Showing posts with label wood carving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wood carving. Show all posts

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I Don't Like Mondays by Ben Turnbull

"Guns are Forbidden Fruit"  In 2009 at west London's Eleven gallery, artist Ben Turnbull from London UK put on an exhibition of seven pieces entitled  'I Don't Like Mondays'. Controversially these were images of a variety of guns carved into old school desks.
Lesson 1, 60 x 120 cm/24 x 47 in (carved desk), 2009

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Family business in Colorado Springs specialise in turning the profile image of you or your loved ones into unique wooden keepsakes.

Turn Your Head is a family run business based in Colorado Springs U.S. who cleverly use the  'Face versus Vase'  illusion to create a permanent profile portrait of your loved ones.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wooden Popsicle by Johnny Hermann

Johnny Hermann is the alter-ego of the craftsman and designer Mauro Savoldi from Milan.
He re-creates the vibrant, colourful magic of summer ices in objects of minimal design, recalling one of the sweetest and most nostalgic treasures of our past.

The original popsicle was invented by an 11-year-old boy in San Francisco in 1905 – and by a strange coincidence it was a piece of wood that made the whole story possible! 
Childhood memories and fresh emotions are fused in the shape and materials of these creations.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Swimmer by Stephanie Rocknak

This amazing piece was completed by Stephanie Rocknak in 2007. It was carved from a single piece of basswood and is slightly larger than lifesize. It is part of a 3-piece commission, The Triathlete. The other two pieces include The Biker and The Runner.

Each Triathlete piece shows a sense of movement. As Rocknak tells us, "These days, I am not very interested in sculpted figures, or real people, that 'strike a pose.' I am much more intrigued by folks who are on their way to or from somewhere. They seem more genuine to me."

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Praying Chinese Monk Leaves His Footprints Ingrained in Wooden Floor

HuaChi, a simple monk from China, has achieved something that only few are able to – he has left a mark in this world, quite literally. The pious man has knelt to pray in the exact same spot for nearly 20 years. He’s performed the ritual so many times that his footprints are deeply ingrained in the wooden floor of his temple, in the monastery town of Tongren, in Qinghai Province.

The highly disciplined monk follows a never-changing routine – he arrives at the temple steps every day before sunrise, places his feet on the footprints and prostrates a thousand times in prayer. Having done this for two decades, the wood beneath his feet has softened considerably, transforming into perfect footprints that are 1.2 inches deep.
When Hua Chi was younger, he would prostrate 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. “But I have grown older, so in recent years I have only done around 1,000 each day,” he said. Sometimes, during winter he can only manage 500. But even that is seriously impressive. After completing his prayers, he walks around the temple as well.

70-year-old Hua Chi hopes that his dedication and commitment towards his prayers will help him achieve a smooth transition to the afterlife. According to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, the spirit goes through a process after death that determines it’s future – either nirvana or a return for rebirth. “I reconstructed this temple and have prayed and walked around the temple all these times so that after my death my spirit will not suffer,” said Hua Chi, who is also a doctor of traditional medicine.

His devotion is now a source of inspiration to the younger monks at the temple, which is located inside Rongwo Gonchen Gompa, an important Tibetan monastery in Tongren. The monastery is centuries old; it dates back to the year 1301. It is home to hundreds of monks who study Buddhist scriptures.

29-year-old monk Genden Darji is one of Hua Chi’s most ardent followers. He has spent several days admiring the older monk’s determination and wishes to carry forth the tradition by stepping into his footprints some day. “Every day I come here and every day I look at the piece of wood, and it has inspired me to continue to make the footprints myself,” said Darji.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Rosary Bead, Carved in Boxwood

Rosary bead, carved in boxwood Bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild

A rosary bead (sometimes referred to as a 'prayer nut' or 'paternoster bead') is characteristic of the minutely detailed, small-scale boxwood carvings used for private devotion. These types of delicate and complex objects were owned by members of the nobility or wealthy merchant classes in northern Europe, and were highly prized as masterpieces of carving and invention. A complete rosary, bearing the arms of England and probably dating to the first third of the sixteenth century, survives in the collections of the Dukes of Devonshire.

Renaissance jewellery was both decorative and functional. Rosary beads were used as memory aids for saying a series of prayers dedicated to the Virgin Mary. When not in use, they could be worn around the neck or waist. Even very religious people who shunned bodily adornment approved of rosary beads. During the Reformation, the practice fell out of favour in the Protestant countries but it remained popular among Catholics.

This spherical bead from the Waddesdon bequest in the British Museum is carved on the outside with Gothic architectural detail, while the interiors are carved variously with scenes from the Old Testament and the New Testament. This boxwood rosary bead is only 2 5/8 inches (6.7cm) in diameter

The upper half is fitted with two doors, carved on both the inner and outer panels, which open to reveal the Crucifixion, crowded with miniscule figures in high relief. 

The Crucifixion

The lower half is fitted with one door, carved on both sides and opening to reveal a complex scene showing the Bearing of the Cross.

The Annunciation
The Bearing of the Cross

The achievement of these perspectives in both low relief and in high relief attests to the great skill of the craftsman, who probably had to work using a magnifying glass.

The word, ‘rosary’ is derived from the Latin rosarium, meaning a ‘garland of roses’ or ‘rose garden’, and denotes a set of prayer beads or the devotional prayer itself. A rosary provides a physical method of keeping track of the number of prayers said and is used in many religions for this purpose and also for meditation and even to relieve stress.

