Notes From The ‘Net
Questions and Answers About Carving Gathered From Popular Carving Groups
Edited by Matt Kelley
Welcome carving friends to NFTN, version 2.0. In this occasional series we will gather the best questions, answers and comments from the more active Facebook and mail list carving groups, such as the Woodcarver List, Woodcarving 101 — The Joy of Woodcarving, and the International Fish Carvers & Painters Association, and present them here.
Enjoy, and Carve On!
I dug deep into the archives for this particular NFTN — this conversation occurred almost ten years ago, on the original email-based version of the Woodcarver List. The question and comments are still valid almost 10 years later. Editor
On Getting Motivated To Carve
This conversation started with Alex Bisso noting:
I seem to be at a carving standstill. I have not finished a carving since early last fall when I completed a brown trout started earlier last year. I just can’t seem to get motivated enough to either start something new or complete some started projects that I told myself I would get done this year. Can anyone tell me what has worked to get them motivated to get back to carving after a dry spell?
Woodbutcher Jan replied:
Get yourself a carvingbody Alex. Invite a carver to come and join you at your place one afternoon ‚morning or evening every week and stick to it I had a dry spell last summer for a few months and than when my classes started I could not wait to get at it again.
Done 5 fair size relief carvings this winter so far.
To which Alex responded: A carvingbody: would probably be very helpful. However, I think I am stuck with the body I have!
And of course Jan had to have the last word: SMART ALEX!!!!!!!!! I mean Carving buddy! And if THAT won ‘t work COME OVA HERE and I“LL get you all fired up for carv’n!
Joe Dillett remarked: I can’t remember my last dry spell but there are times I just need to back away from my carving and pick up a piece of wood to make chips without concern about what it will become. Just enjoying the smell, sound and feel of a sharp chisel slicing through wood is stimulating. Most often after a few cuts the block decides what it wants to become so I just help it along its journey.
One book I just read, Drawing From Within says that some of the best pictures are created when we are not trying to create a picture but just let our mind loose to draw. Maybe some of that is true for carving too?
Maura Cooper added: Hi Alex, I can sympathize with your carving slump. There was a time when I was almost obsessive with my carving. Now I give thanks for commissions, seems nothing motivates like money sometimes. When I have really been stalled, there are three things I found would get me back into it. One was to clean my shop. Seems I just can’t stand it when its just too organized. Another was to sharpen and/or hone all of my chisels. Theres just something about a wonderfully sharp tool that begs to be used. But the best motivator that I ever found was to help another carver along. Perhaps theres a youngster around who would like a few lessons or a bunch of seniors who you could volunteer to teach a small class for.
To which Jeff Pretz replied: Thanks for the ideas Maura, helping others seems to be a great way to do a lot of revitalization!
Bing described his experience after returning from an overseas deployment: Alex I had the same issue once I came back from Kandahar Afghanistan it had been by that time almost a year since I had carved any major projects, still trapped in the war. But I went for a walk one day into the Canadian Parliament buildings and found myself in surrounded by outstanding carvings of all shapes and sizes. When I walked out I was ready to launch out and carve. Now I don’t have enough time in the day to do anything but carve. Bottom line is go to a museum or some where’s you can witness other carvers or carvings could be just as simple as picking up a new carving mag.
Joe Dillett: Excellent suggestions Bing, especially going to a museum. That’s got to inspire anyone.
Loren Woodard commented: As far as getting your carving mojo working, good luck. I think we all go through those time. I went through one not long ago. I love caricature carving. I got out some books on caricature carving and read them thoroughly from cover to cover, discovered a couple of new things I wanted to try and yahoo, I’m carving once again. Good luck and get back to carving as soon as you can. You’re too good not to get back on it soon.
Finally, Sandie Burgdorf added: Forget about all of the old projects that you think you should be finishing. Pick a new project that you have been thinking about but put off because you thought you should do the old ones first. If you pick something you really want to do, you will actually start and work on it. Challenge yourself but make sure it’s something you WANT to do.
That’s it for this edition of NFTN. If you see a post on one of the FB groups or Mail Listservs that you think should be preserved in NFTN, please use the form below to submit your suggestion.