Jack's Carving Tips
Having spent over 9 years living in Laurie's shop, I have decided to divulge some of the helpful hints that she has learned and used in making her carving career a success. With my help and supervision (and believe me there has been a lot!) these tips that she has both discovered and been shown, have aided in creating her works.
Jackson B. Bunny
Good reference is always important. Having several images on hand while either carving or drawing your pattern is vital in an acurate rendition of your subject. Also note, is the reference image of either an injured subject or wild one. There will be differences also in either captive bred birds to wild born.
When carving a piece that has two or more subjects interacting with each other, I take a piece of string and tape the opposit ends to either the beaks, bills, etc. of the individual birds and move each piece until the string lines up correctly and shows the proper line of site. This way you hopefully avoid a carving where the subjects are not looking at what they are supposed to be.
Many tools do not a good carving make. Some of my more elaborate carvings have been created with the use of less than four knives and or gouges. Find the tools that work right for you and enjoy.
When creating a concept, think about the setting, time of year, and propper plumage of your subject. You would hate to have a winter scene with a male bird in full breeding plumage.
When carving, always remember to draw your center line back in if you have carved or sanded it off. This will help to avoid a lopsided subject.
Good wood is essential in any good carving, if the wood is either dried improperly or the piece itself is inferrior, a lot of time and effort may be wasted and it is difficult not to be discouraged. Please buy your wood from reputable dealers.
If asked to display your work, check the gallery or other facilities references or find someone that has displayed there before you. Yes it is exciting to have your pieces shown, but it may turn tragic if a piece is either broken or stolen by improperly displayed situations.
You can never get enough information or techniques. When you are at shows or other places where the artist is available, ask questions and listen carefully as sometimes these interactions will have more insight than you may get at either a seminar or class. (Don't get me wrong, classes and seminars hold immense amounts of ideas and knowledge.)
When having your work critiqued, listen carefully, and be opened minded when the judge is giving you ideas and please remember that you asked their opinion and that they are not trying to down your work, but instead trying to help you make your work all that much better.
I always encourage learning from others and taking seminars and classes. One thing to keep in mind, develope your own style and way of carving. Eventually you will need to know how to develope a piece yourself.
Sharp tools are a must in any carving for a dull edge will cut deeper because of the pressure that you are applying to the handle.