Wednesday, December 3, 2008

LIFE Photo Archive Now Hosted by Google

Google has made the LIFE photo archive available for searching. They have information about the project here. Now when you go to images.google.com you can add "source:life" to your search to find images from the LIFE archive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Information on Iconography

Throughout history, artists have use images to tell a story or convey some meaning. The word iconography means "image writing." For a more in depth definition, see this article on iconography at Wikipedia.

Following are some sites I found that explain some of the meanings associated with artistic imagery:


I hope these help. Please let me know if you have some other lists that I may be helpful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

NTWG Six Flags Show

I ran across some pictures I took at the North Texas Woodcarvers Guild show at Six Flags mall about 9 years ago.

Paul Wellborn showing some very nice carving.

I also got a picture of Luise Duval with her display.

And (of course) Danny Reb with his carvings and carving supplies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Extensive Flickr Woodcarving Album

Doug send me this link to an extensive Flickr album of woodcarving photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ana_sudani/sets/72157594361473412/

Take some time to enjoy over 5000 woodcarving pictures.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Clamping Devices for Carving


Here are some of the devices that I use to secure wood while carving. First up is the end-mounted bench vise. A bench vise like this one is very useful for either directly clamping your work or for holding other clamping devices. Note the wooden jaw plates attached to this vise to prevent the metal jaws from marring the work.

This is a carving knee. This one is adjustable in the angle of the knee. Next to the carving knee is a long bolt with a tapered end that can be screwed into the bottom of a carving and the placed in the slot in the carving knee. A threaded handle is then used to tighten the carving to the knee.

Another device that can be used to attach carving to the knee is a piece of plywood with a carriage run through a counter sunk hole. the platform is then screwed to the carving.

This device is also clamped onto the knee using a threaded handle. This works particularly well with smaller carvings since you can use smaller screws and still get a good hold on the carving. Both of these devices used in conjunction with a carving knee give a tremendous range of angles to work with and are easy to adjust.

For relief carvings, I especially like an adjustable stand like the one above. It proves a good work surface with two handles to clamp the work and will tilt to any angle from horizontal to vertical. I came by this one around 20 years ago. I have not been able to find another like it. If you know of a good source for adjustable stands like this, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Carving a Bookmark

I recently carved a couple of bookmarks. I'd like to share some aspects of the process. These particular carvings were started away from my regular workbench. I used my small set of Flexcut tools in an old laptop bag. The carving surface is a clipboard with some grip pad on it. The bag does a fairly good job of holding the chips in.

Back at the regular workbench the carving is completed and the lettering is burned in.



The carving will be finished with a water based Minwax stain. First a pre-stain is applied.

After the pre-stain has dried for about 15 minutes, an "English Oak" colored stain is applied.

The stain is allowed to dry over night and then the piece is finished with a coat of Minwax Polycrylic. This will give it a nice hard finish with a nice sheen. I often like to finish with a coat of wax, but since this is intended to go between the pages of a book, I thought it best to forgo the wax.

And there you have it. The lighting in the photographs could be better, but I hope you get the idea.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Anthony Visco

I just finished looking at the artwork and reading the essays on Anthony Visco's website at www.anthonyvisco.org. His work is quite impressive and I think his essays could be the starting point for some interesting discussions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Proud Grandfather


The bust Bill is working on of his grand daughter is coming along very well. The best complement he received so far is that her parents recognized her in the carving right away. Good work Bill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Robert F. McGovern

Robert McGovern is an Emeritus Professor, University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA. He is a talented painter, print maker and sculptor. He has done extensive commission works throughout the United States as well as illustrating many books. I fund this artist's bio which has some images of his woodcarvings. Some more of his work can be seen at this exhibition page. I also read that he lectures on the concerns surrounding religious art in our times (which I feel is a very important subject for discussion.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Visual Aids for Last Supper Design

One of the students in my class thinking about carving a last supper. He thinking of carving this in the round rather than as a relief. With this in mind we discussed several ways to arrange the composition. I offered to find some images that might help with the creative process.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

FromOldBooks.org

I ran across fromoldbooks.org which is a site with thousands of high resolution images from old or rare books. Most of these images are now public domain. This should make one more useful reference site.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Jenny Ellerbe Sign Completed

Here is a photo of Ricky's finished sign for Jenny Ellerbe Photography. Good work Ricky.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Carving Class Photos

This week fellow woodcarver Floyd Brigdon came to visit our class. Here are some of the pictures he took of the usual crowd.




Here is Doug Oliver with a piece he is working on. You can see more of his work at http://www.texaswoodcarver.com/.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Small Wood Burning


Here is a small wood burning I recently did on the plain cross of a rosary. It is a simple pattern, but I think it has a nice effect.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Student's Carved Scroll Sign

Here is a carving that a student of mine is working on. It will be a
sign for Jenny Ellerbe.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tool Cabinet and Adjustable Light

This is the tool cabinet that I built to go above my workbench. An
adjustable lamp is mounted just above it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Leather Stamping Tools

A carver with leather working experience asked me if the background texturing tools used for leather can be used for wood. The answer is yes, but with a caveat.

I have used leather stamps on several carvings. It's hard to see in this picture, but the backgrounds in this carving are stamped with a leather working tool.

I use a teardrop shaped, cross-hatch stamp the most. Some stamps will not work very well - especially those with much detail. The stamps work by crushing and tearing the wood fibers. The torn wood fibers will remain torn, but the crushed ones will (to some degree) return to their original form. Therefore, stamps are best used for creating texture, but not for detail. Creating texture will also add color since it will reflect light and take finish differently.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carving Tools

People often ask me which carving tools I recommend. Generally speaking, for a traditional style of carving, I recommend full sized (sometimes called "professional sized") carving tools. These are usually close to 10 inches in length and are meant to be held with two hands or driven with a mallet.

The brands that I have used and found to be of good quality are Pfeil "Swiss Made", Ashley Iles, Stubai and Dastra.

Flexcut also make a good line of tools. They have full sized tools that are usually a little less expensive than the other brands listed above. Due to their design, I'm not sure you will get quite as long a useful tool life out of the Flexcut as the others. Before you think I have anything against Flexcut, consider that I measure tool life in decades. You can get a lot of good use out of Flexcut tools.

Flexcut also makes some carving tool sets that have interchangeable handles. Changing handles can be a pain for extended carving sessions at your workbench, but they can be great for a compact travel kit.

Having said all that, I primarily use a variety of Pfeil, Ashley Iles and Dastra full size tools. I also have a set of Flexcut interchangeable tools for when I need to travel light.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Welcome

Welcome to my woodcarving and art blog. This blog will be a supplement to my site: http://www.msdesigns.net.