Monday, 6 May 2013

My Adventures in Woodcarving

 "Clem & Clara"
(hand-carved, basswood, each approx. 2.5"Wx3"Hx2"D)

Clem & Clara are a sweet li'l couple who took up residence here
 in the last week or so.  Clem is always doing thoughtful things 
for Clara... her favourite thing is Springtime blossoms and
 flowers, so Clem rarely returns from his morning walk 
without a small fragrant gift for his sweetheart.

    In late winter I asked my Uncle Mike if he would be willing to teach me to carve - he's a brilliant wood carver - check out his blog here!  We planned to get together weekly beginning in late April.

    So my first lesson was two weeks ago... I decided I wanted to try carving a mouse - who doesn't love a mouse??  Uncle Mike cut a few pattern blanks out of basswood for us to work with and we got started.

    Within a couple hours Uncle Mike had his mouse practically completed - carved tail and chiseled ears - and all I had was a chunky piece of wood with a pointy knob on top and a few rough pencil makings. 

    My uncle obviously had enough faith in my ability to somehow grasp the technique he had taught me because he sent me home with my chunky piece of wood with the pointy knob on top and handed me the third pattern blank he had cut and told me to bring back the finished mice the next week.

    I worked away at home on my carving and soon Clem was completed - I gave him arms so he could collect flowers and decided to even include a flower in his tiny grasp.  I penciled two eyes on his face and set him down in the grass and snapped a photo of him:


       Excited and enthusiastic about the result of several hours of carving, I carefully set Clem off to the side of my work space and snatched up the basswood blank, carving knife at the ready and - I FROZE!  I couldn't remember how I even started Clem nor how I completed him!  My mind went completely blank! I just sat there holding the wood blank, staring at Clem, trying to figure how I went from Exhibit A (the wood blank) to Exhibit B (the mouse). 

    I set the block of wood down. I picked the block of wood up. I put it down again. Okay, wait, I can do this!  Yes! I can! Okay, deep breath in... Exhale slowly... 

    I picked the block of wood up again and remembered the first simple instructions Uncle Mike had given me: "Start by carving off the corners and edges."

    A couple more days of carving and Clara was sitting beside Clem, gushing over the flower he was presenting her with!



"Clara & Clem Going For A Walk In The Ivy Garden"

    Getting over the "mind blank" and completing Clara with her tiny clasped hands was a very inspiring! I was excited to show my uncle what I had been able to complete in a week's time and he must have been somewhat impressed with my accomplishments because he sent me home with my completed carving from Week 2 and FOUR wooden blanks!

    In my next post you will see my completed Week 2 carving - and maybe a couple more completed carvings from the wooden blanks!


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