Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

The two-inch-tall miniature Whittle Folk Gnomes are the latest version of the original Whittle Folk Gnomes who came into being around 2008 or 2009 as a three-inch-tall figure. In the PHOTO TRAILS box under the MAIN MENU box, click on “Whittle Folk Gnomes” to see a photo display of the original Gnomes.



The WOOD BEE CARVER carves a variation on the “garden variety” of Gnomes associated with the Scandinavian origin of these delightful characters. Being mythical characters hidden from the naked eye only to be seen in one’s imagination, Gnomes can be any interpretation of the artist’s imagination.  Thus, the style of gnome carved by this author is of the Southwest Ohio variety of gnomes who favor a floppy style hat rather than the traditional “dunce” pointed hat.  Clothing style is a little different as well but then all such variations from the original image are in the artist’s own imagination.

A two-inch miniature version of Whittle Folk Gnomes has been created with similar look to the original but with some variation.  Each gnome is carved on its own base to correct the original design of the shoes as the base.  In the original design the cross-grain area of the shoes was prone to breakage so the base became a practical solution for a more secure and safe carving.



The four photos above are of a three-inch version shown here as a comparison with the two-inch version which makes the posture and pose more squatted and yet functional.  The progressive steps photos below will illustrate this squatted effect character in the miniature version of these Whittle Folk Gnomes.


Whittle Folk Gnomes are carved using only knives to shape a one-inch square by two-inch block of basswood.  The photo tutorial gallery that follows will show a curved scimitar shaped blade being used for making the necessary slicing cuts into tight and awkward areas.  The first photo shows three knives with three gnomes to illustrates the main knives used in carving these miniatures.  The knife at the top was the primary knife and the other knives on each side of the Gnomes were used for some of the detail carving.  All the blades used are curved cutting edge blades purposely shaped by this carver.


The next series of photos will demonstrate the position of the primary curved scimitar blade making slicing cuts in the shaping process.





The next series of photos highlight the positioning, shaping and detailing the hand-held pipe in the corner of the mouth.  This stage of the carving needs to be planned ahead of time in order to position where the pipe will enter the corner of the mouth before the facial features are shaped.  This requires a combination of carving the basic form of the hand holding the pipe with the position of the nose, smile line and mouth mound at the same time. The hand is carved as a box with angled planes and the pipe as coming out of the top of the box as an inverted cone shape. The nostrils of the nose angles in a “V” shape on top of the dental curve.  A smile line notch is carved where the wing of nostril meets the top of dental curve to outline the mouth mound/dental barrel.  The upper lip is a notch cut on top of the pipe stem as it enters the corner of the mouth. A notch cut separated the opening between lips and under the bottom of the pipe stem.  By studying the various photos below and using one’s imagination one can mentally figure out how this part of the carving was done.  All cuts must be slicing cuts to create crisp and clean surfaces without breaking these delicate areas.  Some of the photos illustrate the before and after stages and of course there are other areas of the carving to be observed to imagine the progressive development of the shape and detail.




This old carver is fond of saying, “If it can be imagined, it can be.”  Carving is a process of imagination guiding the tool in the hand of the carver to interpret the image in imagination into a creation of the art of the carver.  As long as there is imagination there will be art.  May we continue to imagine and follow where it leads.

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 19th, 2021 at 2:07 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.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.