Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


Slow and Easy Does It is the conscious way this old carver approaches the carving process.  Carving this Magi was an opportunity to listen to this Wise Man as he was being carved as he reminded me to take it “slow” and “easy” in order to enjoy the journey.  The photo journey of the completed Magi invites a slow and easy visual journey to study the overall views from all angles and to listen to what the Wise Man might say to us.






While carving this interpretation of one of the Magi some wisdom thoughts about the carving journey spoke to this carver’s inner self. “Woodcarving is the journey more than the destination,” is a way of describing the carving experience.  The journey is the entire process including the initial creative idea, the research, the physical activity of shaping the wood with a sharp knife guided by a sharp imagination and applying the appropriate surface finish. The destination is the completed project while the journey is the fun part of the process.  Adding to this description is another statement that says “every carving project is a learning experience” that makes discoveries during the journey as creative imagination partners with the activity of carving to guide the path to making an inspiring discovery. Thus, “the more one carves the better one carves” with each learning journey.

One lesson this old carver has learned and continues to learn with every new carving process is the mantra “Slow and Easy Does It.”  The creative process can not be rushed because “haste makes waste.”  There is an old observation about the hatching of a chicken egg into a baby chick.  It takes twenty one days of incubation under a sitting hen or an heated incubator for the egg to hatch. Adding more heat during the incubation process to speed up the process only spoils the embryo.  Slow and easy does it to allow the incubation process to do its thing applies to the creative process as well.  Jumping right in to carve a project ahead of time before allowing the creative idea to come into focus results in not seeing a clear path ahead.  It is like a “mental block” that puts the brakes on allowing a plan to develop.

One mental block that has come over the years with almost every new carving project is a feeling of agony that says such things as, “where do I go from here? or why did I start this project, it is a mess, or I will never be able to salvage this project.” But when, Slow and Easy steps in to give the carving process a rest or break and then coming back to it, with rested and fresh eyes of observation and listening to inner guidance of imagination that feeling of agony is replaced with ecstasy as the project finds a solution as the knife slices wood away to “design by carving.” From these experiences this “wise” saying developed, “Woodcarving is Agony and Ecstasy, but Ecstasy always follows the Agony.”

Slow and Easy Does It allows for imagination to come alive, wake up or prime the pump to begin the lessons of “learning by carving” and allow the “design by carving” to evolve the project to develop while it is being developed.  The initial idea for this Magi was to have him holding a box containing his gift. How his hands were to be positioned was imagined in the mental planning but had not been finalized until in a night time dream the positions of the hands were pictured.  Sometimes, imagination will pop into the random thoughts while away for the carving activity with a mental picture about the carving project to give guidance.  Creative imagination is the active partner in the carving process as one takes it Slow and Easy.

 Slow and Easy is a reminder to take a break ever so often while carving on a project so that we can come back to it with fresh eye, fresh energy and fresh imagination.  In the same token, take a second look at the carving project from a distance rather than close up.  Better yet, turn carving project sideways, up side down, top view or other angles because we can be too close to the tree that we cannot see the forest or vice versa.

Slow and Easy is to be relaxed while carving by enjoying the experience of wood chips being removes, listening to the “swish” of the cutting-edge slicing through the wood and seeing the shape change and develop before your eyes. Carving activity lends itself to instill a contemplative mood into the slicing strokes of the shaping process to enhance the playfulness in what is being created.

The next photo journey will be of the progressive stages of the Magi being set free from the block of basswood measuring nine inches tall, two inches thick and three inches wide.  This basswood is more than fifty years old and has harden some over the years.  But even a little harder than younger basswood, the Slow and Easy approach worked within the challenge of the harness to soften the edges of the design.  Since most of the Magi is the simple design of his tunic and outer robe, the smaller features of the carving take center stage.  Notice the toe of the sandal peeking under the tunic along with the trim of the robe’s lapels and sleeves; the chip carving design on the gift box and the necklace; the crown of his head covering; the tilt of his head and the position of his hands holding the box.  Notice also the subtle hang of the robe and tunic with the soft wrinkles adding to the sense of movement.  Compare these observations with the painted carving at the beginning of this posting in a before and after views.






Slow and Easy Does It was the process through the journey of this carving. At the destination of the carving journey, the carver is ready to begin a new journey because this is what woodcarving is all about as it is the actual carving process that is the most fun.





This entry was posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 12:36 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.