As I mentioned in the last post, I have been wanting to do some carvings in relief. For my first one, I decided to use this recent sketch I had done as a potential design for a drypoint ( and I still might use it for that too!).
Cutting a piece of that nice wide poplar board to use for the relief carving...
Taking the warp out of the board, and cleaning up the surfaces on my joiner/planer.
The next step is transferring the enlarged design (which I have changed a bit from the original sketch) to the board. I do this by going over the lines with a pounce wheel, which is shown in the photo. The four little circles you see mark the locations of the lag screw which attach the board from the back to the carving stand base plate. I chose those locations as the wood will remain fairly thick in those places, with little danger of carving down to the screw.
Now the carving has begun. Initially, I just carve the background areas down, leaving the figures at full thickness.
Then I begin rounding the forms in the figures.
The challenge in carving relief is in making the figures appear to be in the round...Here I have just started. We shall see as the carving progresses...
I have been feeling like I want to try doing more carved reliefs. I'm thinking maybe larger, but a little looser, and perhaps painted. Not wanting to use my cherry stock for this, Akemi and I recently took a little trip down to a wood dealer near Portland to see what they might have. There, I selected a few nice wide 8/4 poplar boards, and one really nice 16/4 board. Upon our return, I straightened up my carving wood stock in preparation for the delivery of my new wood....
And this afternoon, the delivery truck arrived with my wood! Here you see my beautiful new boards added to the pile. Now...to work on the design for my first relief!
This past Saturday was the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine's annual HOPE Festival. The theme of this year's festival was "Art and Social Change". This sounded good to me...and I was able to participate by showing anyone interested how to make a drypoint print. After scratching their own drawing onto a prepared plexiglass plate, I would take them through the printing process (I brought in my small but wonderfully portable old Blick etching press), and in the end, they would walk away with their own freshly printed drypoint print, and plexi plate. Before the festival I had worried a bit that maybe not many people would dare to try...but after Mary Karensdaughter (pictured above) from the P&J Center gave it a try, I had no chance to rest (or eat lunch), as folks enthusiastically followed Kaen's lead and took the drypoint plunge!
Here are just a few of those who took that plunge, with their finished creations... At the end of the festival, I was tired, but very satisfied.