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African Mask Low Relief Carving

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  • #46
    Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


    Time to work on the eye lids. Note that the eyes have two sets of eye lids - upper and lower - and each set is divided into two areas. So I want to separate the two sets for each eye lid, drop them both below the eye line with the outside lid lower than the inside lid.

    I start with my straight chisel to round over the upper outside eye lid. I am tapering this lid so that it flows away from the eye. After it has been rounded I cut a v gouge line between the upper outside lid and the lower outside lid.

    OOOPS! "Houston we have a problem!"



    • #47
      Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

      (There is no Irish_83.jpg)

      Ya kno'! Sometimes you just know when you are in the act of making a mistake and that last cut was one of those times for me. By pushing the v gouge against the grain and into a raised corner area I cracked the corner ... I knew even as I slide into the corner that I was in trouble. So I stopped the cut, backed up the gouge and was able to keep from completely cracking the corner out and off the board.

      OK ... where's the Super Glue ?

      I have opened the crack just a tad with my thumbnail so that I can get a drop of glue inside the crack. Just putting a drop on the surface does nothing as I will eventually be carving this area and carve away that glue. So opening the crack means that the walls of the crack are glued and safely secure for later cuts.

      Glue is in ... my thumbnail makes a nice clamp to give a little pressure to the crack while the glue sets.



      • #48
        Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


        Now the way you should do it is ... considering both the direction of the grain and that the corner of the eye lid is a small free standing area that has the grain flowing across it make a small v gouge cut from the outside of the eye into the corner of the eye lids FIRST. This cuts the eye line corner free from your next v gouge cut that goes along the edge of the top of the inner eye lid.

        When the eye lid gouge cut hits the first eye corner gouge cut the cut stops without putting pressure on the eye line area.

        Now I am back to rounding over the upper eye lid area. Because of the v gouge cuts I can drop this area deeper into the carving, giving more room for the inner eye lids. Once the upper outside eye lid was done I moved down to the lower outer eye lid and repeated these steps.

        ..... except the step where I broke the corner .... don't do that one

        As you watch the lower lid carved you can see the correct process to avoid chipping out the free stanidng corner.



        • #49
          Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


          I am going to work the inner eye lids the same as the outer by cutting a v gouge line along the pattern line of the eye line then rounding over each area and tapering it down towards the outer eye lids using my straight chisel.



          • #50
            Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


            It's time to set the earrings into their depth. I want one part of the earring near the center to be very high with the two ends tucked down below the face. This will make the earrings roll forward like a hoop. To find a high area that will be in the same place on both earrings I grabbed my ruler.

            Putting one end of the ruler on the pencil cross on the center of the nose and laying the other across the bead circle on the inner ring I can mark both rings with a pencil to create a high point reference mark.

            That reference mark is easily tranferred to the earrings on the other side of the mask's face.

            I am using my straight chisel to taper away from my high point reference marks and down to the side of the cheek area of the face. Taper the lower section of the earrings down below the chin line.

            You can see in Irish_97.jpg that the unworked earring behind my hand was left proud (higher) than that chin and that it extends over the chin area. In the worked side earring, below my hand, the earring now lies below the chin and stops at the chin line.

            I have moved onto the second earring and am tapering this area.



            • #51
              Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


              OK ... it only took 99 photos and 6 months to get here but the rough out stage is done! All areas in the pattern have been dropped down to their level in the blank and given a general shape.

              Where some carvers prefer to completely work an area at a time from rough out to finishing details before they move into another area I prefer to work a little on each area of the pattern, moving from one area to another. This style of carving allows me slowly develop to carving as a whole instead of individual parts.

              Our next step is to move into the smoothing stage where I will completely rework each area, remove the rough ridges left over from the tough out steps and refine the shaping.

              So ... back in a bit with more photos.



              • #52
                Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                Susan,how do I access your .jpg files.
                When I click on the file there is no response.



                • #53
                  Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                  The "Irish_99.jpg" refers to the photo attachment.



                  • #54
                    Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                    Terry, place your cursor over one of the small photos at the bottom of the posting and double click ... it should open the large image in a new window.



                    • #55
                      Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                      Photos 1 - 49 do not show up on my computer. The rest of them are there. Maybe this is what Terry is talking about?



