Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting Your Style!

How does a newer woodcarver get their "style"? When I say "style" I mean what sets your carving apart from others. I think that if one were to place the finished carvings of most experienced and accomplished woodcarvers on a table for all to see, most could identify each carving to a specific carver. The carvings of Marv Kaisersatt, Pete LeClair, and Harley Refsal, have their own look or "style". So do the carvings of Lynn Doughty, Gene Messer, Harold Goodman, Mark Akers, and Mark Gargac. I think we all need to develop our own "style". This is where starts to get kinda tricky. You see a lot of new woodcarvers will start out copying someone elses "style". I think this is fine, especially when one is trying to learn how to makes cuts that result in the desired look. But, in all fairness, sooner or later the carver should stop copying. I say fairness to mean, fairness to both the newer carver and the one he/she is copying. Where this might get somewhat "tricky" is what about the carvers who just carve as a challenge, and keeps all of their carvings for themselves? I even think this carver is selling him or herself short. As soon as one stops imitating and copying, ones own style may come forward.


sludgeguy said...

I agree whole heartedly with Tom on this. I think you hide your own personality and the owner of the carving, be it a customer or a loved one, isn't getting all they should.
I believe the easiest way to wean yourself off of someone elses style is to do a truly original design. It is a matter of courage, but there is a tremendous secret too. If no one else knows what you are carving, it can't be carved "wrong". Because there is nothing to compare the carving to!!! Try it you will like it.
My 2 cents,

Tom H said...

I have to agree... when I was teaching.. (After trying to get folks to remove wood from the FLAT surface for a number of years..back in the '80s) I always stared the class off with a 12 inch long 1 1/4 inch square.. and we did "eyes nose and mouth" down the the two sides...tring to make each a little diffrent(eyes open/closed/smiling/ etc.
and then we would keep that as a study aid..
after that we would start on the real carving.
I still to this day recommmed to new carvers to use the cornor to start as we are all prone to LEAVE to much wood...
Will Hayden
and after you do a couple a hundred a year..for a number of years..YOU "WILL HAVE YOUR OWN STYLE".. My wife always says all my carvings look the same...My answer..."so does Harold Enlow's"

Tom H said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. Your comment Poped up under a different posting, so I transferred it to here. I am not too swift with the computer so it's not perfect.