Sunday, October 18, 2009
Fire wood is the term carvers and whittlers use to designate carvings that have gone wrong. Might as well use 'em for fire wood and get some utility out of 'em.
My view is that most carvings that go wrong can be saved with a little imagination, flexibility and perseverance. Witness my latest foray toward the female face.
As you can see, the eyes are a mess. The level of difficulty is a little higher on this one than on my last because of the hair drifting down over the face. Her right eye is partially covered and the space between the main hair falls is pretty narrow. This branch is about 4 inches long and about 1" in diameter. (And if anyone can identify the wood, I'd be most grateful.)
All of the carving up to this point was done with my self-modified Kissing Crane Four-Blade Congress pocket knife. It's a nice, well-built knife for $15, and performed admirably up to this point.
One of these days I'll get over being afraid of eyes, but that day ain't yet. I was too timid about the first set of eyes I gave her. They were too small and too shallow. I'll admit that I was also rather intimidated by the lack of space left by the hair. I could have redone the hair, but I wanted this kind of look, so I decided to redo the eyes. Lord knows there was enough wood left.
I couldn't get the pocket knife blades down in there at the angles I needed to make the cuts I wanted to make, so I switched over to my Ralph Long long knife. That narrow 2" blade was just what I needed. It may seem contra-intuitive that I needed a long blade to get into a tight spot, but the narrowness of the point and the curve of the blade allowed me to get down in there and cut around the eye without nicking (mostly) the eyebrows and hair.
I deepened the cuts above the eyes and moved the bottom of the lower lids much further south making them deeper as well. I used the very tip of the knife to make lots of very small chips while building the eye mounds.
While building the eye mounds I decided that a sleeping dryad fit this pose better, so I finished the eyes that way.
I think she turned out pretty well, but while looking at the photos I began to think she had a rather androgynous look. She could be either a pretty-boy rocker or a woman. I'm beginning to think it might have something to do with the lower lip where it meets the corners of the mouth. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment.
Until next time, let the chips fly!
Posted by Bob Tinsley at 11:50 AM