..... But not as hard as breaking up!
This (lame) paraphrase of Neil Sedaka's 1962 hit, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do", is sure to stir memories among most of my fellow 'geezers". For me, it makes this point; it's been a very long time since I last reached out to you all - too long for me to cover all that's happened in the meantime, so I won't try. But here are some "bullet points" (to be followed, in a week or so, by expanded information and topics:
- Chip Carving, in the Southeastern US at least, seems to be growing rapidly in terms of interest among woodcarvers and in the quality of work being done. It seems that more classes are being offered than ever!
- The Art of Woodcarving was given an impressive introduction to art lovers and supporters in and around Winston-Salem, NC, by way of an impressive gallery presentation on Woodcarving, hosted by the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston, NC. Six woodcarvers participated in the Show that ran for about seven weeks. The Gallery was beautifully designed to display about 60 carvings.
- I completed a couple of new Ready-to-Carve designs and have posted photos and descriptions of the "blanks" as well as completed pieces, on my website at: http://www.carolinamountainreefs.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html- Ready-to-Carve. Please take a look and let me know what you think.
- The Woodcarving community's Fall Season of Shows and Competitions was busy and rewarding. The highlight for me was having the Chip Carved Bald Eagle, commissioned by my good friend Rollin Stickle (who showed more patience than anyone could ever expect), receive Best of Show honors in three out of four Shows entered. Thank you for your trust and your foresight, Rollin! What's next?
- New Chip Carving Classes have been scheduled to take place over the coming months. The Ready-to-Carve pieces shown below will be the projects. Please contact me directly for more details if you have an interest in taking a class.
In the spirit of brevity, here are the basics in chronological order. I'll have more details posted on my website shortly. Sample photos below:
* May 5-6, 2018; Novice/Beginner @ Klingspor's Woodworking Shop, Fletcher (Asheville Area), NC. Four-Seasons Trivet
* June 21-23, 2018 (2.5 days); Intermd/Adv @ Charlotte Wood Carvers Club, Charlotte, NC. Tall Desk Clock or 10" Sampler Plate (student's choice)
* June 29, 30 & July 1, 2018 (2.5 days); Intermd/Adv @ Klingspor's Woodworking Shop, Fletcher (Asheville Area), NC. Tall Desk Clock or 10" Sampler Plate (student's choice)
* November 9-10, 2018; Novice/Beginner @ Sawtooth School for Visual Art, Winston, NC. Four-Seasons Trivet
Woodcarving Shows and Competitions
It's Fall, so it must be time for Woodcarving Shows! I'll be participating in three of them in October and November. Coming up soon, this coming weekend in fact, is the 36th Annual Artistry in Wood Show held at the Roberts Centre near Wilmington, OH on October 14 & 15. This show is organized by The Dayton Carvers Guild as a celebration of wood carving and woodworking art. It's believed to be the largest show of its kind in the U.S.. For the last several years attendance has broken 5,000. In 2015 there were over 225 exhibitors and vendors. These exhibitors come from almost half the states in our country and from Canada. It's also consider to be among the most competitive shows in the US.
Following shortly after will be the Western North Carolina Woodcarver's Club Show held in the beautiful Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC, October 28 & 29. Visitors to the home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild are always pleased to see the wide variety of carvings presented by the Club's members.
Finally (for me) this year is the Piedmont Woodcarvers Club's 30th Annual "Designs and Sculptures in Wood" Show will be held in Simpsonville, SC November 18 & 19 at the Simpsonville Activity and Senior Center - a beautiful facility and perfect place for a woodcarving show.
Each of these shows would be well worth your time and interest if you are able to attend.
That question will be answered in more detail at the three woodcarving shows described above. One thing is both old and new - old in that I worked on it over a period of about 18 months, but new in that it is complete and I was honored to deliver it to a good friend and local art collector just a couple of weeks ago. Professional photographs have not been taken yet, but you can see a less professional sneak peak below. The Bald Eagle is carved to about 1/4 scale with a wingspan of approximately 21". Although it's seen here on a table-top stand for viewing, it now lives on my friends wall, along with a variety of Bald Eagle memorabilia.
