I have a very interesting job to do. My client is restoring an older Charleston home downtown. He is wanting carved keystones in wood at the peak of some of the arches in the interior of the house. He is wanting classic style faces carved into these keystones. Well, he wants a particular “mood” on these faces. I have several examples to go from, but my challenge is to get a “mood” without making the face to 20th century. Very classic style man with a beard. It is going to be a challenge.
So, these are going to be in mahogany, but I have always felt that if a design is difficult to “discover” and there is going to be a lot of trial and testing, I have always felt that I am better able to find shapes in stone. The simple reason for this is the slow process of chipping such tiny pieces away causes you to very gently discover the correct shapes. There is also a better possibility of taking too much wood away too quickly, than with stone. It’s odd, I know. Wood seems easier, just because of the softness of the material, as compared to stone. But whenever I am having a struggle designing something, stone seems to work best for me.
Then, once I find the correct expression, I have something physical to copy into the wood. I still have some sorting out of the mouth, and the lips are wonderful examples of “full voluptuous” lips. Very kissable (no, I am not kissing my stone carvings). I should be finishing the hair off next week, so it looks less like a wild man and more like a classic Greek scholar.
Off to teach at Woodcraft in Greenville this weekend – How to Carve the Ball and Claw Foot.