act the fourth

so… if the first movement was to be huge strokes up and down, we counterbalance this with intricacy encircling the heaven-reaching tree, the eye to run round and round. if we retain the full circumference of the original piece, we show how big the piece originally was. balance this with a reduction to a light, floating circle, and we’ve got a nice contrast.

this succeeded, and now that it’s done, people may take a couple of beats to realise that it’s all one piece, from the living wood.

plain band band with cat

 up to this point, there has been an awful lot of architectural-style responsibility; the thing has to stand up, stand up straight, and the band has to be balanced. against the odds, and against expectation, so far so good.

now comes the fun bit (also the physically far easier bit).

working out the rhythm of the pattern, a chance to pay homage to a favourite reference point, a legacy from my cheery, alcoholic, depressive ancestors: the Norse…

homage to a reference point
Urnes church stave, Norway

whilst making it my own… a LOT of pencil sketching, searching the owl studio library for visual references – eye, wing, claw… erasing, sketching, the capacity to change one’s mind is far easier when it is graphite-on-paper rather than chisel-on-wood…

design laid out

design on wood 2

this all goes on for a while.

mark carving with design

translation took place, from paper to wood, enjoying the interlocking of elements, particularly enjoying the interactions with mark my fellow carver, constantly able to double-check a decision, a tool use, to say “what happened to that little chisel?”, “what’s that playing? is that a CD you brought along?”, “is it time for a tea break yet?”ad infinitum…

Mark’s patience was a revelation and an inspiration to me: the poor fellow’s heard every anecdote that i’ve ever spun at least once, and yet still has not bashed me with a mallet.

and so Time passed on.

once the rhythm of the piece was laid out, we were able to explore depth, getting the band as thin as possible so it floated above the tree form.

starting to carve

once the motif was laid out all the way around the band and married to itself, we were able to explore edge, contrast, undercut, overlap, allowing light and shadow to dramatise the forms.

light and shadow


“what do you think about this bit here?”

god, it was wonderful to have somebody to work with… carving is a physical sport. my friends who are illustrators, novelists… they have to sit there all by themselves… they’re better folk than i am, i have to stride around and bash things… cut myself with the tool, curse, my literal heart’s blood…

working with Mark

<— back to act the third

onward to act the fifth —>

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

our motto: it seemed like a good idea at the time

%d bloggers like this: