Legacy, skill, creativity…

We are almost into the New Year and this is traditionally the time when people try and sum up the year behind, and look with expectation to the year ahead. This has been a year of great change and challenge for me. To take stock I looked back, beyond just the last 12 months, and looked around me today so that I can plan into the future. This one is much bigger than just woodworking.
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Concept sketches and lettering attempts for what would become a parting present for a colleague and friend.

I think of my family and ask myself, what have I invested here? Will it pay off? Difficult questions to answer, and all too easy to feel inadequate as a parent. Too many hopes and wishes, and not enough tangible stuff. We invest time, effort, love and care and it usually does pay off, but how will your kids remember you? What part of who you are will still live on when you’re not around anymore? If I am not here tomorrow, what would my legacy be?
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The resulting carving that grew from the preliminary drawings above, and from the direction my gouges and hands took those first ideas in. This has been the year I decided carving was not beyond me and as always I found I have so much to learn…

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VIKING CHEST FOR A CHILD: CARVING THE LID (PART 2)

I’m back to the carving on the lid of the Viking chest. After wasting away most of the ‘negative space’ material from the background, time to do some further shaping and to put some detail in.

 

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Suckers. This is small scale repetitive work and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do here, really, so I tried a couple of approaches on a section. I forgot I wanted some suckers on a section where they face directly up and I hadn’t left enough wood for them. Worked around that ok, not ideal. At least by the time I got to do further arms I worked out a sequence to simplify this part of the work.

 

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The main thing I try and accomplish is something with good balance and proportions that doesn’t look mechanical.

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Viking chest for a child: carving the lid (Part 1)

I started carving the lid for a wee chest I have made. I made the chest in oak but, although I punish myself regularly, the carving will get done in black walnut, a very agreeable species to carve. I had a few unusually clear boards to chose from which helped as well.

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First, the underside gets a lightly scalloped and textured surface with the edges left intact.

 

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On the top, spray adhesive gets a photocopy of the carving design stuck onto the surface so that I can carve through the paper. You can’t see the grain this way but it’s quicker than drawing it all again. I just letter in the recipient’s name.

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