Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bark tree spirit and pumpkin ash cane

Here are a couple of carvings I finished this week. I also completed a shaft for a sword cane handle (for my neighbor).  I have been wanting to carve bark for a while but never got around to purchasing any. I found this cottonwood bark in downtown North Little Rock and got a few pieces to try. It is not as large or as thick as the cottonwood bark that you can get from other parts of the US. This is from the smallest piece, somewhat as an experiment, to see how it carved. I washed and wire-brushed the bark, and then cut off an area to reveal the inner reddish color. This stuff cuts very easily, but a sharp knife and care is needed to keep it from crumbling or flaking. Very fragile to carve, and difficult for me to detail, but it is so quick to carve! This is a tree spirit that took maybe 4 hours?

The handle on this cane is based on a tracing from the sword cane I repaired. It has a nice comfortable feel and I added a wood-burned Celtic knot. The wood is ash and the guy that gave it to me said it was "pumpkin" ash. He said it was used a lot in making guitars. I like the natural color and graining of it. The shaft is a skinny piec of Crape Myrtle. I have been making some slightly taller, skinnier canes. They are very light to carry.
Thanks for looking! (more pictures in link to my gallery at the left)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Illustrated Man

One of my favorite books when I was in high school was "The Illustrated Man", a collection of science-fiction short stories by Ray Bradbury. I loved the book, but the cover showed a bald tattooed man from the back, sitting in a lotus position. His tattoos would come to life at night, illustrating various stories and .... the future! So I have admired tatoos for sometime and even aquired one as a souvenir of my Navy career. I have been wanting to carve something like this for a while, inspired by the book, Maori tribal tattoos, and various woad designs. Not sure if he is a wizard or an old warrior, but he has a certain air about him (my wife says he is a little too realistic for her to look at very long). I did some turning on the spacer and the shaft is bamboo that has been heat-tempered. Thanks for looking!