Thursday, April 5, 2012


Now for something different. Most of the pieces that I have carved recently were created from a single piece of found wood. The Mermaid, Sea Dog and The Lamb were all carved from a single piece of found wood. Okay, Sea Dog's perch was a separate piece of wood and so was The Mermaid's stand as well as The Lamb's stand. but the piece itself was carved from a single piece of wood.

This next piece that I am going to write about is something totally different. I call it a composition because it was created out of many different pieces. In reality, the piece was created out of random bits of wood that I had left over and lying around. I started with the idea that I wanted to create something totem like without having a clear idea of where I was going with the piece.

The thing, the seed that started the idea of the composition was the stone that sits near the top. I started finding these curious looking stones a number of years ago. Some just had a few white squiggly lines but others were more complex. Some were more anthropomorphic and took on the features of a face. The ones that looked like a face interested me the most and I started to collect those. I was not sure what I was going to do with them but I thought that one day an idea would come to me. In composition #2 it was the face on the stone that initiated the composition, the rest grew from there.

After I decided that the stone would be a face, a rather angry frowning face I decided to add another face about it. This second face consisted of three pieces of scrap wood that caught my eye. When I put them together they created the rather amusing face that you can see above. I am not sure if it is a smirk, a yawn or an enthusiastic cheer. Whatever it is it an expressive face. I did not do anything to these pieces of wood except glue them together and clean them up with sand paper to bring out the wood grain.

I added these three panels stacked up one on top of the other. in the two top panels I focused on eyes. These panels reminded me of owls. The idea of the bottom panel is one of deconstruction, formlessness, anarchy, and chaos. that is also why the bottom panel sits slightly out of alignment with the top two panels.Now, to unify the whole concept.

I used four narrow pieces of mahogany doweling that I had lying around since forever and glued the faces and the eye panels to them. This structure tied everything together but it was not stable and it could not stand on its own. To give everything stability I took some pieces of scrap wood and created the base that you see at the bottom of the pictures above.

So here is composition #2 - Totem #1.

When viewed from the side it is very shallow but the base looks significant.

This was a fun piece to make and it took me places that were unexpected. I like the idea of a totem and I plan to construct many more. I have an endless supply of stones with Zebra mussel markings on them. I am sure that they will generate many more interesting ideas and directions that I have yet to conceive.

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