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Wood vs. Woodcarving

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  • Wood vs. Woodcarving

    My life interest has been distilled to three genre ~ Carvin', Cookin', Contemplation. It seems that most male Cajuns are born believing that they are Chefs. After we retired to Whooping Hollow, I pretty well took over the kitchen, well.... OK.... Uhhh.... except for the other "C" ~ cleanin'! I claim I am working on that part ~ Diana believes that there is a definite lack of progress.

    I have often said, "For undertaking such a solitary avocation, Woodcarvers are an extremely social group". Schedule a meeting/event for 9am and carvers will start arriving at 8am. Schedule the end for 11am and the carvers will have to be forcibly removed at that time. In the "between time" far more conversation than carving will take place.

    Many woodcarvers will state that time disappears during the solitary carving phase. Concentration is necessary at many phases of a carving ~ but there are long periods when repetition allows contemplation.

    Recent posting on Facebook with an old friend led to my contemplation of the "Chicken and Egg" conundrum ~ as it relates to woodcarving. Do woodcarvers carve because of a love of wood? Did a love of wood lead to woodcarving?

    This was brought on as I added a third carving to the two that I vowed to complete before adding another as a major preoccupation. I have been working diligently on a white-tail doe and a barn owl. The connection between these two is interest in habitat and adding brass tubing and foil to my repertoire.

    I like to think that it is my concentration on the carving that leads to clutter ~ or is clutter the natural state of my work area? Actually, the question is usually of little interest to me. It only comes to the forefront when I am unable to locate the tool/burr/stone I am using ~ among the pile on my worktable. It also demands attention when I have too many "started" carvings on the floor around me. I then take action.

    First things first! I started moving carvings out of the way. This also led to the end of action on the clutter. I picked up the carving of a hawk in a piece of wild cherry cut here in Whooping Hollow. I blame it on contemplation. I got to wondering what the wood would look like when completed. This stylized hawk will be finished with high-gloss tung oil. One way to find out ~ a wet cloth.

    The grain and color was startling. My love of wood led to my moving this carving into the lead of those on which I am working! Which do I love most creating a carving from wood or using wood to create a carving? I really don't know ~ but I want this woodcarving finished and sitting among my personal collection! Wet Hawk.JPG
    Last edited by Paul_Guraedy; 04-04-2017, 10:53 AM.

  • #2
    The fact a piece of wood can be made to look like something it isn't is what attracted me to carving. Just like the guys who do caricatures. A good many of those faces look like people you see in every day life. Some are meant to while some are just carvings. But when a person make a block of wood look life like, to me, that is talent. All the pics I've seen coming out of the Rendevous in (sic) Tn. We're fascinating to say the least. A good many look like p pole from my past that I can remember. Wood, maybe the artistic form created for sure, for me!


    • #3
      I don't recall what the driver was in the first place. My Grandmother predicted that I would see things in wood to carve, maybe 55 years ago. She was right.
      My shop is a dreadful clutter. I think it's things of lesser worth that are beyond what I have in front of me, so they get ignored.

      As the years have goneby, there are/were carvings that I thought that I'd like to make for myself.
      They failed. Today, in fact, some are going to get tossed.
      I can't put wood back on and carve in another direction to see what I wanted. Not the first time.
      Brian T


      • #4
        Paul, I alway had an active life. When retire was forced on me, I was an unhappy camper. Thanks to God that I remember my old carving knives, starting in Cub Scouts. Carving is a way to keep the mind and hands busy,

        . . .JoeB


        • #5
          Not sure about the chicken and egg.....I have always loved wood things especially if they have a beautiful grain pattern. Love of wood lead to wood carving I have to say no......if I knew how much in total the tools cost and how much patience it takes then I would have headed for the hills on the subject,........lucky I was stupid and bullheaded......and love the end results most of the time. I have to say that there is something else that drives me back ....wanting to do more and it is not about the wood. My success although was lead by other wood carvers and people on this was nice to be around good people who where willing to help without an agenda. I have unfinished carving everywhere in the shop......I do not what drives me to finish one and leave another........ There are ones that are worthy of the trash can......but that is all apart of the learning. My work shop is a mess....but I tell everyone I know where everything is so never touch any of it. I have to question the neat work shop.....because I understand one thing, in order to make it look like magazine you have to be cleaning it up all the time, so when do you have time to carve? When I am on a roll....everything goes aside and all my energy is that focus on that work. Who has time to clean like that? LOL When I with a carving and it is turning out great .... I want to stay in that groove for as long as possible ....I do not answer the phone, I do not want a post picture of the perfect work is that focus and concentration I want to hang onto. At the end of the project I may clean a little .....and then I arrange my next clutter mess for the next project. When I am working I want everything I need right there .....and that looks like a big clutter mess to average person.


          • #6
            Well, Paul, I started to comment on your post, said it all!


            • #7
              Well said, Paul. Rarely am I caught up and everything finished, nor is my shop clean--ever!
              From Missouri


              • #8
                Hello to all the old names ,I have been away to long ,I have missed the discussions and advice from you guy;s I still carve because I love the feel of wood I always liked your ideas about wood Robson , you speak the way I think:-) , the wood truly speaks to me too .
                Alice in Wonderland


                • #9
                  I have wondered what it was about carving that captured my soul. I not sure I have an answer. I have always loved the look and feel of wood. But carving quickly became a passion. My desire to learn more lead me to the carving community. I had never seen a more friendly and giving group of people.
                  But when I look back I see how it stilled what at the time was a cluttered life. It filled my hands and required my attention, becoming a refuge. It required patients and taught acceptance. It was fun and offered a measurable sense of accomplishment. None of that has change, including the cluttered life. I did add that cluttered shop. But I changed. Carving has made me a better person.
                  Last edited by Randy; 04-09-2017, 11:30 AM.
                  We live in the land of the free because of the brave!



                  • #10
                    For me, it was about the wood, but I had great fear of doing anything with it myself. I'm finally in my dream home and it has a lot of raw, natural wood. The only thing that feels right here is adding more of the same with a bit of our personal style. I did not see any creative abilities in myself, so I figured that I would ruin anything I tried to do myself. Then one day, I guess I forgot that and decided to try it. Hoping to be good enough someday to do unique finial, railings, and trim work in our personal style rather than "the norm". I love the wood AND the process now. The 'zen' moments and losing a whole day in a piece are pretty awesome. I'm still not completely loving the results of my work.

                    I love every piece of wood I find, and while I don't always understand what it tells me it wants to be with the first conversation, eventually I get a knife to it. Some pieces of wood I've apologized to for not getting the results it deserved... but then I find another willing piece and try again.


                    • #11
                      DLarabee, in my view, you are normal. The wood speaks. Some times you can reveal what it says, some times, you cannot.
                      Don't fall in love with it. Some concepts are not meant to fly. Why that is, I don't know. Some of my Haida carver friends
                      may have explanations.
                      From 10 starts, 3 die. 3 become the living dead. 3 turn out OK. One is good enought to show off.
                      Brian T