Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Beans ojime

I spent time this summer getting frustrated over several complex carvings that didn't work out well and have either been set aside, or thrown in the scrap pile.  To break through the block, yet keep my hands busy, I completed a couple of simpler carvings.  Here is one- an ojime of three beans.  My wife Emily asked one day what I was carving and I told her "three beans" and then showed her the model I made of three actual black beans superglued together.  She then asked why I didn't just offer the three glued beans as art and skip the carving.

Of note, my beans are about 120% the size of the model.  A half inch or so.  They are carved from a piece of scrap repurposed ivory I had- the grain is fairly coarse, but I think it lends a nice visual texture- after dyeing and polishing.

Bamboo and frog

Carved from marine ivory, this small carving measures no more than about 1 1/8" or 3cm in any dimension.  The raw material was 'D' shaped in cross section, so after a period of brainstorming about what I could fit into such a confinement, it hit me that a short section of bamboo, exposed on the backside to reveal a scene within might be just the thing.

I like the idea of combining two scales of scene, or narration.  The sprouting leaf on the front  curls around and carries the viewer to another scene on the reverse, with a tiny frog perched on another leaf.  His eyes are inlaid in horn, backed with gold to provide some sparkle when turned in the light. The little guy is maybe 1/4" in length.