Thursday, February 12, 2015

Surprises When Whittling

I might have discussed this before, but I don't remember.  Even if I did, it needs to be discussed again.

When I first began to whittle and/or carve, I always envied those experienced carvers who could carve a piece exactly the same as the pattern.  I always kind of felt less of my work if it did not look just like the pattern, drawing, or illustration that I used as my "model".  In fact one of my early goals was to learn to be able to reproduce a carving exactly as the model looked.  I won't say that I have not met that goal.  However, I have discovered that I enjoy the journey of whittling so much more when I am surprised at the results.  Maybe I am just rationalizing that I like it better when I discover a slightly different, unplanned for, expression on Santa's face than what the "model" had.  I don't feel less about what I whittle/carve any more if my finished piece doesn't look exactly the same as my sketch.  When folks ask me to whittle several  Santa pins or ornaments the same, I tell them I cannot do that.  I tell them that each one will be unique, and that means that they will be different.  Some times I "smart off" and tell them that I'm not a 3-D copy machine.

I like best to start out whittling, with only a piece of wood sized to what I have in mind to whittle.  I may draw a few reference lines on the wood before I start, but that's about it.  Some times I'll scroll saw a blank, if the piece does not lend itself to a plain block or piece of wood as a starting point.

Whittling, to me, always will be a fun experience.  I will do anything to keep it a fun experience.  When I see someone refer to a carving/whittling as "work" I have a supressed laugh.  Work indeed!

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