Amidst the hubbub of getting the video school launched this week, I had a student come in from Atlanta – Jim C. – for 2 days. He has had some experience with carving, but wanted to dig deeper into the art and to get a real challenging project to work on.
So, since the topic we settled on was acanthus leaves, we started out by going over the process of how to draw an acanthus leaf. I explained the process of drawing the acanthus leaves, the very subtle flowing details and the common design elements you often see with these leaves (eyes and pipes – see page attached). Then he drew his own design, which turned out quite beautiful, and he carved this leaf design for the first day in basswood. He started by outlining the leaf with a v-chisel, making a vertical cut around the outside leaf design with curved gouges that fit the edge of the leaf (about 1/8″ deep), and then lowered the background flat. In the photo, this is the acanthus leaf on the right side. As you can see, the result turned out very nice – flowing gently in the wind.
The second day, we decided to go a little deeper and more 3 dimensional. Something quite different than just shaping the surface details. This is really more sculptural, where the general shape of the leaves need to be carved and shaped before any of the details are worked on. This piece was scroll sawed out of 1″ piece of basswood and attached to a temporary board with hot-melt glue – again because of the quick drying time (the main draw-back to hotmelt glue is that sometimes there is a thickness in the glue which raises the wood off the background slightly – causing possible breakage on the back side if you are carving along the edge). By cutting it out with a scroll saw, we didn’t have to spend the time to lower the background 1″ deep (since he was only here for 2 days, we tried to make the most of the time).
As you can see, a very proud and satisfied student – and he should be. Both pieces really turned out beautiful. It was a challenging 2 days, and he met and overcame all the challenges that were presented.
Great job Jim!