Monday, April 26, 2010

Moving along

Here's an update from work done over the weekend. It's coming together well- but the trouble is that her gaze isn't as downwards as originally planned, to be looking at the turtle by her feet. I may need to change the plan a bit and introduce another element, to make things work out.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I spent my nights this past week working on the new carving. Last week, a friend of mine was kind enough to ask her daughter to pose for a few photographs so I could be sure things were in the right place. Nothing beats a model for reference! The pictures show most of the volumes blocked in. From here, it's gradual refinement with blade tools and then on to the use of scrapers for finer surfaces and details. This is actually the second version of the piece. The first one, started Monday, seemed like it was going well until I realized that the head was not quite in the right position (anatomically) in relation to the shoulders so I had to scrap it and start over. My best boxwood too.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

new work

I made a few sketches this week and sculpted a small model of a piece I'll be starting in wood soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Catch

This piece was created in respose to a call for a group show at Edgewood Orchard Gallery, where I exhibit. The theme is 'Daybreak' so I thought the subject of a fly-fishing outing was a perfect response. One trout caught, and a crayfish along for good measure. This netsuke carving is in boxwood, with ivory, mother of pearl and pink ivory wood accents. It measures 1 1/2" at its greatest dimension. The himotoshi is formed by the natural opening in the lid of the creel. A knotted cord will nest nicely in here.
If you're up in Door County, Wisconsin this summer, please have a look. Many of my latest carvings will be available for sale.

Bean Pod

Here's another carving: a sashi-style netsuke which I recently finished after working with for a couple of months. The artist Jacques Vesery sent me a box of wood offcuts from his studio a number of years ago. Pieces from that gift- thanks again Jacques!- have been used as details in a number of my works, but most notably in this one. It hit me towards the end of last year that this piece of burlwood would be perfect as a long bean pod. The grain of it suggested something growing organically, and the streaks scross the lower surface reminded me of dappled rays of sunlight filtering through leaves and vines. The details are of ivory which has been lightly colored. As you can see on the back, there's a stink bug with antennae made from boar's tusk, and part of the pod has been cut away to reveal a bean beneath.

I've done several bean pods over the years- they're great to come back to, to gauge one's development as an artist- the form of them can go in lovely, sensuous directions too.

Length- approximately 3 1/2"

In Winter, Come to Me

I create some of my carvings because I'm drawn to a particular subject or theme and want to try expressing it with my hands. Other times, I have a vague story or narrative in mind and I try to capture it in a piece. This piece came to me one day this past winter seeing sparrows outside- some were huddled up against the cold- others hopping from branch to grass in search of food. Then I began thinking about a sort of mother sparrow- or a sparrow spirit that would look after the birds and give them comfort in an intagible way. The result is this carving. I experimented a bit with combining a three-dimensional form with low relief carvings on the surface to create another layer of narrative. I'm happy with the initial results and may come back to this device in the future.
The item is carved in boxwood which has been chemically stained and then washed over with the white pigment, gofun. After that, the piece was burnished with an agate to a high gloss. Dimension is roughly 1 3/4" .

Knitting Girl

I finished this carving up last November. It's of boxwood and lightly stained with alder dye. Not much to say about it. I wanted to try working on another figural netsuke and was looking at some paintings and drawings by Millet and thought it would make a good subject to do a young peasant girl knitting. I may make a matching ojime for this netsuke in the shape of a basket holding some balls of wool.