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Relief Carving Escher's "Bond of Union"

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  • Relief Carving Escher's "Bond of Union"

    I'm ready to start this relief based on a lithograph of M. C. Escher in April 1956 in which two heads are represented as intertwining ribbons. The ribbons will be deeply undercut, not free standing. Rather than first carving to the deepest level, it may be necessary to shape the facial contours so that the ribbons will accurately follow the contours. For example, it may be best to shape the eyes as part of a complete face, then separate them out on one ribbon. The round spheres complicate this whole process. I plan to eliminate some of them, especially those in front of, or inside the heads.

    I have the basswood blank from Heinecke Wood Products - 1-1/4" x 12" x 15" - and have enlarged the design to fit the wood.

    Union.jpg

  • #2
    Can't wait to see the progress! I hope you show us pics along the way.

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    • #3
      Yes, Ada, I plan to include photos. BTW - Mimi & I now have a condo on Bainbridge Island, close to the ferry, so you may be able to see the carving first hand! We will spend a couple of months there starting mid-May.

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      • #4
        Very interesting project, I will follow it with interest.
        I can not wait to see pictures.
        I hope you can also show pictures from the work process.
        _________________________________________________
        My facebook: www.facebook.com/carverivanov/

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        • #5
          I'm here. Watching.

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          • #6
            That well be a real challenge. I look forward to seeing your process !
            Randy

            WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!

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            • #7
              I thought about replacing Escher's ribbonized woman and man with real people like below, but my wife vetoed including her photo in this posting. Guess I'll stick with the original design.

              Bond3.jpg

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              • #8
                Hi Phil, I think you really picked A Challenge to Carve . How long did you Study and Plan before starting to Carve??? Merle

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                • #9
                  Ha ha, Merle. I'm still planning! The pattern traced on the wood, but no sharp edge has touched it yet. Seriously, I'm wrestling with several ideas: 1) Should I eliminate or reduce the number of floating spheres in the design? If I keep some, should they be changed to hearts? 2) Should the two heads be carved in relief and intact (complete) before reducing them to ribbons? 3) Should I add a frame to the relief or allow the design to bleed off the edges as in the original. All of these considerations affect the order in which the levels of carving will be approached.

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                  • #10
                    If my memory serves, in the past you have carved many fairly literal interpretations of Escher.
                    I will never be critical of your freedom to edit as you see fit. Can you render these options as sketches to study?

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                    • #11
                      All the Planning and Considerations are opted to change while Carving , Right?? Ha,Ha. Merle

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                      • #12
                        Some considerations are irreversible. If I decide to leave out the floating spheres, and start shaping the heads, I cannot put back the wood where the spheres should be But, if I leave the wood in place for the spheres, they could become hearts. I'm pretty sure I need to shape the heads intact before forming the ribbons because placing the right wrinkle for the nose(s) or ear(s) would be tough. I also think it will be easier to shape the eyes with the complete face (brow, nose, etc.) rather than on a ribbon. It will be hard to get the eyes right if I have to contend with the spheres hanging right over the corner of the eye.

                        Here is a photo of the design traced on the wood. I have left out some of the spheres and have connected some of the facial lines across eventual gaps between ribbons.

                        bondx.jpg

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Robson Valley View Post
                          If my memory serves, in the past you have carved many fairly literal interpretations of Escher.
                          I will never be critical of your freedom to edit as you see fit. Can you render these options as sketches to study?
                          Yes, this is the 25th carving I have done based on M. C. Escher designs. All have been modified in the sense that they were changed from 2-dimensional graphics to reliefs, chip carvings, or in-the-round objects. For his self-portrait, "Hand Holding a Reflecting Sphere," I substituted myself as well as objects in the room behind,

                          final 003.JPG

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                          • #14
                            I remember that! Your carvings are always a pleasure to look at. I see the birds & fish transition upper left.
                            You put things in the carvings that I really have to look for and try to remember as much of Escher's graphics as I can.
                            In theory, I have a couple of books of his work, one has some of his design process. Wonder where they are.

                            Bond of Union. The little spheres are a part of it. I would never recall exactly how many with out going back for a look.
                            Reminds me of the job that my apple peeler can do! You couldn't use it to model this, the peels are less that 1/2" wide.

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                            • #15
                              First cuts! The first step is to outline the two heads so they can be shaped with their eventual contours. Some of the floating spheres will be left, and may be changed to hearts. The edge will bleed off, that is, no frame. So I started with some stop cuts just outside the man's head, then some slanting gouge cuts to meet the stop cuts. This will be repeated down to 1/2" or 3/4" around both heads. The floating figures will be at varying depths, but for now will be left at the surface level.

                              Question - How should I retain the edge lines of the ribbons when shaping the relief contours of the two heads? Ignore them, and redraw after the heads are shaped. Or, incise fine lines to mark their positions even while shaping the contours. Your comments are invited.

                              Bond4a.jpgBond4b.jpg

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