Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects, Knives

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A commission to carve two Mountain Men just alike using a photograph of a clay sculpture of a mountain man became a welcome challenge. Every carving project is a learning piece with its own built in challenges. One challenge during the planning and imagining stage is to make the transition of carving a three dimensional figure based upon a two dimensional image with only one view. Three dimensional is to see the project with an “in the round perspective” while a two dimensional image is a “flat perspective.” Another challenge is to try to keep the carving as close to the original image that was a clay sculpture which means two mediums “clay” and “wood” create different surface textures and color renditions.

mountain man study                           mountain man two

There is also the challenge of imagining the size of the original which is unknown other than the photographic image presenting overall proportions. That challenge becomes one of using those overall proportions to fit a particular size of the block of basswood which in this case was nine inches tall, two inched thick and three and a quarter inch wide. Another challenge was imagining what was not seen in the original photograph in that the side view and back view had to be imagined by comparing the outfit and accessories characteristic of a mountain man. The challenge continue while carving the second mountain man to be like the first carving but with subtle differences to make each have their own personality.  All challenges become opportunities to use artistic interpretation to blend all the challenges together to guide the creative carving process.

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The first three photos above are of the first mountain man carved and the second row is the second mountain man carved.  The next series of photographs are of the first mountain man finished and the second mountain man carved to basic form without much detail.

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The first photo above is a close up of the first mountain man and the second carved to basic form.  The next three photos are of the finished second mountain man that shows a close up of facial features.

The carver’s choice of knives to use gave a serendipitous feel to the carving process. Both mountain men were carved with what this carver calls the “other knives” that have been shaped and made by the carver using old pocket knives blades inserted in wooden handles. Both the blade shapes and the handle shapes are experimental in nature as this carver likes the personal challenge of testing trial and error reshaped blade and handle shapes. Two of the knives used were made by other carvers; one was by the late Bill Essex with is “SX” initialed knife and the other made by Denny Neubauer who made the knife out of a box end wrench. (“Other Knives” refers to knives other than the knives the Wood Bee Carver recommends as well as uses most of the time.)

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The Denny Neubauer knife is the cactus handled knife on the left in the first photo and the Bill Essex knife is the red handled “S” shaped knife handle on the right in the first photo.  The next series of photos below show the “other knives” used to carve the second mountain man.

other knives                         other knives

“Woodcarving is the journey more than the destination,” which means that once the carving project is finished, the carver looks forward to the next carving challenge in the next carving project which is the “journey” or the fun part of carving.  For the Wood Bee Carver the fun part is the feel of a carving knife slicing through the wood to complete the challenge of carving a subject that comes out of the creative process.  As my good carving friend Billy Stephens coined the phrase, “There is never a dull moment for a boy with a sharp knife and a piece of wood,”  may ever carver “Bee Sharp and Never Dull,” so sez the WOOD BEE CARVER.



This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015 at 2:29 pm and is filed under Carving Projects, Knives. 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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