                      • #56
                        Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                        That's right twilli, there are no small photo's at the bottom of the posts.


                        • #57
                          Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                          I have reposted all those photos ...Irish_001 through Irish_049 plus the pattern and levels photos.

                          So could someone please let me know if they are showing up for you now!?!



                          • #58
                            Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                            Susan they are coming in here OK. Glad to see you back at work on this project.


                            • #59
                              Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving

                              Thank you Paul!


                              Roughing out brings each of the areas of a carving down into the wood to a specific level or depth. It literally is a rough process and leaves behind many, many, many hard ridges, deep cut round gouge strokes and lots of fuzz bunny fibers.

                              So often I read an article online or in a magazine and the carvings looks so wonderfully neat, clean and smooth in every photo. Well, NOT!

                              Many times those photos have been cleaned up with a few smoothing steps before the author takes the photo ... who wants you to see how messy and disorganized 'your' carving looks in the roughing out stage.

                              This is often what I call the 'disaster point' or the 'I'll never pull this one off' point. So if you are carving alone with me and your carving looks as terrible as mine ... then you are right on track, doing everything just as you should and have finished the earlier steps very, very well.

                              Now that we have found the depth, level, of each area it is time to refine the shapes of each area, make any adjustments in the outer edges to bring each area back to square and to smooth out those rough ridges left from the earlier work.

                              You can use just about any tool to do the smoothing steps, which are the next steps in the carving process. I have on my table two wide sweep round gouges often called fish tail gouges, my v gouge and my favorite smoothing tool, a bull nose chisel.

                              The v gouge will be used to recut the intersection lines between elements and the other three tools will be used to gently shave the rough ridges.



                              Before I begin this carving session I am taking some time to really look a what I have already done. I am going to be working in the head dress and forehead area of the carving first so that is where I am concentrating my attention.

                              1. Are my points or angles on square to the center line of the carving?

                              2. Are my points or angles the same size and depth on both sides of the carving?

                              3. Does each area truely reflect a mirror image of the same area on the other side?

                              These are simple questions that can take a nice carving into a great carving! Little details matter. I don't mean the little fine line carving details that we do with the v gouge or bench knive. I mean those little details of balance, proportion and square.

                              Looking at my carving I can see that in the headdress, which has two pointed layers, neither of the points is on the center pencil line we created when we put down the pattern. The top point is off set to my left and the inner point is off set to the right. Both points need to be adjusted, recarved, so that they fall exactly on that center line.

                              OK ... I know they are just a tad off, a smidgen, but that little 'tad off' can take a carving from a blue ribbon down to an honorable mention !

                              Not one of my points to the eye brow 'v's matches the point of the same eye brow on the other side of the face ... not one, Susan! So I need to take time to measure, mark and recut all of these end points.

                              The center of the forehead where the eye brows meet is off center. So I need to get back in there with my round gouge and make that area an even centered curve.

                              Not shown in the photo with colored lines is that the outer eye pad areas, the area between the lowest eye brow 'v' and the upper lid of the eye on the outside of the face do not match.

                              This area on my left of the face rolls upward in a curve but the eye pad on my right side rolls down!!!! Really missed that one in the rough stage.

                              So I will be taking time to roll both side down. Having looked very closely rolling both down will be easier. The roll them both up I would need to drop both areas deeper into the carving then execute the up roll ... down will be much easier.

                              Also not shown with colored lines is that the unworked triangle in the center of the headdress is not even along the top edge. I need to recut this area when I get there.

                              So ... watch as I square, balance, recut and smooth then take time to look closely at your carving, ask the same questions and decide where you need to adjust each area during the smoothing process.



                              • #60
                                Re: African Mask Low Relief Carving


                                I am starting on the back headdress level with my bull nose chisel to smooth out the rough gouge ridges. I use this tool upside down ... with the cutting angle against the wood. This keeps the chisel from digging in and eating big slices of wood.

                                I want to take thin slivers not big cuts at this point. The area is now flat so I move into the joint line of this area and the next level of headdress with my v gouge to recut the joint line.

                                With a ruler I have marked a straight line down the center of the headdress areas following the original pencil line left from the pattern transfer.

                                Irish_104.jpg is a close up of the headdress points. So you can see how far off my rough out carving was from that center line.