Buttonwood Recarve and Style: part one

An artist is only as good as his tools. A finger-painting will still look like a finger-painting no matter how well executed (Of course, that’s the point of a finger-painting)
I think I carved this buttonwood at least 5 or 6 years ago. The only tools I had then were a chainsaw, an angle grinder with a chainsaw wheel, and some sanding discs.
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This was when I would go to Erik’s for a long weekend and carved three days in a row. He was still “en la isla” at the mango grove in Pine Island. And me being a city boy, it was the first time I had ever had a mango. These were fresh off the tree. To this day, I can’t eat a store bought mango, they are not ripe.
To excuse my shoddy work, this tree might have been carved towards the end of the day, me reeling from heat exhaustion and coughing up a lung from excessive sawdust. Maybe.
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The carving is not bad, I’ve seen worse on trees that have won awards. It’s just not good.
Besides the technique and lack of depth in the carving, I made several mistakes in carving against the grain.
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The next pic shows the grain in orange and my carving lines in red
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This pic shows the worst indiscretion
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It looks like someone defaced a Jackson Pollock painting with a random splash of house paint.
There are times in carving (as in life) when you need to go against the grain. Just be aware, as the wood ages, shrinks and cracks, it will follow the grain, and it may destroy whatever detail you might have carved into the tree.
My job is to try to rework what I did to this poor tree and make it look as though natural forces have worked on the wood and not me (ham handed carver I was).
The part I need to work most is the bottom of the carving.
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This is where, depending on you’re point of view, everything begins or ends.
Here’s a progression
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What I tried to do was create different levels of depth; whereas before it was just one level, with bumps.
Here are some body shots
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It didn’t take too long
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The next step will be rife with some hard decisions.
Send me some ideas as to how hard I should cut it back.
The tree has definite flaws that need to be hidden or removed.
Be ready for part 2 in a few days

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in redesign, refine, sculpture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Buttonwood Recarve and Style: part one

  1. Ruth Joslin says:

    U mentioned that u didn’t like how u had first styled the wood, going against the grain. Call me wacky but I liked that. It reminded me of the waves coming on the shore of Lake Michigan. And the patterns the water makes in the sand. So soothing

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