SURVIVOR STUDENTS – Gorman Farm 2010

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Survivor Students

GORMAN FARM CLASSThese are the ten surviving students of a two day class held at Gorman Farm, Evendale, Ohio (Cincinnati) on June 12 and 13.  Pictured left to right on the first row are: Bob Manning, Don Potter, Mickey Huston, Kurt McCarthy, (second row) Barry Pennington, Fred Kruetzkamp, Dick Middleton, Dick Pyles, Steve Cotton and Rick Eskins.

The carving projects included carving a three inch tall Cowpoke Bust and a six inch tall full figured Cowpoke out of an inch and half square block of basswood.  The beginning theme was: “Thinking inside the Block,” meaning to learn to see a subject within a block of wood and carve that subject by shaping the wood with slicing cuts of both a knife and gouges.  The simplest definition of carving is: “Shaping a piece of wood using a cutting tool in a slicing action to round square corners and flatten round surfaces.”

A Cowpoke Bust and the top part of a full figured Cowpoke are carved basically the same way by first shaping the top of the square block into a dowel shape.  On the top of the dowel shape, a center line in drawn indicating the direction the Cowpoke will be looking.  Next  a line representing the brim of a cowboy hat is drawn around the dowel.  Using a slicing  stop cut following the line around the dowel shape to open up the top of the hat brim.  A slicing angled cut carves down to the stop cut all around the dowel to begin shaping the crown of the hat.  The combination of slicing stop cut around the top of the brim and slicing cut down to the stop cut will eventually create the top part of the hat.



Once the top part of the hat is carved to its basic form, then a stop cut is carved around the bottom of the brim about a eighth of an inch below the top of brim.  An angled slicing cut carves up to the stop cut all around the begin shaping the form of a head  that will fit into the hat.  While this process is being carved, the carver is mentally beginning the see the basic shape of a head as it would fit into the crown of the hat.

Once the basic form of the hat and head are carved then the shoulders are established and for the bust the bandanna, vest and shirt are carved.  For the full figure, once the shoulders have been established the remaining block of wood is evenly divided into three sections to follow the Rule of Three of Body Proportions: shoulders to waist, waist to mid knees and mid knees to bottom of feet. Within these three divisions guidelines are drawn for the pose of the Cowpoke and the particular items of a cowboy outfit.  The drawn guidelines act as an aid to being able to “think within the block” to see a Cowpoke.  These guidelines also guide the carving process of carving the Cowpoke to basic form.  The photographs that follow show “go-bys” of the various stages of carving a bust and full figured Cowpoke that were used in the class.


While the students worked on their bust and cowpoke additional instruction was given with one to one demonstration of the various stages of the projects as is illustrated by the following photographs.


An exercise in learning to see the “A-B-C’s” of the face along with the Rule of Three of Facial Proportions was learned using a triangle block of wood, divided into thirds and in the middle third a square box was drawn.  The next photograph shows the first stage of the triangle block and then what was carved.  The square box in the middle third represents the ball of the nose, from which the nostrils and smile line were carved on either side using a curving three cut triangle chip carving procedure.  Next the bottom of the nostrils receive an angled notch cut underneath each nostril to begin shaping the nose as well as the mouth mound.  Notch cuts at the eyebrow line establish eyebrows .  Where the bridge of the nose and the eyebrow meet on either side of the nose is where the eye mound, eye lids and eye ball will be carved.  The second photograph shows the exercise for carving eyes using knife cuts.  A three cut triangle chip is carved to open up the eye mound area into which the tear duct, eye lids and eye are carved using a series of various cuts.  This exercise is repeated several times to learn the procedure.



“Thinking inside the Block,” and opening up a block of wood is a stretch of ones carving ability.  There is nothing more rewarding in the carving process than to be able to carve from a block of wood while learning to “think inside the block” because every carving is a learning experience. “The more one carves the better one carves,” can be experienced many times over.  Each of the “survivor students” learned new ways of seeing and carving in the fun atmosphere of good friendship.  There is no better way to survive that to be around woodcarvers.

When the students heard “Think inside the Block” for some reason they thought it referred to the thoughts of the instructor as coming from his block head.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 at 9:09 pm and is filed under Survivor Students. 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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