Shredder

Artyczar

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Trying to put something in every forum now to start us off.

This is a snare drum on a stand covered in scraps of manila pattern paper with acrylic polymer and acrylic paint. Varied dimensions, approx. 30 inches high and 16 inches across.

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Yes, also known as tupelo gum or water tupelo. It's a boring looking, off white wood classified as a hardwood, but actually fairly soft, though there is much variation. It has a tightly interlocked grain and no visible pores, so it can be worked very thin without crumbling. It machines beautifully with bits and burs but is not at all amenable to cutting with edge tools.

Tupelo grows down south in swamps, and much of the trunk is underwater, hence the name. That part of the trunk yields the choicest wood. It obviously needs a lot of seasoning before use. I believe it was first used for decoys by Cajun carvers. The best is reputed to come from Louisiana. Perfect tupelo has consistent texture with no hard grain pockets, but this is getting increasingly difficult to obtain.

The alternative is basswood, which has exactly the opposite working properties. It tends to fuzz up when machined, but cuts beautifully with edge tools. I never used it, but some of the best carvers in the world prefer it. It's a classic wood for carving that is in the same family as linden, aka limewood, which has been used for centuries in Europe.
 
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I just learned a lot about that. Thank you. I never carved any wood, not even for a wood print. I've only used those soft linoleum blocks--beginner stuff. I like wood carvings and never even thought about what kind of wood is used.
 
I'm a bad boy, what can I say.

Different kinds of wood are used for different kinds of carving. Boxwood is a favorite for those who want to work in a hard wood at a small scale, like netsuke carvers. End grain, it's the trad wood for wood engravings. Walnut, maple, mahogany, ebony and various rosewoods are also used. The trad wood for Japanese woodblock prints was mountain cherry, virtually impossible to get now.
 
I'm a bad boy, what can I say.

Different kinds of wood are used for different kinds of carving. Boxwood is a favorite for those who want to work in a hard wood at a small scale, like netsuke carvers. End grain, it's the trad wood for wood engravings. Walnut, maple, mahogany, ebony and various rosewoods are also used. The trad wood for Japanese woodblock prints was mountain cherry, virtually impossible to get now.
So what else is new? We knew you were a bad boy. ;)
 
Ah, but I'm a good boy too!

Grinling Gibbons (1648 – 1721) was perhaps the greatest of all relief carvers in limewood.

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Oh mercy! That is beautiful work. Especially that scroll carving. ❤ The Bas-Relief is amazing too, but I am just taken with that intricate work on the scrolls.
 
In terms of sheer virtuosity, Gibbons is often held to be the greatest relief carver who ever lived.

Then, however, there are little carvings in very hard woods, especially boxwood, like this netsuke by my pen-friend Janel Jacobson. Titled Horse Chestnut with Spring Peeper. All boxwood. 1.3 x .08 x 1.3".

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Another by Janel, who does the best frogs of anybody. Titled Peeper and Chestnut. Boxwood and Baltic amber. 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.1".

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Me, I prefer Janel.
 
Those are amazing little sculptures. I couldn't help thinking of the tiny pencil lead carvings. I always loved miniatures. And thanks for sharing Janel's website. She does do amazing work. :)
 
I think when it gets to the point where you need a magnifying glass to appreciate it, you've passed from the realm of art into the realm of techncally astonishing novelty.
 
I think when it gets to the point where you need a magnifying glass to appreciate it, you've passed from the realm of art into the realm of techncally astonishing novelty.
I agree. I do find the pencil lead carvings amazing but what would you do with them. They would be very fragile and to safely display them you would have to put them behind magnifying glass, so why bother.
 
I'm sure it's an interesting pastime for those who do it, and technically it really is amazing. But otherwise I don't really, no pun intended, see the point.

There are rules for carving netsuke that don't necessarily apply to other forms of miniature sculpture. Netsuke are archaic functional objects, made to be handled, though most people wouldn't these days. Handling a truly well finished object made of very hard wood or ivory is a tactile pleasure (these days of course, mammoth ivory is usually used instead of elephant ivory).

Natasha Popova is one of the greatest contemporary ivory carvers. Completely self-taught.

Natasha Popova

I wasn't much of a carver by comparison. My stuff was covered in paint or gold leaf, which forgives a multitude of sins.
 
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