An impromptu photoshoot to show some rust treatment experiments with an iron-and-resin version of my mask sculpture, complete with an unexpected model.
A wax-carved sculptural ring, with deep deep wood grain and a gnarly knot-hole. This driftwood’s been washing about for a while, so it’s accumulated a few passengers, in the form of barnacles ranging from a tiny 1mm to 4mm across.
The band is broad and slopes smoothly up into the knot, ensuring it’s comfortable enough to wear all day without snagging. It’s an hefty size and with patina highlighting the detail, it really looks impressive, but at 17g it’s lightweight enough not to bother me (who doesn’t usually wear anything above 5g).
The ring can be worn in two ways – with or without the knot in the middle. The knot is conical, so it can be pushed into the knot-hole from behind and is held captive by the finger while the ring is worn.
This knot is where things get a little fancy though – it is hollowed out, and three barnacles conceal vent-holes to the inside. Insert a perfume-soaked cork, and you can enjoy a fragrance without it being unduly influenced by your skin chemistry, or just to avoid wearing it directly on your skin.
This is a bronze trial version, to test it and court interest before recreating it in sterling silver.
I adore the way that wrens flit from perch to perch, pausing for an instant with tail up and wings slightly lowered. They haven’t visited my garden recently, so I sculpted this bright little thing to watch over my workbench.
Although its base is slightly hollowed out to ensure a stable and secure seat, it weighs about 60 grammes so would make a perfect paperweight for a twitcher or gardener.
Hand-carved in wax then cast in solid bronze, with a satin or mirror finish.
Further progress on my indoor tree sculpture – testing out full-sized vellum leaves (with odd-coloured sheet), incorporating a more advanced balance mechanism, with branches constructed from foraged plastic sheeting. I think the proportions are off, but I’m very happy with the look of the leaves, with the pleating of the vellum nicely echoing the texture and transparency of real beech leaves. Next: tweaking proportions, testing addition of hinging to the branches.
I’ve made some progress on a background project that’s quite dear to my heart: a kinetic sculpture representing a beech branch with fresh new leaves. I’d developed some pleasingly fluttery leaf prototypes, but was struggling with how best to articulate the branches to replicate the way that a real tree sways in the breeze.
Given that my sculpture will be situated indoors, it will feel far lighter air currents than a free-range tree, so it must be correspondingly more sensitive. It must also grow up or down from a fixed point on a wall or ceiling, moving easily in the horizontal plane without drooping vertically.
My inspiration has come from a child’s toy – wooden or plastic snakes, with vertical hinges spaced along the body which let them wriggle freely from side-to-side when held up from the tail. These are often constructed using thread or fabric sandwiched between halves of the body, with cut-aways to allow sideways movement.
Irrespective of the angle of the branch, as long as the line of the joint is vertical, a branch will be balanced and able to swing freely. Smaller branches, down to the level of twigs, can be jointed on and articulated in the same way, and mounted at whatever angle suits. The range of motion of a particular branch is determined by thickness of material removed around its hinge.
This prototype is constructed from balsa wood and double-sided tape, using a ruler, set-square, craft knife, superglue, sandpaper, and a spare pair of hands.
The next stages will include larger-scale and higher complexity prototypes, as well as more materials tests.
These go way back! Last year(s) of high school and first year(s) of undergraduate…
The interlocking apples were a terrible double pun for a teacher who liked macs, the polar bear for one nicknamed ‘bear’. The woman and moon was one of my first sketches noodling with wood – I still haven’t done much in the way of figurative sculpture, except some small partial nudes in soapstone I hope to post soon.
Working on the ball in a cage precipitated the first conversation I had with the guys who became my best friends throughout my undergraduate :) Yes, the ball is free to move inside the cage. It’s actually carved from part of the main stem of a very old virginia creeper, which has a brilliant yellow colour when freshly cut.
The triple hearts were made using the same method as my double hearts, then by splitting one of the hearts in two with a saw!
I don’t think these were the first pair of carved hearts I made, but it was certainly a while ago. I had fun building in a twist to the hearts. Entirely hand-made, lovely little wooden hearts. I’m not sure of the wood, but it was probably something from the garden. I’m much better at these now, and use them as wedding presents and so on. If you’re attending some upcoming nuptuals, you can commission me to make some through the Etsy Shop here.
Back in 2008, I asked my brother and his fiancée what they’d like for a wedding present. Their response: a wall-mountable carving, subject: the moon, style: pacific north-west coast art, tone: peaceful and serene, suitable for a bedroom.
Rather a lot of sketching later, I had determined that the traditional images of the moon are all what I’d read as ‘angry’ or ‘unhappy’ in various ways, never serene. In the end I abandoned the idea of being faithful, and came up with a hybrid style. It only took me a month…
From a shipwright I obtained an offcut of deck planks: a large piece of iroko wood, a hardwood with lovely colour and glow but a very wavy grain. It had a split down the middle, but this enabled us to cut it into two pieces. Printing a photo of the wood really helped with ensuring that the design fit the wood well.
I did the carving with the wood clamped to a black’n’decker workmate in the livingroom, with an audience of parrots. I mostly used a broad gouge, with tricky bits being done with other chisels. I did like using the workmate, as the foot-plates mean you can hold the entire thing steady enough to push hard against, while being small enough to move all around.
It was rather tricky to get a decent finish, as the grain of the wood dives and leaps like porpoises – stop paying attention with a chisel, and suddenly you’ve torn out a huge chunk, ruining the effect you were trying to achieve. My gouges were the best way to work with this, allowing me to make rocking slices which scooped the material out – safer, but incredibly time-consuming. I believe that the carving took me two weeks, including pulling some very long days towards the end.
The carving is finished with richly coloured black and red wood stains, and is absolutely huge. Delivered on time – just!
I still have the second piece of wood… Perhaps I’ll do the Sun half one day…