Friday, December 30, 2011

Wood Spirit Tutorial

Happy Holidays to all! I have been busy re-organizing my shop to make room for new tools and hopefully be more effective in how I work (yeah, right!). I've did a little tutorial on carving wood spirits that can be found here. I have also started a FaceBook page! Search for Mike Pounders' Woodcarving or try this link
. I am  currently working on a carving for a toy contest that needs to be completed by the end of January.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Small stuff for Christmas

Since I have completed all my major holiday committments, I have just been working on fun things! I am getting some parts for Christmas to re-model my power honer, so I have been cutting out some disks and doing some glue-ups to prepare for that. I plan to make the full 4 disk Burke style sharpener and I hope to use the existing motor I have, but it may not have enough power. I carved this small angel from a Shawn Cipa pattern for a lady at church and will do a larger version as a tree topper for my daughter. I like Shawn’s work and plan to do some other pieces based on his patterns.

I have a friend who is interested in carving, so I have been showing him a few things. I started with the Santa ornament tutorial I previously posted and then did this little woodspirit on a stick to show him how similar it is to a Santa. I may do a little tutorial on carving woodpirits if anyone might be interested?

I learned a few things carving so many Santas over the past month and I am hoping that more practice will help with some of my female and doll faces. I am trying this one as a cane topper, but still have a little bit more work to do.

I have also been working with Sculpey clay as a way to test ideas and refine models before carving. It has been a learning process for me, but I can mess with it in spare time at work without creating a huge mess!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Happiness is a Warm Puppy"

I did a snow man with a snow-dog last year that my daughter snagged before I could sell it, so I am hoping these guys will do well at a holiday bazaar this weekend. The guy in the green jacket is about 7 inches tall and the other is about three inches tall. The small one is similar to the one I did last year. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A little more Santa

Here is a small Santa that is based on a design by Mike Shipley. Even using his knives, I still haven't quite managed the flat plane style of carving, but I still liked the design and simplicity of the piece. I shrunk it down a bit and did some cry-brush painting and such on the fur trim and other changes I made. My wifey likes him!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Plate

I've been quite busy the past few weeks. I presented a carving program at the las t carving club meeting, based on the tutorial for carving a Santa ornament that I did for the Lumberjocks web site. ANd I am trying to get a lot of stuff ready for the holiday bazaar at my church. I decided to try one of these plates. It combines intaglio and sunken-relief carving techniques and is based on a design in a WCI holiday magazine from a year or two back. Thanks for looking and Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Twilight" Santas

He prefers to move around at night, flys through the air, and is very fond of the color red…...could Santa be a vampire? Probably not, but IF he was, he might look like this! The “Twilight” series of books and movies about vampires and werewolves have some fanatical followers. I made several of these ornaments last year, including one for my boss, Vicki, and they were snapped up pretty quick. I figured if people were fanatical enough to stay up all night to see the movie premieres, they would probably love just about anything with long pointy teeth! I also took a shot at making some earrings, modeled by my lovely daughter Ashley. They looked good enough that Ashley has already snatched both pairs, but I’m not sure if I’ll make more. They’re kinda small to carve and it’s a pain to haver to make them match! We’ll see, since I have plenty of extra hardware.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Carve a Santa Ornament

Here's a link to a tutorial I did on carving an ornament. This is my version of the "no-see-um" style of carvings by Don Worley and is a really simple version to carve, if you are interested in learning to carve. Thanks for looking and any comments or advise on the tutorial would be appreciated! Like, is it too long? too short? not enough info? hard to uinderstand?

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Whiskey for my Elves...and beer for my rain-deer!"

