We had a great class in Greenville, SC. The projects were difficult, but everyone did very well and learned a lot about that mysterious classical leaf – the acanthus. Once you study this wonderful ornament, you begin to see it everywhere – on picture frames, architectural features, wallpaper, etc. As you can see from the photo of the “real” acanthus leaf (from my garden), it has evolved greatly through the years.
It originated in the Mediteranean, and people were inspired by its beauty for thousands of years. I have heard that in Italy they consider it a nuisance weed now, sort of like the thistle here – very similar in appearance, also. Beautiful long spikes of purple flowers come out of the middle of the plant when it is in bloom.
The Corinthian capital was supposedly inspired by a greek architect that passed by a grave of a young girl. There was a basket left at the grave with a stone on top, and an acanthus leaf grew out of the basket, creating the flowing and layering leaves of the Corinthian capital.
I tried to photograph the carving process, but got distracted in the actual teaching process and forgot to photo some of the steps. Then for the shell, my camera battery died before I was able to show the process of carving the lobes. Sorry about that.
In another post I will put the article I wrote for the Society of American Period Furniture Makers yearly journal on this particular acanthus carving – it goes through all the process of carving in detail. I hope it comes through clearly enough.
I’m working many hours these days. Lots to finish in the next 2 weeks. I have to finish the “kings head” and also I have about 20 feet of large egg and dart to carve in quarter sawn white oak. I will (if my camera cooperated) take photos of that step by step process also.