Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wood. The traditional 5th anniversary gift.

Ok, this one is no longer a secret, so I thought I would post something here. When I finished this recently, I carried it around with me for a while, asking everyone I encountered "Can you tell what this is?" (other than the dragonfly and the trees, that is). Most everyone could tell, which I figured was a good sign. I was worried, because it's something that I, at least, found a little challenging to represent in this format. So I was always worried about whether I took the right approach.

In any case, it was a pretty fun spoon to carve. Lots of interesting little challenges. Distinguishing different parts with different textures, deciding the right order in which to carve everything with lots of fragile points, thin protrusions like dragonfly wings, and tiny little tree branches, all  somewhat in the way while another part had to be carved or sanded or waxed, etc. It was quite a design challenge, along with a carving and finishing challenge. All around fun, though. Luckily, I was asked to do it in Cherry, and even more fortunately, I chose an especially old and very very hard piece of cherry, which really helped in preserving the tips of all those fine little points, in particular. I managed to fit all those flimsy extensions and points into places that fit nicely into my hand so I always had a good, secure way to hold it and carve or sand or buff the piece, throughout the process. It was some pretty involved planning, but I was pleased that it actually was a success!

And, here are a few closer views of the branches, as well. They might have been the most fun.

And then, in case you can't tell what the main part of the spoon was, it was a waterfall. And, so, the parts I left off-the-tool (other than the tree-tops and shrubs) are meant to be land, or rocks. Then, the smooth, polished stuff is the water. Then, there's some mid-finished stuff near the bowl that may look like more rocks, but that's actually just meant to be a rougher finish, because it's intended to be the water, landing - it's the "spray." So - about half-way down the spoon, the water is hitting more rocks, including a rock in the middle - I was sort of envisioning a cave. There, it splits, then hits more rocks at the sides, then comes back together in the middle, so the water forms a heart. I admit - I kind of wanted to make a heart because this is actually an anniversary spoon. It's for a 5th anniversary. Did you know the 5th anniversary is the "wood" anniversary? What more perfect 5th anniversary present could there be than a Welsh Lovespooon?!!!

Anyway, I can think of all sorts of ways to represent a waterfall - it's an interesting challenge to represent it out of wood, and in the form of a spoon. Waterfalls are really more about the land than the water, I think. I wonder, if I'd sat down to draw it a day before or after when I did, what different kind of image I'd have made. I think it's one of those things where there are just so many possibilities.

Also, I could easily have set up a couple of rocks in my kitchen sink, and poured some water on them to see how it actually fell, and probably have made a more realistic representation that way, too. I actually seriously considered that, but then opted against it, because sometimes I just think it's more fun to see what happens with imagination, instead. I don't know what is the right choice - the results can be so very different, after all. My imagination can be so very very misguided sometimes. ;)

Well, anyway, I'll leave you with a few closer pictures of the lower half.

Meanwhile, I've got lots of other top-secret work to get back to doing! ;) Well, stuff I won't post on the internet yet, anyway. Not to mention more work to do on the spoon I'll be making with David Western for Americymru's West Coast Eisteddfod! You can check that out at David Western's Blog, too. There should also be a new update there very soon.