I've been working on a lot of ornaments for the holiday season and this song by Toby Keith/Willie Nelson came to my mind when I had all these guys lined up. They looked they were in a rowdy and happy mood! No two  ornaments are the same, but I am hoping they make people smile...and reach for their wallets! Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Behind Blue Eyes" finished

I seem to have a habit of naming my carvings of ladies after songs and I’m not sure exactly why. My music tastes are random and I can’t sing or play an instrument. Maybe carving is how I sing, how I try to provoke a feeling or emotion in an audience? I don’t really start a carving with the intention of creating a particular look or appearance; I just start the basic shape of a head and different features and try to get the right shapes and placement blocked out, more of an exercise in form than in art. But, at some point, the nose or shape of the mouth or some element starts to take shape in a way that seems to grab me, that inspires the rest of the piece. I get drawn in trying to figure out how to correctly shape the beauty that I discover almost accidently. And as I work, a song or title will just come to me and the more I think about the song, the more something about it seems to fit the carving. I am not sure who this is or what she sees or what she may be thinking about. Maybe she hears the song that I hear? Thanks for looking!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Eye brows and stuff

It took a bit, but I think I finally have the eye brows like I want them. I carefully drew them out and measured and researched them and did a bunch of thinks before I started cutting wood. I used a really small v gouge and carefully cut them in, making sure the hairs pointed properly. And I didn’t like it….didn’t look right, was too dark. So I tried my bristle sander and several other things to fix it up. I finally took knife in hand and cut them off and started over. I had to reshape the brows and sockets and one eye lid and get them evened out before trying again. This time, I used a small ball stylus (used for embossing metal) and did the eye brows with that. With a little force, it leaves a shape like a tiny u gouge and gives just the amount of shadow I was wanting. I like it now!

I cut the cherry block down for the base and shaped the bottom area of the carving to see how it looks. Nothing is glued down at this point, in case I want to change something. I’ll look at it some more and sand it a little better before thinking about finishes. The cherry will really look good when I hit with some oil. Thanks for looking!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

More progress

Still working away on this, but I try to go slowly at times to make sure I see things that need to be changed. I sometimes rush through things and don’t always pick up on mistakes until after they are finished and sitting on a shelf. Some people recommend looking at your work in a mirror to help pick up on problem areas, but I often see things in photos of my work that I don’t always see when holding it in my hand. So I am trying to correct a few details. Someone may have mentioned it a previous post, or you may have noticed, that the young lady has no eyebrows! I have lightly drawn them in and want to make sure I have them properly placed and symmetrical. I am still researching eye brows…. who knew that you can buy little templates to assist you in evenly shaping your brows! I may make one to make sure these match, but I’ll try measuring first. I am not sure if it is my camera angle or what, but in some photos, the nose looks really wide and in others, not so much. So I have tried reducing the wings of the nostrils a bit. What do you think?

If you look at the right side of the face in previous blog entries, you may have noticed that her hair appears to be growing directly out from her face, a highly unusual phenomenon. So I have moved the hair back to make the forehead more even on that side and to expose a bit of the ear on that side. This looks a bit more natural for the hair growth. I still need to work some more on the hair under the ear on that side to make sure it looks like it is coming from where it really



And here is the other side with a few changes. It still looks much the same despite all the changes on the other side. Overall, it seems more balanced now, but hopefully with the same feel as before.

I started looking through my wood to try and figure out something for a base. I tried this tall piece of cherry, thinking that the longer shape might add a sense of a tall slender figure. Too tall maybe? (according to my wife) What do you guys think? Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Behind Blue Eyes progress

I have spent most of the week working on the hair and deciding how I wanted to do the eyes. I had carved in the main shapes of the hair starting with larger #11 u gouges and working down to smaller sizes, with a few v tool and knife cuts thrown in. You want the hair to flow correctly and part of that is remembering where the hair grows on the head. It just doesn’t look right if you show it growing in front of the ears or sideways out from the neck! I like to make hair look softer, by sanding a lot of sharp angles away. It is similar in some ways to the flowing shapes you see in Andy’s boxes.

Some carvers are adamantly opposed to sanding their work, but I like the way certain parts, like faces and hair, look when sanded. Only my tastes and preference though! I used small drum sanders, bristle sanders, cone sanders, and hand sanding to make the hair look less like individual clumps and more of a flowing mass. I may a do a blog entry on the 5 or six different types of sanders I used, if any one is interested. Once I got the hair more like I wanted it, I started cutting in the eyes. I used a compass to measure from the center line of the nose to make sure I had the center of each I exactly the same, then I used the compass to draw the pupil using that center point. This kept the eyes located symmetrically and of equal size, which can be difficult to achieve, at least for me, without measuring.

