

The Indian bust began as a seven inch by five inch by three and half inch block of butternut.  The gouges used for this project were made by Everett Cutsinger many years ago and continue to be a pleasure to use in the carving process.  The large knife used for removing excess wood in the roughing out stage was made by John Dunkle.

The challenge in carving this Indian bust was to include several hair treatment decorations to enhance the bone structure of the face that makes it an Indian.  There is a hair braid, a couple hair ties, a string of beads and a couple of feathers.  A bone pipe necklace and a buck skin shirt round out the apparel attributed to Indian design. (click on photo to enlarge.)


The “Journey in Learning”  of this project begins with having an imagined design to guide the roughing out stage for shaping an Indian bust hidden in a square block of butternut.  During the initial shaping in the roughing out stage the design will appear on its own as wood is being removed or the design can be modified at the dictates of the way wood is removed.  At the same time the mental image guides what amount of wood needs to be saved as well as envisioning how hair will drape to one side or the other as the head is turned in a certain direction.  The goal is to have no straight lines while flowing and wavy lines add to the sense of movement.

The roughing out stage or carving to the basic form is to lay a good foundation for carving the details as the final embellishment. This stage is perhaps the most creative time of the carving process for it is during this time that the imagined design comes into reality with a good foundation or shadow image.

Look again at the third photograph with a “shadow profile”  which is a good example of the Indian face carved to form and the light coming from the left side casts a shadow of the profile image of an Indian.

Ninety five percent of carving is carving the basic form.  The last five percent is carving in the detail which is the reward for having carved a good foundation.

Visually study each photograph again to imagine how each was carved.  Such a study will help with developing the mind to see mental images.  It is mental images that guide the carving process. Within the tension between the mental image and the wood being shaped is when the creative sub conscious guides the carving process to produce a unique design that puts personality into the carving.  It is as if the carving carved itself into existence.  That is what makes each carving come to life and have a life of its own.

This study of an Indian bust is intended to be an encouragement to carve a “journey in learning.”  Every carving project is a new learning experience with the proven reality that “the more one carves the better one carves.”    


This entry was posted on Saturday, February 18th, 2012 at 10:16 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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