Sunday, August 15, 2010

Laura's turn!

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Well, when the spoon arrived in the mail, my husband and I were on our way out. So, naturally, my husband said, "Well? let's open it up!" So, we carefully cut tape and removed layers and layers of bubble wrap, to arrive at this lovely spoon. I held it in my hands, and we both admired Dave's carving for a few minutes, and then we went on our way, only a little behind schedule. :)

One of the things about the spoon, with its lovely gentle arc near the bowls, and its convex back, setting it on a flat surface would leave it vulnerable to breaking with any pressure placed on its front... pressure like, oh, I don't know... carving? So, I got out a piece of squishy cloth, folded up, and placed it underneath for support and stability. I'll use that fabric any time I'm carving it on a table. Now that I see the spoon, it is bigger than most of my spoons have been, but it's not SO big. I can carve at a small portable table I have. My workbench still isn't finished, and it looks like I won't need it, after all. My dogs will be happy that I will stay in the room with them.

But I digress.... For the first day or so, I was studying the spoon, trying to figure out any challenges and such. What is the major immediate challenge? Where to begin! Seeing as how I'd never worked on a spoon that someone else had already partially completed, I was a little intimidated about beginning. I decided to take the harmless approach, and start by drawing out my lines on the back of the spoon. After about another day, my longing to see how the wood carves kicked in, and I began carving grooves along all the lines on the front, and beginning to remove the paper wherever I could. . That's how I generally start - the grooves acting like stop cuts so I don't accidentally chip the wood with my shallow cuts. Then, I start with shallow carving of depth, much like Dave. But, again - where to start?! I usually start with parts that intimidate me more. In this case, there are probably two main parts that fit that description: the eagle, and Dave's knotwork. I kind of like knotwork, though, so that's where I started. And, incidentally, I am in love with this birch! It does have a buttery feel, just as Dave promised, but it is still strong, and not brittle. It reminds me of the first piece of cherry I carved (which was much softer than the last piece of cherry I carved!) Again, I digress.... so, I started with shallow cuts in the knotwork, and then went a little deeper, and moved along to the vines and other parts of the spoon.

Then, eventually, I got brave, and began to attack the eagle. One thing that will be especially challenging about the eagle is showing enough depth to make it look like the eagle is wrapped around the upper right part of the spoon, without actually being carved in the round. I usually carve more "in the round", but in this case, that would have resulted in a very heavy eagle perched upon the spoon, which wouldn't feel right at all. Instead, I will be carving the eagle in shallow relief - suggesting depth where there isn't really much depth. Just like everything else, though, I start with very shallow cuts. There's a lot of depth to show in quite a small amount of wood, so I'm especially careful to work on all parts of it, just a little at a time. There's very little margin for error on this eagle, more than any other part I'm doing. You can't see much in these pictures, since I'm still keeping a little on the shallow side, but hopefully you can see it starting to take shape.

Well, that's as far as I am after my first few days with the spoon. I suspect I work at a bit slower speed than Dave, so progress may be harder to see. I hope you're able to see it taking shape, though! As the weeks go by, the Left Coast Eisteddfod is nearing! Remember, each dollar donated can equal a chance at winning the spoon!

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