Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Sometimes, my initial impression about what a piece is going to be or how it is going to go are not the same as how the piece actually turns out. That is how this piece sent. It started as a piece of wood that my wife found on the beach when I was in China in January. She showed it to me that night when we talked on Skype. You have to understand that I had watched THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS on the plane going to China so the images of that documentary about the Chauvet cave were still very much in my mind. When my wife showed the piece to me I immediately thought of the horse paintings in the Chauvet cave.

That was the image that I carried with me until I returned to Canada. Even after I started working on the piece I had the horse image  in my mind. It was only as I began to shape the wood into a horse that I realized that it was not going to work. It was at this point that I had to make a decision. Do I try to force the wood into the shape of a horse or do I stop and take a hard look at the piece of wood that I was holding in my hands and honestly try to see what it is that the piece wanted to be.

I took my time with it. Actually, I took several days of looking at the piece, putting it down, coming back to it several hours later, looking at it in different light at different times of the days. Then came the moment of inspiration! I recalled the first line of the poem. THE LAMB, by William Blake; "Little lamb who made thee?" That was it, the piece would be a lamb. When I started to look at it as a lamb instead of a horse, everything began to fall into place. the proportions were right . The bump that some lambs have on their head emerged as I worked the piece. It all came together quite quickly and I carved the piece in less than a day.

One of the big surprises that emerged from this carving was the eye. As I started to remove the material where the eye would be I noticed that the wood was forming a natural eye all by itself. I only removed enough wood so that the eye would be fully formed. It was as if the eye had been there all the time. i was very pleased with this discovery.

As I sanded the lamb after I finished carving I decided to sand both sides of the piece. I continued to sand both sides as I used finer and finer grades of sand. In the end, both sides were presentable. The back of the lamb appears almost as the negative of the front view. In any case, wherever the lamb is placed both sides should be available for viewing.

After sanding and applying four treatments of Tung oil the color and wood grain showed beautifully. I am extremely pleased with the way this piece of driftwood that my wife found on the beach turned out.

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