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Nike Ephesus

In 2017 I took Mary's basic wood carving class at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta. We learned some basic techniques and carved a worm, a rose, and a shell. I purchased her Green Man DVD and carved a respectable Green Man on my own.

About the same time my nephew Brian posted a selfie with the ancient Greek statue of Nike, Goddess of Victory, in Ephesus, Turkey. She was the inspiration for the Nike brand name, and the "swoosh" logo came from the fold in her dress.

I was hooked and set about carving one for myself. I band-sawed the background and foreground from separate pieces of butternut, and then let them sit for four years. Lately I started carving again, and here is what I came up with.

I guess I'm not cut out to be a classical Greek sculptor, but the result isn't too bad. Her face is a little homely, and she is a little flat-chested for me. Her left hand holds a laurel wreath that isn't bad. I took a selfie of me holding a chisel and used it for a model. Her right hand looks a little like a flipper and holds a palm frond. I tried to copy the original but discovered that you just can't hold a palm frond from behind like that. Go grab some palm fronds and try it - you'll see. Note that the goddess of victory only has one leg. On the original it is plump and cherubic and doesn't scale to anything like a human leg, so I took another selfie and carved my leg. It's not too bad.

The wings were fun to carve, with a lot on the foreground and a bit on the background. I once bought an Art Deco angel from an antique dealer, and he told me that he could charge an extra $200 for any statue with wings. So my carving must be worth at least $200.

Uploaded files:
  • Nike-Ephesus-with-Brian.jpg
  • Nike-final.JPG

Awesome work! Thanks for sharing!

So worm, greenman and this? I'd say each one is progressing nicely 🙂

Keep up the good work!

Thanks Mary. I've had a small set of tools, and have tried carving occasionally since before you were born. But your class really showed me how to do it right. I am keeping my eye out for a more advanced class that I can attend, and hope to see you again sometime.