The other news that's not so new to many of you is the completion of the first four items in our "Ready-to-Carve" (sometimes "RtoC") product line. Original patterns are printed directly on basswood blanks to be carved. The 10" basswood Plate with Optical Illusion pattern, the new 6" x 7" x 3/8" "Greenman '17" basswood plaque, and two options in 4" x 12" x 3/8" study boards, each printed on two sides (one with 4mm grid for designing and testing new patterns, and the other with common practice patterns overlaying the 4mm grid) are available for purchase on my website www.CarolinaMountainReefs.com, and will also be at the upcoming Fall Shows.
Next Chip Carving News will include a number of pictures and stories from some of the amazingly talented people who I've been blessed to teach and encourage over the past few years.
Beginner Level Chip Carving Class - July 15-16, 2017
A new Chip Carving Class, designed for beginners or those who want to "brush up" on fundamental skills, will take place at the Klingspor Woodworking Shop in Fletcher, NC (close to the Asheville Regional Airport). Registration is still open and there are 3 spaces remaining as of today. For details on the class, dates and times, and location of the class, please click on the News/Blog link at the top of this page.
Shows and Events
Artistry in Wood, Wilmington, OH (near Cincinnati), October 14-15, 2017
- This is the largest gathering of woodcarvers in the United States.
- The talent displayed by the several hundred woodcarvers who travel from all corners of the US to participate, is mind boggling.
- Hundreds (maybe thousands) of non-woodcarvers attend annually as well. They come to enjoy the beauty and diversity of artist talent. Some come to purchase woodcarvings for gifts and their own collections.
- Booth numbers are not been assigned ahead of time, but if you can make it, please ask at the front desk and come by to say hello.
- I'll have a couple of pieces entered in competition and many more available for purchase.
- Woodcarvers will also be interested in some new and unique products I've developed over the past couple of years.
Thank you to all of those who have already purchased the Ready-to-Carve 3D Illusion Pattern/Plate. I have plenty of the pre-printed plates in stock for those who may be thinking about it. I did have one question about "erasing the lines" once the carving is complete, prior to applying any finish. The answer is, the Tombow "Sanded Erasers" that are frequently used by chip carvers to remove pencil marks, also work on the pre-printed patterns. Also, since there are no sharp ridges in this pattern to maintain, you can VERY LIGHTLY sand (with sandpaper) if you run into a stubborn area. I would not start with anything more coarse than 220 grit - preferably use 320 or 400 grit.
The second and third items in the Ready-to-Carve line are Practice Boards. Photos and full descriptions will be posted soon, but here are the quick descriptions:
1) 4" x 12" x 3/8" Basswood board with pre-printed 4mm grid both sides of each board.
2) 4" x 12" x 3/8" Basswood board with pre-printed 4mm grid with border designs, free-form designs, rosettes, lettering, and other patterns commonly taught in Beginner & Intermediate level classes. The grid and patterns are printed on both sides of each board, as well.
3) Coming soon .................. well, I think I'll keep you wondering until the next Chip Carving News arrives.
As always, please feel free to use the Contact option in the menu above, or call me at 828-226-6040 with question, comments, and suggestions. Thank you!!
This Post includes the following stories:
- Ready to Carve
- New Chip Carving Classes Scheduled
- Chip Carving Sea Turtles
Ready-to-Carve; As promised in earlier posts, a new item was officially added to the Carolina Mountain Reefs online store today, also launching a new product line specifically designed for Chip Carvers.
The item; 3D “spherical Illusion” pattern professionally printed on a 10" Flat, Plain Edge Basswood Plate.
The Product Line; “Ready-to-Carve” project items for Chip Carvers who want (or need) to skip the layout work and dive right into carving. will increase in number over time, initially focusing on unique patterns printed on flat basswood stock. As interest and capabilities increase, so will the line of products.
Cost: Based on the current cost of printing, items in the “Ready-to-Carve” line will be quite cost effective. For example, my charge for the same design drawn by hand (the “old-fashioned way”) on a 10” basswood plate was $ 37.25 plus tax and shipping. I’m now able to offer it for $ 23.25 plus tax and shipping. That’s more than a 30% cost reduction.
Limitations; Some limitations will affect the items offered. At this time, the physical size of the basswood item is limited to about 10-1/2” in width and length, and about 2” in depth.
Gearing up for Classes!
