Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects

WHITTLE FOLK CLASSIC - WizardWHITTLE FOLK CLASSIC - WizardWHITTLE FOLK CLASSIC - WizardWhittle Folk Classic The “Wizard” has become a common carving subject for the mythical class of competitions at wood carving shows. There is something magical about the imaginative character of a wizard that appeals to the child in each of us. What distinguishes a wizard from an old world Santa is the style of clothing and the items each is holding in their hands.

The face, hands, feet could be the same, but it is the “clothes that make the man” or that distinguish who is behind the face. So some research of what a wizard looks like is important along with the accessories that are “wizardly” like the crystal ball, pointed dunce style hat, walking staff with a jewel or all seeing eye embedded in its upper shaft and a long flowing robe. Once one has the mental image of a design, one is ready to began the carving process.

The WOOD BEE CARVER carves from a squared block of wood, in this case one and a half inch square by six inches tall. The first shaping is done by carving the head covering to the basic form. In this case it is a pointed dunce style hat with a furry or ruffly or braided trim. The reason the head covering is carved first is because the head goes into the hat rather than the hat sitting on top of the head.

After the head covering is carved to form, then the head is carved to form going up into the hat. It is at this stage of forming the head covering that the direction of the head is determined and carved in that direction. It is always more interesting if the carving is looking askew sideways rather than straight ahead. One can learn to carve a head turned if one carves the head covering and head first and then carve the body below the head and neck to continue the turned head motif.

The guiding design feature is to think of curving lines like a lazy “S” and enlongated “C” or in other words, no straight lines so that the carving flows and is alive as the eye of the beholder follows the curving lines. This is why I carve walking sticks as crooked sticks since it is more interesting than a straight stick and besides, it is harder to carve a straight stick.

Once the head covering and head area is to form, then the rest of the body is carved to form starting at the shoulders and shaping down the body. To keep the body in proportion I use the “Rule of Threefor body proportions: from shoulder to waist is a third; from waist to top of knee is a third; and from knee to bottom of feet is a third. I mark those devisions of thirds with a line all around what will be the body and then when I draw in the arms I have the bend of the elbow sightly above the line for the waist.

In one hand there will be a crystal ball carved and the other hand will be holding a crooked walking staff, so these are drawn in with a pencil for guidance. As the body is carved to shape, which in the wizard’s case is covered with a long, flowing robe, the form takes the shape of a robe draped and flowing. In one front corner a shoe sticking out from underneath the robe gives the illusion of movement.

Once the entire piece is carved to the basic form, then each part is considered a seperate carving that is then carved towards the end result of the detail of that part. For example the glob of wood that will be a hand holding a crystal ball is carved to the detail of a ball being held by a hand, so one carves a hand holding a ball. The same is done with the other hand holding the crooked walking staff and then top of the staff becomes a carving in itself as one carves a ball being held by twisted rope like roots around the ball.

The face which to this point is only the form of a face covered with mustache, beard and hair is now carved in detail and then the hair, mustache and beard are carved to detail. This carving plan follows the rule: “Form follows function – detail follows form.”

When all the detail carving is completed, then the carving is ready to be painted using the “soft painting method” of boiled linseed oil and artist oil paint. The crystal ball was soaked with super glue to seal the wood so that when the diluted artist oil paint was applied the crystal ball would appear to be translucent.

This entry was posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 at 1:07 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.

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