Sunday, April 21, 2013

For a Song...

Ryan Olsen's Barbershop Quartet
  In recent events the Caricature Carvers Of America have placed their recent creation up for sale and it's one that most have only caught a glimpse of.  The CCA's 1930's Street Scene has been put up for sale (building by building) some of which are already sold.  It's no surprise that the scene with Joe You's figures went first but that also was followed by a quick sale of Dave Stetson's "Under Construction" building.  As of this writing 3 of the 11 scenes have been sold.
  As done with previous projects these items will be the subject of another book published by Schiffer Publishing.  The scene will be placed on public display for the first and most likely only time at Dayton's Artistry in Wood show to be held in November.
  While I do not have the means to purchase a building I will procure a copy of the book.  In what I can view online the one set of figures that jumps out at me is the Barbershop Quartet shown above.  The quartet is from one of the organizations newest members Ryan Olsen hailing from the great potato state of Idaho.  This is one grouping I look forward to seeing in person.  Of course Joe You's contribution is one I always look forward to and he doesn't disappoint with his likeness of CCA legend Dave Dunham.  No matter whom I speak with Dave seems to have left a lasting impression and I would have liked to have met him.
  Other carvings of note in this collection were a couple of  "zoot-suited" gentlemen by messers Kaisersatt and Falin, fireman sliding down a pole by PJ Driscoll, a comical scene by Chris Hammack, and a paperboy by Mitch Cartledge.  Of course, there are many talented carvers who contributed and this review is based on the images posted by the CCA.  I am sure like all of the other scenes there are many quality items to discover.
  Also of note, the CCA has put the entire CCA Train up for sale for one price.  My hope is that it finds a nice home where it can be displayed to be enjoyed by all.
  Check out the CCA's website for more details.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

A promise is a promise...

Thread spool carving
  Well there I was luxuriating at the Renegade Roundup and admiring someones creativity when it hit me...I have to do this.  My friend CarverDale (Dale Kirkpatrick) who is known for his abilities to carve interesting subjects into everyday objects (golf balls, etc.) had been carving wooden thread spools.  The sight of these spools sent me on a trip back to my youth with my mom sitting at the green monster (Singer sewing machine) with a gas pedal.  That pedal was tempting as I just wanted to see it fly.  But as we were in a small dwelling you couldn't help but see the operation my mother used to carry out and I have to say it was neat to see her fill the bobbins,  that machine could fly.  Now as a son of a Steelworker and one of four children my parents had to make to which included repairing our clothes rather than the more disposable nature we have today.  With that said if I needed a repair my mom would send me off to grab her a spool of thread.  I must admit the wide array of colors made it all the more interesting and the fancy Coats & Clarks label is one I still remember fondly.
  So there was Dale carving one of these spools when my brain got the better of me (again...dang).  I of course couldn't help my overly curious nature and started asking questions.  For those that don't know me I have an extreme thirst for learning, especially when it comes to art.  So I did my best not to annoy the spool master and he was gracious enough to show me some of this creations (you can see more via his link on this page..).  With that I went back to luxuriating and whittling.
  Well the next day rolled around and as scheduled the evening activity was to commence...the trading blanket.  For those who have never participated before its where carvers sit in a circle around a blanket and take turns putting items up for trade while the others offer up goods or monies in attempt to consummate such a deal.  For the second year in a row I had been trying to divest myself of some #3 palm gouges that were gathering dust.  So there I was looking for any kind of deal and I placed my gouges out for bargain.  Well all of a sudden a whole Quaker Oats container was placed on the blanket as a trade, upon opening the container I was surprised to see a bucket load of spools.  Of course this was like throwing down a gauntlet and my curious nature got the best of me, so ignoring all other offers the deal was done.
  Unfortunately for me, the week went way too fast and it was time to say our goodbye's and scatter to the four winds.  In parting I made a promise to Dale that I would put up a blog post of my first spool creation and that's where we are today... the picture above represents my first attempt.  Having never carved on a spool I was surprised to see that they are somewhat hard.  During my attempt I and several of my carving friends tried to figure out what they are made of to no avail.  My best guess is that they were made of whatever serviceable wood was available.  I am not sure if all spools are made of the same wood, but I would have to believe there is some variety there.
  As you can see from the picture I was not the kid who colored inside the lines.  Carving within the spools boundaries posed a challenge, one that I failed on.  I am sure further attempts will result in better outcomes as I now have some understanding of these creatures.
  You might be saying...why would I want to carve a wooden spool?  I would say, why not?  If nothing else it opens your mind to creativity and the ridges on the spool force you to be aware of the grains direction (think 3-D) and adapt.  So if you happen to run into this opportunity give it a go, make sure your tools are sharp, and be prepared for a test.  If nothing else it will make you a better carver.
Now get out there and carve something!!