I'm excited about finally getting two classes planned and scheduled following a few months of travel to Shows and a pretty significant (and lengthy) home remodeling project. Both classes will take place at the Klingspor Woodworking Shop near the Asheville, NC Regional Airport. Click on "Classes" in the navigational menu at the top of this page for the essential information (dates, times, chip carving project, etc.). You'll also find a link to the details for the July 2017 class there. Once the class project for the September 2017 class is decided on, details will be posted in the same location. Additional classes are being discussed for the rest of 2017 and early 2018 in various locations.
Interested in Chip Carving a Sea Turtle?
I've had numerous requests for an class on embellishing the surfaces of a Sea Turtle with chip carved designs and motifs. If you're seriously interested, please let me know.
Following the appearance of the "Chip Carved 3D Illusion" article in Woodcarving Illustrated (WCI) this Spring, I received requests for a pattern from several people who didn't feel they could do the drawing and compass work or were uninterested in doing it. They did want to do the carving.
I'll admit it, I was disappointed at first, thinking perhaps the directions weren't made clear enough. Most people recognize that a Publisher's most precious commodity is editorial space. For that reason, directions sometimes need to be condensed and photos consolidated. In my experience the WCI editors were diligent about keeping the article clear and informative. They also provided me with multiple opportunities for review. In fact, they felt strongly enough about clarity to increase the number of pages devoted to the article. So any lack of clarity is mine to bear. That said, if you have given it a fair try and are confused in any way over the information provided, please contact me directly. I'll spend as much time with you as needed to clarify instructions and answer questions.
It seems however, that the actual pencil and compass work was the problem among those who requested a pattern. This is something I hadn't anticipated, but completely understand and respect! It's easy to see how dexterity, eyesight, lighting, time available, and many other factors could contribute to frustration - especially given the precision required in this particular project. The first 2 or 3 requests for a pattern struck me as the perfect "jump from the fire into the frying pan" analogy. Many people are successful and happy with graphite paper (aka transfer paper) to transfer a pattern onto the wood to be carved. I use it at times too. But I don't like it on large or complex designs that require precise measurements, stationary patterns, a very steady hand, and X-ray vision to know, at all times, that the pattern is still perfectly aligned with what has been drawn so far. Okay, I was kidding about the X-ray vision - but not the rest. I could go on, but suffice it to say, I've always preferred to draw, with pencil, ruler, and compass, directly onto the wood to be carved. The heat, or more dangerous chemical, transfer methods might work better than transfer paper, but I'm skeptical when it comes to this particular array of lines, vectors, and circles.
So what's the answer? I'm working on a unique way to provide those who are interested, with a "Ready-to-Carve" solution. If you want a sneak peek, you can click on "Store" in the menu bar at the top of this page, then scroll to the bottom row and click on the "10" Basswood Plate with 3D Illusion Pattern - Ready to Carve". By next week, I'll know if the new approach to this solution will be even better .... and perhaps less expensive!
Your Feedback Please!
One last thing. If you're receiving this Blog but found yourself uninterested in this particular topic, please know that I'll still include information about upcoming Shows, new carving underway or completed, classes being offered, etc.. Please let me know what I can do to make each post of more interest to you.
Welcome to the new "CHIP CARVING NEWS"!
This Blog is an example of how age affects attitude. I've been known to say, "I'll never ________" (fill in the blank) a few times over the past several decades .... okay, many times! One of them has been, "I'll never write a Blog". Yet, here I am, writing a Blog! Why? I caved-in for a few reasons, but mostly because it's easier! I often feel the need to communicate with friends and colleagues about something I've learned or done that might be of interest, but hadn't found the right vehicle for doing so. Yes, I have used "Chip Carving News" in a traditional newsletter format in the past to do much the same thing. But honestly, I find it difficult to get started. The publishing tools (layout, fonts, etc.) are tedious and sometimes finicky - i.e., time consuming! I find myself spending far more time fooling with the publishing tools (fonts, spacing, footers, headers, pages breaks etc.) than I do writing the text. My hope is that this Blog will serve the same purpose while making it easy for you to respond, ask questions, and make suggestions. In other words, I hope it will provide a better forum for sharing information and ideas. As always I welcome your feedback.
p.s., Please click on the "Comment" link below if you'd like to respond.