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Russ ..with fingers crossed


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As promised here are some pictures of the work I’ve done since meeting Clive ..


I’ve done five pieces in total with his help, the sixth is getting there….I’ll put them on in the order they were made along with some more info……


There are so many different types of artists on the forum, all at different stages and standards in their chosen subject, so rather than just post the pictures on their own I thought it might be good to show and tell how things have worked out ….may be of interest to beginners and you pros out there…


Please give some feed back and tell me how it could be improved…


Before meeting him of the “tumbleweed”.. I’d carved one or two pieces in the netsuke style … I was fairly pleased with the results, this was around the time Janel had just introduced us. Shortly after I took some carvings to show him….


He looked at the various pieces …then paused ……… praised the good and then moved on to the bad points…It took a couple of visits for me to realize that anything I took to show Clive would be put under the microscope…..


Singing at this point seemed so much more fun….but I soon realized.


”why would you want it any other way”


I’d already started to scale down my carvings with the help of Peter Benson, the pictures below are of a piece I did with his help back in 2002…Pete had carved a small boy reaching to touch a frog, a pond type scene...superb......I asked if it was ok to use his idea, this was the result....






It was carved from a 6 x 6 x 7 inch piece of Lime …and yes I did break various bits off .


….. The fish was carved first and then I moved outwards to the other features…..the tree started life as a mass of leaves but I made the mistake of releasing each branch only to loose the lot…….. Naked tree


Thought I’d put this picture on first as Clive had a good old belly laugh on seeing it for the first time….This was one of the first carvings I’d done on a smaller scale, about 65mm.







Clive’s first words on seeing this piece were ..” What’s with the cows udders ……at the time I’d not seen the obvious…… …they are very similar to the under side of a Friesian…….


I now have thoughts of milking a snail every time I see one…


Cilve looked at the various other carvings I’d done and again gave me advice on how I could improve them. After leaving that evening I was fairly up…..his advice was to keep on carving……


Off I went eager to impress…


Im not sure how long before I returned to Clive’s with the first piece that he was really involved in but I’d carved another snail crawling up the stem of a fungi…This time with longer udders, still not right, but better than before……I can see now the eyes are in totally the wrong position but at the time I just wanted to anchor them down so they didn’t break off….


I don’t have any pictures of the piece before colour was added but as soon as Clive saw it he said….


…”Give it some life boy” .. ……. And he didn’t mean use soap…..


This is where he started showing me some techniques...the first being staining with potassium…..


He began by staining a small area about 10mm square on the under side of the fungi and then used small burrs to give it some texture, then back with more potassium, more texture, then some ink ,then some more potassium, and so on and so on …..

etc …..etc…..etc……


It was amazing to see…. I’m sure that some of you out there may have used this technique before, but for me as a total novice it was quite something…the fungi started to come alive.


I went away and purchased the potassium a couple of days later and set to work….at first it was difficult to create what Clive had already done but as with everything after a couple of hours practice things started to look good.


I completed just the underside of the fungi and returned for the verdict.....


Clive gave it the thumbs up.



















Once the piece was finished I took it for the final critique..


Again we discussed the staining and other aspects that could be improved …

Clive said “the shell was not the right colour”, I’d made it far too light with no contrast….He then went ahead and stained the shell a lot darker which made a vast difference…….so much better….


I’ve put the pictures on which a friend took for me a while ago…hope their ok……


Anyway that’s it for part one …if you fancy the other four pieces to make the full boxed set please let me know….sorry it's a bit of an epic....


Bye for now

Russ….Thanks for the advice on pics..you two :unsure:

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very nice work. I am also interested in your staining and process of finishing, it gives a great sense of reality!


Debbie and Leon wanted some info on the staining techniques i'd used for this piece ,,hope this helps,,if you want any other info let me know..