With kind permission from The British Museum

Friday, 14 March 2014

Making Wooden Kitchen Spoons and Similar Utensils

Wooden Spoons 'Hidden' in Trees

I Came across this interesting excerpt from:  Garden Farm Skills. Gene Longsdon (1985) 
A foraging skill I have yet to perfect myself but thought it was well worth sharing. If readers would like to add their own opinions  and experiences on this article, it would be much appreciated.

"There are only two little secrets to making spoons, ladles, and forks out of wood. The first is that you don’t carve the spoon from a block of wood; rather, you find a branch with a spoon in it.
Nothing mysterious about that advice. A proper spoon or ladle must have a curve in the handle to be designed for easy use — those straight-handled wooden spoons you can buy cheap are almost unusable except to stir with. You might be able to steam bend a straight piece of wood to the proper curve, but that would be hard work. What you dare not do is cut the curve into a piece of wood across the grain. Such a spoon easily breaks. Therefore, when he is cutting firewood or when he is in the woods, a spoon maker keeps a sharp eye out for branches that have a natural curve in them to make the curved handle. It becomes, in fact, great sport to find the spoons in the wood.
Then there’s the second secret. Having once found a proper branch or crotch, never carve your spoon from the very center of it. Again, that would make a very weak spoon. Instead, cut the branch in two along the centre line and carve a spoon in each half where the grain is thick enough, width-wise, to make a strong handle.
Rough out the spoon with a handsaw or, if available, a band saw or table saw. In fact, I do most of the rougher carving on the band saw, cutting away little by little, with my eye on the grain of the wood, which determines the curve of the handle, until the spoon begins to appear. I even roughly shape the bowl on the band saw.
Carve out the rest with a sharp knife and perhaps hollow out the spoon bowl with a chisel or gouge. Because I have a drill press at my disposal, I do most of the finish carving with a rasp bit, especially nice for hollowing out the bowl and rounding the bottom. I level, balance, and thin the spoon down to proper proportion, trusting my eye rather than measuring. I rasp and look, rasp and look, making sure that the drill press is so set that it cannot rasp down through the spoon bowl and out the bottom. I finish up with pocketknife and sandpaper.
Walnut is the best of the good hardwoods for carving because it carves easily despite its hardness. White oak is harder to carve but I like it — especially if it is a branch that is beginning to deteriorate just a little. Unusual markings, and often unusual colors, will show up in the finished piece. But almost any wood will do. A spoon is an easy evening’s work. The ones pictured here took only an hour each to make — once I found a proper piece of wood.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Giuseppe Penone: The Hidden Life Within

The image below is one I have skipped past many times while surfing for 'woody wonders' but have only just got round to investigating further.

“My artwork shows, with the language of sculpture, the essence of matter and tries to reveal with the work, the hidden life within.”
–Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone (born April 3, 1947) is an Italian artist. Penone started working professionally in 1968 in the Garessio forest, near where he was born. He is the younger member of the Italian movement named "Arte Povera", Penone's work is concerned with establishing a contact between man and nature.

Guiseppe Penone carves out a young tree within an older tree to reveal its past, showing us what once grew inside so that it may now "live in the present." Inspired by the quiet slowness of growth in the natural world, the artist asks us to take a moment to stop and think about the concept of time and how there's a common vital force in all living things.

Penone has carved out the wood to reveal its past, showing the tree that grew inside so that it may “live” in the present. Rather than imposing a form, the artist — in contrast to the architect of this space — draws out an existing form.

The next image of  Guiseppe working within the space of this massive tree in my mind captures the enormity of the artists devotion to this piece.

Monday, 10 February 2014

River Mirrors by Caryn Moberly

These stunning mirrors by Caryn Moberly can be hung horizontally or vertically and have an amazing fluid feel to them.

Caryn Moberly is a British furniture designer whose designs are recognised for their originality and fun. Many of her designs are inspired by natural shapes.

Pippy Oak River Mirror.    Size 1.3m x 0.70m

Although most of Caryn's designs use burred elm, the example above is of pippy oak. Here is how Caryn describes her mirrors.  “I love my river mirror design because it has all the elements of a real river valley. The shape of the banks is created by the effect of natural elements on the tree, the location of the tree and its history. The knotty burrs represent rock formations. Even the annual rings in the wood represent contour lines on a map.

I like the way they manage to combine a very modern rectangular shape with a wild natural form.

This is a particular favourite of mine from Caryn's collection for the green tinge in the grain.

She has exhibited at a number of prestigious shows and has been selected to exhibit with the British European Design Group. Caryn has an MA in Furniture Design and Technology at Buckinghamshire New University.

Caryn Moberly's web site:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Randall Rosenthal and 'Cold Hard Cash'

When you study the work of Randall Rosenthal you can't help but be in awe of this mans talent, the way he emulates a stack of paper from solid blocks of wood reminds me of Livio De Marchi's carving skills when creating his wooden clothing.  Lets start off by taking a look at:

'Cold Hard Cash'   2012 , acrylic and ink on one block of Vermont White Pine, 14 x 14 x 10" 

It doesn't matter how long you look at this piece you cannot convince yourself it is carved from one solid block of white pine then diligently painted. Here are some great shots of the work in progress.

Randall Rosenthal.

BORN:           1947 New York, New York
EDUCATION:  1965-69 Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A personal favourite of mine is 'Cutting Board'  because of the variety of materials he has so successfully copied.

'Cutting board'  in progress.

And here, a selection of some of Randall's other pieces, it's hard to remember these are all carved from solid blocks of wood !

If you wish to fully explore the weird world of Randall Rosenthal check out his website:

Other sources:

Randall's forum posts of  'Old Money' on