Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I finished this piece a couple of months ago, after coming back to it now and again for some time. It's carved out of mountain mahogany, ivory and horn and measures 1 1/2" square (4cm).

For this piece I conceived of a composition of a close-up, tightly cropped snail, against an indistinct background. By indistinct, I mean that I've been thinking about ways to create pictorial depth, without actually depicting anything discernable. This is difficult to convey in the photo above, but by very subtle texturing to the background wood, I think I've been able to create a reminder that it's both a physical substance (wood) as well as a suggestive scene in which the snail dwells.
On the verso I've carved in shallow relief some wood sorrel growth, in keeping with the environment in which a snail might dwell. The sense of scale has been played with between front and back, giving the viewer a pleasant change in the point of view when turing the piece over.

The tapered sides and general rounded-square shape give it a nice feel in the hand; something a one-piece manju netsuke should have.

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