Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Survivor Students


Eight Students of the River Valley Wood Carving club participated in a three-day class entitled “The A-B-C’s of Face Carving” on November 2, 3 and 4, 2016. The students pictured in the photo above are (first row ~ left to right) Donna Waller, Barry Penningtgon, Charlie Brown, Dick Middleton (second row ~ left to right) Ed Handy, Gwen Provins, Lee Dryer and Bill Wright.

 flower exercise                   eye study

The first day began with exercises in opening up a block of wood with slicing knife cuts including a notch cut and three cut triangular cuts followed by continuous shaping cuts. “One cut is not a cut to end all cuts but is the beginning for additional cuts,” which means that the purpose of notch cuts and triangular cuts is to open up a place on the wood surface for future cuts.  The photo above (left) shows the sequence of carving a flower on a flat side of a basswood block. Illustration # 1 shows a diamond in the center of a circle. Illustration # 2 shows spokes connecting the center diamond with the outer circle.  Illustration # 3 shows the addition of triangles drawn where each spoke connects with the circle.  Illustration # 4 shows the diamond having receive notch cuts (two angled slicing cuts that meet at the bottom of the first cut to form a ditch or trough.) The triangles have been opened up with three cut triangular cuts (like chip carving). Illustration # 5 shows making notch cuts connecting the notch around the diamond with an adjacent triangular opening.  Illustration # 6 shows the result of undercutting each petal of the flower to appear to be stair stepped under its adjacent petal. This effect is accomplished by making a perpendicular stop cut through the bottom of the ditch of each notch cut which is followed by an arching slice cut across the face of the petal. The outer edge of each petal is shaped with two notch cuts from triangle to triangle opening.


The notch cuts, triangle cuts and undercutting slicing cuts were practice to apply to the next exercise of opening up an oval shaped basswood block in order to learn the basic landmarks for carving a face as pictured in the Progressive Steps~ Face Study photo above.  Illustration # 1 shows a vertical center line with an arcing horizontal line to indicate the eyebrow line and a “V” drawn to indicate the nose nostrils. Illustration # 2 shows the notch cuts on either side of the center line to open up for the eyebrows and the nose nostrils.  Illustration # 3 shows the area underneath the eyebrow ridge being dished out with a stop cut in the eyebrow notch and a side slicing cut hollowing out the cheek area from the nose out to the corner of each eye.  Illustration # 4 shows triangle cuts at the inside corner of each eye to begin to open up the eye mound area.  Triangular cuts are also made where the smile line and top of nostril meet on either side of the nose with the third cut coming up from the top of the denture curve.  Illustration # 5 show the eye mound formed with a notch cut that creates the upper eye lid ridge and the smile line notch has been extended down along the side of the dental curve of the mouth mound and the mouth mound rounded down into the ditch of the smile line ditch.  Illustration # 6 show a completed face that include a cigar carved in the corner of the mouth using notch cuts to outline and refine the cigar.

The EYE STUDY in four steps photo above illustrates the use of the combination of notch cuts and three cut triangular cuts to open up the eye mound, shape the eye mound with the upper eye lid ridge, shape the eye ball inside the eye lids and refine the eye presentation. Illustration # 1 shows the triangle cut in the corner of the eye mound at the junction of the bridge of the nose and the eyebrow (the horizontal notch represents the eyebrow).   Illustration # 2 shows the result of a notch cut that begins across the bottom of the eye mound with second angled cud doming down to meet the first cut which forms the upper eye lid ridge. Illustration # 3 begins with a triangular cut at the tear duct location of the eye mound followed by a stop cut outlining under the eye lid ridge with a shallow slicing cut toward the stop cut to form a slight notch. Another small triangular cut is made at the outside corner of the eye to create an illusion of rounding eye ball.  Illustration # 4 shows pupil carved under the upper eye lid beginning with a stop cut followed with a half circle slicing cut to make a shallow divot to form the eye pupil. Additional slicing cuts are made to blend the bottom eye lid with the cheek area.


Following these introductory exercises each student applied what was learned by carving a face in a basswood hen egg using a variety of the instructor’s carved examples.  After the egg projects students chose a three-inch-tall project to apply the same lessons by using a three-inch-tall by inch and half square block of basswood.  Gnome Wizard, Hobbit, Santa and Viking examples were used to study.  The third project included either a five inch or six-inch figure of either a hobo, cowboy, railroader, wizard or pirate.

Students were encouraged to carve as often as possible,  at least do a twenty minute a day exercise of discovering what each carving tool can do by learning a variety of slicing cuts.  Carvers who follow the mantra “The more one carves the better one carves,” learn that carving is a learn by doing activity that sets free the carver’s creative inner being to grow in the carving experience.

The benefit of participating in a carving class is to also experience the friendly association with fellow carvers, gain encouragement from one another, enjoy a few laughs together and become a better carver from all the shared experiences.  The Students in the River Valley carving class survived to carve another day and to appreciate the creative process.  Thank you River Valley woodcarvers for a good time shared and friendships made.  “Keep carving and carving will keep you carving,” sez this Old Carver.



This entry was posted on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 at 12:09 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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