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I'll bid you all farewell...................

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  • I'll bid you all farewell...................

    I've been gone for some time and for a very specific reason.
    My mural carving days are now over. After visits to a plethora of speciaists and reconstructive surgeons I now have the answer I was seeking but not wanting. All of the cartiledge in both wrists is gone. Too many years of very aggressive chisel and mallet work on large murals has taken it's toll, and now its finished.
    I've been given two options... fusing or wrist replacements. Fusing is out of the question for me as I also play stringed instruments and I'd not be able to use a mallett anyway. Reconstructive surgery will restore 80% of my wrist strength and full mobility, but I've been advised by every one of them that I'll no longer be doing any mallet and chisel work. The artificial joints simply couldn't handle it, but I will be able to play guitars and banjos.
    The Pepperdyne project was approved just three weeks before the first diagnosis, and now its not going to happen.
    I'm now in forearm splints until the surgery is scheduled. I've had a good haul............. some 45 years of carving, so I can't complain. I'm not going to take up any small form of decorative carving because that's not who or what I am. If I can't do the large murals, then I'm done. And now I'm done, and I'll leave you with some afterthought advice.
    If you've been doing aggressive chisel and mallet work for some time and are anywhere near 50 or so, get x-rayed. Find out what's going on before you lose it all. Had it been discovered at the 50% point of so there would have been a procedure for it. Don't wait too long, particularly if your feeling anything whatsoever in either your wrists or through the top of your hands.
    If you love your art, you take care of your tools, and your wrists are definitley part of your tools.

    So long, Al! Glad to have found and spoken with you.
    Take good care of yourselves. In the end its all up to you.

    Pierre St.Marie

  • #2
    Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

    Very sorry to hear this news Pierre. A shame about your project that will not happen now. You are right about taking care of the most important tool we have - our bodies. I am saddened that we'll no longer have access to your knowledge.

    Best of luck with the surgery and your string playing. I am a guitar player for 30 years and I'd be devastated if I lost the ability to play.

    Peace and blessings to you!
    ChuckT

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    • #3
      Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

      Thank you Pierre for letting us know what's up with you. I sure feel for you not being able to do one of your great loves, and hopefully having time for the music and being able to participate will bring you the joy of any talented retired person.
      You left your legacy in your work and your son from what you've told us, and you have the lessons taught to you by your own mother who is an older carver as well. I guess you get to take you place with her.
      Good luck to you.
      Thor
      Steve

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      • #4
        Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

        Pierre, I'm really sorry to hear of your health problems...I was afraid of something like that when you checked out earlier. Please don't leave altogether.....perhaps when you get the surgery done yu will be able to stop by here every so often. Even if you can't carve we could still use your advice and benefit from your years of experience.

        In the meantime, I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

        Al

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        • #5
          Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

          Pierre,
          for every door that closes, a new door opens...... Maybe you don't have to stop carving...... just change to a different kind of carving. Maybe it is time to trade those chisels and mallet in for a Foredom.

          I am ducking as I suggest this since I am well aware of how some carvers feel about power carving. But for those of us with limited strength in our hands, arthritis and other problems, it is an alternative. Please give it some thought.
          Best wishes for a successful surgery and God bless.
          susieq

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          • #6
            Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

            For everything there is a season. Maybe now is the season to write a book. Your stories brought a smile and evoked some great memories. Good luck!

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            • #7
              Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

              Best wishes. All will travel the same road sooner or later.

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              • #8
                Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                Pierre ............ I can understand your post and your decision, but I ask you please, do not to close the door on carving.

                Life changes, no one can agree more than I can. We don't always have control of our destiny and your illness is a clear setback in your life, and I offer you my sympathy. It is a monumentus struggle to over come a change in your life like that, one that not everyone can successfully deal with. One day you are carving along like a house on fire and the next you can't lift a tool.

                I've been there! In fact I'm still there.

