Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. In honor of the occasion, Ricky Smith offered this picture of a Christmas ornament he carved based on a pattern by Joel Hull that appeared in the Fall 2003 issue of Wood Carving Illustrated. The snowman was painted by Claire McGough.

Last week we had our annual Christmas party at class. Thanks to everyone that contributed to the great food and company. We even managed to get some work done.

I pray that you all have a blessed and happy new year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Broken Pottery

Here is a good example of a simple idea that, when executed well, can be quite effective. Ricky came to me with this design and after a good deal of deliberation on everything from design details to finish to framing, here are the results. Well done Ricky.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quotes from Today's Readings to Consider

Two excerpts from what I read this morning struck me as applicable to the world of art:

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge." (from Psalm 19)


"Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made." (Romans 1:20)

This is just something to think about.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Why Do You Carve? Part 1 - Relaxation

I wanted to think a little about why people carve wood. One of the reasons I often hear is to relax. It seems to provide a good way to get away from it all. For a little while, one can leave behind the troubles of the world and focus on something creative and rewarding.

Carving, like many other crafts or artistic endeavors, requires a certain level of concentration. In order to be safe, you need to be aware of your tools as well as what and how you are cutting. I think this helps to block out those all consuming anxieties and allows one to focus on the process - to live in the moment. So much of our lives seem to be spent regretting the past or worrying about the future that we lose sight of where we are right now.

The sense of relaxation is also aided by the contemplative aspect of carving. In this hectic life, we are either rushing to complete tasks or we stop to let the TV do our thinking for us. Carving requires us to think about what we are doing. We must be actively involved. At the same time, the process is often at a pace that allows time to carefully consider what we are doing.

From my own experience, I can see why so many people find a sense of relaxation in carving. In some later posts, I plan to consider some of the other reasons for carving. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Woodcarvers Tool Totes

I really like the look of these woodcarvers tool totes. I think I will have to put one on my wish list. I'm not yet sure which size I prefer. Which one do you like?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

43rd International Wood Carvers Congress

If you can make it to Bettendorf, Iowa on June 25-28 2009, be sure to check out the 43rd International Wood Carvers Congress. The quality of carvings at this show is always excellent. There are some examples from prior shows on The Affiliated Wood Carvers site.

I wish I could make it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another Wood Spirit

Shortly after carving the stick for my son, I carved a wood spirit as a gift to his class. This was also carved with the Flexcut Carvin' Jack. I just had a chance to get a picture of it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Carvin' Jack

I was recently in the woods with my son. He handed me a stick he had been carrying while he went to play a game with some other kids. I happened to have my Flexcut Carvin' Jack with me, so I decided to pass the time by carving a face in his stick. This was my first real opportunity to use the Carvin' Jack and I thought I would share some thoughts about it.

The Carvin' Jack turned out to be quite a nice little tool for this kind of ad-hoc carving. It is fairly light and easy to carry with the included leather carrying case. There are three blades with different profiles on each side. All of blades lock securely in place when opened. Because of the design of the blades, the Carvin' Jack is sold in either right or left handed models.

I did find it a little difficult to open the blades since they tend to drag other blades open with them. When opening the knife blade, the V-tool and chisel blades would start to come out as well and I would have to push them closed before cutting with the knife. But this seems a small price to pay for having all these blades in such a small tool.

Even though this particular carving could have been completed with a simple knife, it went much faster with the addition of some of the special blades. The hair went very quickly with the help of the V-tool. Overall, I enjoyed carving with this tool. It's a bit expensive, but I received this one as a gift from my lovely wife. If you do a lot of whittling, you could probably justify the price with the added speed some of these blades could provide.

If you have any questions about the Carvin' Jack, let me know. Below are a few pictures of the tool.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Doyle's Mirror Frame

Doyle sent me a few pictures of the mirror frame he recently completed. The pictures do not do justice to the depth and richness of the finish. It has layered colors with gilding and an antique finish.

Check out to see some of the custom wall finishes that Doyle specializes in.

Ricky's Calla Lily Relief

Thought I would let you all see a Calla Lily relief carving that Ricky did. It is based on a design from "Floral Wood Carving" by Mack Sutter.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Carv-Fest '09

A couple of people (including Doug) sent me links to the website for Carv-Fest '09 in Faribault, Minnesota. I don't think I'll be able to make it this year, but I especially enjoyed the videos they have featuring the various instructors. If you can make it to Carv-Fest, I'm sure it will be a great experience.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bill Judt's Carving Bench Design

Bill Judt has designed a carving bench with a top that tilts and rotates. It is quite impressive. He is offering the plans for a very reasonable price. Have a look.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 2008 International Woodcarvers Congress

The latest issue of Woodcarvers Online Magazine has some really great photos from the 2008 International Woodcarvers Congress in Davenport, Iowa. Check out all the photos of the winning carvings, exhibits and seminars.