Let’s talk about woodcarving

Let’s talk about woodcarving 2017-06-26T23:59:57-04:00
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Grinling Gibbons

Hi Mary,

I just finished reading the "Chiseling Perfection" article you linked to in your newsletter and at the end you mentioned Grinling Gibbons as something for the future (lessons perhaps?). I thought you'd like to know that Steve Bisco, British carver and author, has a book out called "Twenty Decorative Carvings in Period Styles" and the last project is a smaller Grinling Gibbons Foliage project. Currently I'm working on the Fruit and Flower Festoon project from this book but I intend to tackle the Gibbons project next. I also subscribe to the British magazine, Wood Carving, from GMC publications (Guild of Master Craftsmen) and recommend it highly to any of your students.  Steve Bisco also is a contributing author to this magazine.

Hi Jim,

Thanks! I have Steve Bisco's book and would definitely recommend that.

Yes... I do plan on carving a Grinling Gibbons-esque project soon. My problem is to try and keep it a "teachable" lesson and not get too carried away. How do you not get carried away with that style?? So I need to try and keep it in the similar style, but not let it get too overwhelming. Or maybe it will be one of those projects that starts with an attempt to keep it simple, and it grows... and grows... and grows... and 6 months later it's finally finished. We shall see, but hopefully this year it will be a lesson.

Perhaps you could just do a small section of one of the Gibbons carvings. I have been fortunate enough to see some of the original wood and stone carvings (and professional reproductions) at Hampton Court Palace and in the Victoria and Albert Museum. While the carvings are normally hugely elaborate and complicated, they are definitely an inspiration. Just a portion of one of them would be a worthy and challenging lesson. Possibly  a musical instrument or a small fruit, leaf or flower composition? It is amazing how prolific his studio was.

Hi Michael. I should check these threads more often.

If you're interested in doing a Gibbons type carving I recommend the Steve Bisco book I mentioned above. It has a smaller Gibbons project that I think is doable. I hope to tackle it sometime this year after I finish the Fruit and Flower Festoon project from the same book.  However I may tackle a human bust before the Gibbons project. I've been wanting to do one for a while and I need work in that area. I've only done a few in clay and only one in wood. Never enough time to do all I want to do.

I'm planning on putting together a Grinling Gibbons lesson soon. This has 2 motives - one to have a fantastic time carving an amazing style - and one to get people excited about the Grinling Gibbons tour I'm putting together for May, 2020. If you're interested, please contact me. Look for something over the next few months