Yesterday, I took the first cuts into one of the thick and wide cherry planks I purchased last month for making bowls. About four inches from one end got cut off due to the inevitable end checking—some of these bits I saved for possible combs or other dodads. I’ve learned it’s wisest not to speculate too early on what odd bits will turn into. My shop produces very little waste. Odds and ends become spoons, spatulas, small bowls, boxes, and quirky carvings. Even the most negligible waste has its role in feeding the woodstove, and the ashes fertilize the garden. There is no panacea for waste, but some interesting solutions await finding.
When he was young, my oldest used to pick up all the twisty scrap from the bandsaw and create fascinating assemblage sculptures with a hot glue gun. I’ve suggested he take a box of scrap home on his next visit and experiment. He might have an item suitable for sale and display. And I have less scrap to repurpose.
From the preceding, you might think that my favorite pastime was wood salvage, and I do take a lot of satisfaction when I’ve found the correct use for a piece of wood. But actually, My carving is the hands-down winner. Carving is my favorite hobby, pastime, and occupation rolled into one.
But there are different branches here. I love the traditional carving styles I use when carving eagles and ship portraits. But I am also in love with the opportunity to do freehand carving that results in flowing forms. That’s where the spoons and bowls come in. The conventions I use for an eagle or carving a schooner go by the board, and the only thing that matters is the grain of the wood and my interpretation of how it should be expressed.
Not to go too far down the sinkhole of where my stylistic influences lie, but I did not start to be a nautical or marine carver. A chance meeting with Dali in New York when I was a high school student and early interest in the works of Arp set me off in a very different direction. If you ever ran across any of my very early work, you wouldn’t recognize it as related to the ship’s portraits I currently create. Only one of those very early works still survives in my hands, and I have no idea where the galleries sold the others.
So, the bowls and spoons are my way of letting out that other side of my creative spark. I like to play with shape, contour, and contrast.
And you thought I was making functional spoons. Silly!