I normally carve and undercut the entire pupil and then carve a deeper center hole for the iris. This creates good shadows and a dramatic eye, but I wanted to do these a little different. I wanted to make the eyes appear lighter, to give the impression of being blue, and I wanted to try and add highlights to the irises.

There are different methods of doing this, but basically you want to leave a bit of wood that indicates light reflecting off the eye. It is easy for me to mess this up, by cutting off too much, but I gave it a go using this method and it looke pretty good to me! I have more sanding to do and I am now thinking about how to do the bottom of the piece and how to do a base that will complement it. Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stout Little Santa

Just got his one finished. He is based on a design by Jim McGuire with some changes of my own. I think he is a happy looking little fellow!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Behind Blue Eyes"

Here is what I started and worked on the past week at War Eagle, in the class taught by Adina Huckins. I think I am making some progress and I am pleased with how this one is turning out. I also did several smaller heads and I think I am finally getting some of the facial planes in properly. I sent photos of this back to my family and several people noticed some resemblance to my daughter, who is a blue-eyed blond. Hence the title ( I’m also a fan of the Who!”. More to come and I plan also to post pictures of others and their work at the seminar. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Santa Time

I'm trying to replenish my stock of inexpensive carvings sold and used as gifts for Christmas, so I am trying to do one or more Santas per week. I usually spend 4-5 hours on each, but it really depends on what I am trying. There isn't a lot of money in it for me, but I enjoy doing them and people like getting them as gifts or as gifts for others. I get to practice and try out different things with these guys.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"On the cover of the Rolling Stone!"

Well, not exactly the cover. And not exactly the Rolling Stone. But I got a "Top Tip" full page article in the Fall 2011 WoodCarving Illustrated magazine for my work positioner plans! Even has my little snow man on it. Cool!
Here is a link to the plans and photos. Work Positioner

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting ready for Christmas

It’s that time of the year where I really get busy with my carving! I finished the birdhouse contest entry and worked on some twisted crosses. I had company this past week for my daughter’s wedding and just needed small stuff to fill in some time. I sold my last Santa ornament and gave away three canes and an elf as gifts to different relatives, so I need to get stocked back up for Christmas! This is just a skinny Santa ornament that I made up as I carved it. I like just carving freestyle, simple things like this and they sell OK too. The carving club starts meeting again in September and I’m going to a carving seminar also in September. Starting to get busy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Birdhouse completed!

I'm not sure if I have a chance in the contest, but I am proud that I got everything I wanted completed!
Here are all the pictures.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Front completed, carving the roof

I'm working feverishly to get this finished and submitted before 3pm Sunday. I have the front all finished and the walls are all assembled. I am now carving the roof with an oak leaf pattern. I like the way it is looking and hopefully I'll get it completed!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dragon completed

I got the dragon motif for the back all carved and burned.....working on the front now.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Birdhouse progress

Here is the progress so far. I completed the carving on all the sides, deciding on a neat winged dragon design for the back of the bird house (may help keep squirrels away). I received a couple of sample copies of a European carving magazine that had this neat design. It was originally a  deep relief, pierced design, but I changed it up a bit for my bird house, with the wood burning and a more bird-like appearance for the dragon. Still some more detail burning to do and I have still haven't decided if it will need any color, like on the flowers. I have both sides burned and will complete the burning on this, before starting on the front. My thought is that this will get me limbered up, so to speak, and plenty of practice as I build up to doing the front piece that will be seen the most.

When I have all the sides burned, I plan to assemble those pieces, which will let me fit the roof and bottom. This is so that I will be able to present something as an entry, even if I run out of time for the contest! I will at least have a bird house with a plain roof, rather than the carved roof. But so far, I appear to be on schedule to get it finished like I want. I have had a lot of time to think about the roof I want to carve, and I think I can still beat the deadline! Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bird House

I'm working on a carved bird house for a contest that ends this month. I wasn't sure if I wanted to enter or what my design would be until I finally come up with something on July 4th. So now the pressure is on to get it completed like I want and to get it entered. I wanted to use a simple design and simple materials, in keeping with a traditional birdhouse. But I wanted to use carving to elevate it from something humble, to something more artistic. So I used some pine left over from some drawers I built for a dresser and started doing some simple relief patterns on it. This is where I am so far. Thanks for looking.