I have had the great honor of carving the wonderful Creche scene – often referred to as the Nativity – Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. I will be delivering this on Friday to Mepkin Abbey for their Creche Festival and I still have a few days of fussing with the finish.
Throughout the carving process, I quite often found myself praying for guidance – not only because the wood and design was a challenge, but the simple and humble honor of carving such incredible figures from the greatest story ever told!
I have decided to finish it with 3 coats of shellac with light sanding between each coat. The first 2 coats are brushed on and the final coat is sprayed. This is just to keep it simple and quick. I am definitely far from a finishing expert, and when I do have to finish my work, I keep it as basic as it gets. The thing I like about shellac is that if I screw up, I can remove it! Great news when I have no clue what I am doing! Time is running short, so I just need to get it done…
Here are photos of carving Mary. The Process was a real challenge because this was from a Pawlownia wood log that had been sitting outside for 2 years. Half of the log was rotten with very soft wood. I had to simply grind away all this nasty wood and carve Mary out of what was left – which caused the first attempt to not work out as well as I had wanted. I was not happy with the way the legs were positioned. I had to remove so much wood from the soft sections, that the legs were sort of awkward shaped – too thin. So I decided to remove the lower section of Mary’s legs and replace it with the piece of wood I removed from Joseph. This allowed me to have Mary in a kneeling position, which I liked much more.
Here are the photos of carving the Baby Jesus: