Monday, January 29, 2007

carving a new niche

This weekend was spent at Brookfield Craft Center for a 2-day basic woodcarving workshop. Paige and I took the class together as a birthday gift to ourselves, staying overnight in Danbury to eliminate the need to drive back and forth, and to create the feeling of a true vacation. Mission accomplished.

We ended up being the only ones in the class and thoroughly enjoyed our weekend with our instructor, Wayne Smith, The Grizzly Woodsmith, who is quite skilled and talented as a carver, besides being a great teacher and incredibly pleasant in every way. He was generous enough to let us use his carving tools so we could get an idea of what ones we might want to buy for ourselves later, and equally generous with reference material, wood blanks, and all sorts of tricks and techniques. Bonus prize was a visit to the woodturning shop and plenty of browsing in the store exhibiting Brookfield Craft Center artists' work.

We each came home with three mostly-finished items: a snowman ornament, a spoon with fancy curvy handle (will prob. become our coffee scoop), and the monk/Father Christmas/Black Peter ;-) character shown above. The very first thing we did was the snowman ornaments and, honestly, that's about the most difficult level I expected to attempt this weekend. I was surprised when he said we'd be able to do a Father Christmas figure and even more surprised when it actually started to look like it had a human face! Three cheers for instructors who know how to inspire and support students who are enthusiastic about stretching to reach a challenging goal.

The best part for me is that, prior to the class, I could only think of a couple of things I might want to carve. I was taking the class for the fun of it, just for the knowledge of how it's done, although I didn't expect to necessarily have much use for it. But by midway through the workshop, my head was spinning with ideas. I noticed carving in the movie we watched that evening. We talked a lot about carving ideas. I saw wood shavings and chips when I closed my eyes. I even dreamed about carving that night! And now I'm at a point where there are so many options and ideas in my head that I know it's going to be difficult to choose which way(s) to go with this budding skill that I'd love to develop further. Luckily, I have resources. :-)

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Blogger JoVE said...

Very cool. We have a really nice book that we read in December (it has 24 chapters) called The House of Wooden Santas. The mom character carves wooden santas and the illustrations are beautiful. They are actually photographs of carved santa characters. 24 of them. You might like to keep an eye out for it.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

I am so in awe! It's time for our Grand Prix for Awana and I decided not to do a car this year because I lack the know how to do what I really want. You so rock! Maybe I should send my car blank to you. :-D

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Grizzly said...

Thanks for such nice comments about the class. We are glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading about all your other activities. Makes me think I need to do more.

Mrs. Grizzly

10:13 AM  
Blogger DesertGirl said...

Oh it looks just fantastic! You are so very clever aren't you?

I can't believe all the really great things hidden away in CT. Makes me miss it~

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Mrs. Grizzly said...

There is a new carving group in Rocky Hill Wed 1-3. I don't have details to post yet but when I do will put up on - Links Woodcarving Information. Or you can email and I'll add you to our website update distribution list.

2:42 PM  

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