                A car accident stopped my life, as I knew it, and wasn't able to pick up a tool for a year, and then had to re-learn everything, a slow process as the accident left me with a brain injury and physically disabled. I no longer have the strength or endurance to do what I once did. So I changed my methods, changed my tools and found ways to do things differently. I have to admit that some things I can no longer do and it is difficult to accept that. But I am no longer the same person I was so I have to accept that also.

                But ........... I can still do some things, slowly yes and perhaps not as well as before, but carving has been my lifesaver! Kept me from abandoning hope and gives me a sense of achievement that was missing. It is great therapy for my injuriy to the brain, and while I will never be the same, I can still achieve some things and pass on some of my skills to others.

                Please, take a break yes, but do not abandon the skills that God has given you. Find a way to use them in some way. You wouldn't be sorry.

                Just an opinion, and take it for what it's worth. I just hate seeing someone give up.

                With respect.

                Bob
                Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.

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                • #9
                  Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                  Pierre I agree with Bob totally. I hate to see anyone give up or quit doing something they love. I also have had to adapt and change the way I do things. To me carving gives me a purpose and helps me as a therapy. I have never even seen one of my carvings but I still want to do them. My biggest fear is if I stop I will forget what things looked like. When I carve a scene carving I am doing it from a description but also from memory. So there is always a way to do things if the desire is still there. I suggest take some time and after the surgery at least try a new way. Just my opinion.
                  Ron

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                  • #10
                    Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                    Well said Bob!

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                    • #11
                      Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                      Squbrigg,

                      That was very insprirational to anyone who reads it - thanks for sharing.

                      I hope Mark Y reads this post; he does murals doesn't he?

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                      • #12
                        Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                        "All things work for good to those that love the Lord." So please "expect good to come from this. I started carving at 75 and I never thought in a million years that I could even think of carving a face.. I just couldn't give up what I shared with my husband that I lost.. I don't think I could have gone on without this love of painting his carvings..As strange as it sounds, I picked up his knives and started carving.. Inspite of corpal tunnel in both hands.. I would love to use power tools but haven't a clue how to begin to use them but my joy is to keep trying so I won't give up a part of our life together..You might be suprised how you can compensate in other ways to have the joy of carving.. I will keep you in my prayers and hope to hear good things form you in the future.. Charlotte

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                        • #13
                          Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                          Bob and Ron you are right on. I would endorse their words ten fold. Dont give up their are many other ways to carve. Reciprocating carvers, power carvers etc. I also do large carvings and I know the day is not too far off that I wont be able to climb that scaffold anymore or use my chisels and chainsaw. When that day comes I will find an alternative way to get it done. Heed the words of these two gentlemen I found them very inspiring.
                          Colin
                          Jim - The Doing is as much fun as the Viewing!
                          Jackson, MS

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                          • #14
                            Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                            Hey, gang. Just dropped in to give you the results. The surgery was a success on the left wrist. The final cast comes off next friday and then physical therapy will tell the tale, but the meet with the surgeon confirmed that I'll not be carving again. I will have a nominal 75% restoration, but with the cartiledge gone and the tendons and ligaments in their current and final state, I won't be able to carve.
                            The MRI shows the right wrist is exactly in the same condition. Surgery on the right one will happen in late January. If you're an aggressive mural carver, wear braces when removing large areas of wood. Aggressive chisel and mallet work was my downfall. I never would have thought this a possibility.
                            Now.......... For something not so depressing.
                            This tree just down the road from our home in Lost Prairie Montana is a single trunk with 6 distinct trees growing from it. It appeared when my oldest child, Rosemary, was a baby. Pretty cool, eh?
                            Take care of yourselves, and take care of your hands. After all, that's where you live, isn't it.







                            Pierre

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                            • #15
                              Re: I'll bid you all farewell...................

                              Hello Pierre,
                              Good to hear from you, and glad to hear that surgery was able to restore a bit of the use to you. Good luck with the other one.
                              That tree picture is pretty spectacular.
                              I miss your stories.
                              Thor
                              Steve

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