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Carving the Acanthus Leaf - Mary's new book

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Mary's book became available for pre-order today. It is off to the printer and being magically transformed from bits to paper. The printed and bound version will be ready for delivery sometime in November (maybe in time for U.S. Thanksgiving Day?)

For you who are eager, you can order the book today and immediately download a PDF version.

Oh, if only we could "download" basswood for immediate delivery! Yeah, order basswood when you order the book. ...and sharp pencils ...and drawing paper too. BTW, the largest dimension of any of the 13 carvings is 13 inches (the Baroque leaf is 5 3-8 by 13 inches), and all but one can be carved from 1 inch or 7/8 inch material.

We have become accustomed to Mary's thorough step-by-step method of teaching. This book is no different, limited only by how many steps one can actually take time to draw. The number of drawings, and the time it must have taken to create them, is astounding, and the way they are presented (a challenge in itself, I understand) makes sequences clear and achievable.

On drawing...

It was my great blessing to have seen parts of the book as Mary created it, and I greatly enjoyed those previews. Yet today, as I see the completed book, I am ever more impressed. Since I last saw some of those previews, Mary has significantly enhanced the way she describes how to create drawings of the various leaves. For me, learning to draw the leaves is as important as learning to carve them. My mind binds those two activities very tightly together. It's OK to start with a given drawing and jump right into carving, but I find it even more satisfying to learn to make the drawing itself and then carve.

Mary shows us how. The step-by-step for the drawings is as good as the step-by-step for the carvings and is, in my mind, a HUGE part of the value of this book. The "day job" part of my life was about 50 years of work that could best be called "engineering," full of precise procedures, concise measures, and rigor that left little room for artistic exploration. Mary's explanation of drawing techniques provides a wonderful bridge from the rigidity of engineering to the smooth flow of artistic interpretation. For example, an engineer will tell you that it's almost impossible to create a spiral curve with typical engineering graphic tools. Spirals have a constant rate of change, where tools always have a non-constant rate of change. Well... Mary shows how to use simple drawing tools to transform the rigid into flowing.

It's like magic! Yes, I've been a fan for a long time. Yes, I saw many parts of this book while Mary was creating it. Yes, one would think I've seen enough of it by now to consider it well known, and maybe "just another carving book." That last is definitely not so. This book goes far beyond my expectations, and a lot of that is due not only to the expected step-by-step detail, but to the magic of learning how to draw the acanthus leaf.

Thank You Mary for what you share with us.

Thank you, Bob. Your words are so encouraging. That makes me smile reading that!

The minute I got the notice that the book was complete (yeah!) and ready to pre-order, I did a very uncharacteristic thing for me.  I immediately ordered it!  (My usual thing is to mull things over a while before deciding on anything.)  Then I discovered I could download the book immediately, and I did.  The cover is like a work of art all by itself; I'd love to frame it and hang it on the wall!  I started reading...and reading...and can't put it down!  I'll have it all read on line before the physical book ever arrives!  I didn't realize she was adding little stories to each lesson (well, I skipped around so it may not be every lesson), and they are so much fun to read.  Mary stresses drawing the leaf.  I wonder if we are supposed to be drawing each online lesson, too?  I thought it would be like the online lessons, but it is much more detailed with so much information crammed into every chapter.  No wonder it took three years to write; I am surprised it only took that long!  I have a shelf of carving books, but none of them compare in the slightest way to this book.  This will be the "classic" carving book, the "go to" book on carving, period.  In 100 years, they will still be reprinting new editions and people will still be referring to it as "THE must have book on carving".  Joyce

I also ordered it ASAP when I got the notice.  I had also been waiting to order "The Anarchists Design Book" from Lost art Press.  I knew Mary's book would be out soon, so I waited to order both at the same time. Now waiting for Mary's to ship, the other to arrive, and looking into Mary's pdf book while I wait.  Haven't had much time with it yet, but this will be a "read every word" book for me, and not just a "skim over it" book.  So far I am truly impressed.

Thanks Bob, Joyce and Rick! I truly hope  you enjoy every word, photo and illustration in the book!

Imagine being knighted by Queen Mary!  A well-written review on the LAP blog, Bob.

Bill, I should stay far away from that one... but I just can't resist.

Touching a chisel on each shoulder? Then to finish the ceremony by being hit on the head (lightly) with the golden mallet. I can see it!

CONGRATULATIONS MARY, I just received an email -- my copy of "The Book" is on its way!

Thanks! Woohoo! I'm still waiting to get my copy.

Wait... shouldn't I be getting mine first??  Humph


Just got your book in the mail this afternoon,  WOW!!!  It's lovely,  very, very, happy.  Thank you for all the hard work you put into it, it really shows.

I've just finished a pair of the Italian Renaissance Leaf  in black walnut (chap. 11) from the pattern and photo you sent me back in Feb.  will up-load as soon as the kids can show me how to take pic's  and up-load.  Your instruction from the dwn. loaded version help sooooo much, very easy to follow.

Thank You again Mary,

Mike Duncan

p.s.  when will we see Vol. 2 ???  ok it will take awhile to carve through this one, you have some time.

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