Wood Carving Blog-The Creative Process-Stage 1

Wood Carving Blog- The Creative Process- Stage one

Visitors to the gallery often ask questions that I am usually reluctant to answer or sometimes give an abstract answer or reply with a joke.

One of the most asked questions is. How long did it take you to carve this? Referring to a piece of art they a interested in purchasing; I usually think they want to compare price with time.

I have chosen an abstract sculpture I am in the process of carving to disclose its history from beginning to end.

Fifteen years ago I received a call from a lady telling me she was about to cut down a tree that was too close to the house and was I interested in the wood.

I paid a visit to the house and discovered that the tree was what was locally known as Shack Shack or woman’s tongue. The large dry pods would rattle in the wind.

The tree is related to the ebony family, but is not as dark as the African ebony; but still as hard and beautiful. I selected the pieces I wanted and cut them into manageable pieces so they could fit into my Mitsubishi pickup.

The pieces sat outdoors in the sun for 10 years, since I don’t have a kiln for drying wood; If the wood is not properly cured it would split when exposed to central heating or placed in direct sunlight, particularly through a glass window.

wood carving in progress

Five years ago the wood was stored in a forty-foot container, for protection from the rain and final curing.

My market is 99% Tourist, therefore carving large sculptures is a problem because of the high cost of shipping from Anguilla; I have one large sculpture in the Anguilla social security building.

The piece of wood I have chosen is a cross section of a branch, 18 inches high by 16 inches in diameter.

I am still in the process of stripping the wood naked; this also reveals the grain and first shapes.

The next stage is to place the naked wood in a place where I can view it regularly, sometimes in my bedroom. This is done for inspiration and as part of the creative process.

My first task when carving an abstract sculpture is a term I use “stripping the wood naked; in this process all the defects are removed-worm eaten holes, surface cracks etc; a chain saw is the tool of choice at this stage; if the area is too difficult or too small for the chain saw I will use a variable speed Die grinder with a steel burr.

During the creative process I will make chalk marks on the wood according to my taste and pleasing to the eye.

To be continued.

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