It’s been a few of years since I did this piece so I’ll try my best to explain the process,,,,,,,


The bulk of the staining on the fungi was done with potassium.permanganate…I don’t mix it with anything special just a small amount of water in an artist palette…


I mix a number of different colours for the area Im staining , this means you can keep going , you find once you get in the groove you dont want to stop for anything.........so with this piece lots of different browns…some yellow and orange etc…I put them all in the palette mixed ready for action…I also try them on a piece of paper before applying them to the wood just to make sure it’s the right shade ….these are usually left in the palette and do dry out ….on returning a drop of water in each and there ready for use again….


Don’t mix the pot-perm too dark as it can leave a dark brown/purple colour when dry…better to do three or four lighter coats to get the right colour than to put it on in one go…..As with all the dyes and stains if I’m feeling a little impatient I’ll dry them with a hairdryer…not too close though with the intense heat……. Once dried I then use a damp/wet cotton bud to remove any excess colour that may be on the surface…another quick dry, then inspect …. I usually polish at this point so the area comes alive…….


To get the finished look I polish using goat hair brushes…in the foredom…watch for these creating too much heat…picture below…again nothing special just work your way around the area you’ve stained………..


post-1670-1199040744.jpg post-1670-1199040751.jpg


I’ve also used the standard dylon colours on this piece which are readily available….

Again I just mix with water, same techniques as with pot-perm.


The shell was done PROCION dyes…….look on the net for these……


.Clive gave me some samples to try…CHEERS MUCKA… ..again I only scratched the surface using them,,,,, Clive tells me there are various health issues with these dyes so read the label carefully…………again mix with water and apply……..


I also used ink …nothing special ..

Just plain black….. BE CAREFUL…..when applying as you can easily destroy a nice area you just stained……


Application on to the wood depends on the area…..if its large, like the under side of the fungi you can be bold putting a lot more colour in one go …but if you are staining up to a detailed area , like the snails body I sometimes use a scalpel …or some other sharp tool…this means you can put a small amount of stain exactly where you want,,…….,sometimes if your using a brush you don’t realize it’s loaded with far too much colour and the wood sucks it all out in one go….




Just been to take a photo of some brushes Pete Benson got for me.....


Ive used these on a carving recently and they work pretty well...not sure who made them so been on google and found their readily available...seems their used in the dental industry and for hobby/craft work...


CALLED........MICROBRUSH.....interesting tips on the top of them ..some can be bent to fit in to tight spots............pics below....




post-1670-1199042646.jpg post-1670-1199042640.jpg


Try lots of different burrs and tools you have to create nice textures…

At some point I’ll repeat this piece changing the composition…..I’m ready to do another piece out of a single material so this may be the one ….. the last few have been rather complicated…….when I do I’ll take lots of photos to show the staining process better…..


I know very litte about staining/ colouring , the first two carvings I did just happen to require this type of treatment so I made it up as I went along..... I believe you can mix different colours and stains with distilled water, acids and other liquids to get them to penetrate deeper..MAYBE THE PROS KNOW…….. Pardon the pun but I’ve only touched the surface ....may be someone out there can help with the finer aspects and add to this……


Not sure if I’m explaining my self here to well… I think you just have to try for yourself and go for it…Clive showed me a small area and I went from there.....I found the way I liked and what worked for me…..That’s not to say it’s the right way or the best …if someone shows me a different way that gets better results maybe I’ll try it …The beauty of a piece looking old and rotting is you can make it up as you go…and if you make a mistake carve it away and try again…I did this quite a few times until I found the right technique..


I may have put a little bees wax on to finish as well…and then polish… again can't quite remember……….


Hope this helps…..will put second piece on in a week or so as times a little limited at the moment……….Bye for now

Have a good New Year


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Thanks Russ.


Since I have no 'Clive' nearby every bit of information is welcome.

I suppose the potassium permanganate is only used for brownish colours. I've read about it here for coloring antler or ivory, the use on wood is new for me.


A good New Year to you too.

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Thanks Russ.


Since I have no 'Clive' nearby every bit of information is welcome.

I suppose the potassium permanganate is only used for brownish colours. I've read about it here for coloring antler or ivory, the use on wood is new for me.


A good New Year to you too.


As far as I know Leon you can only get the brown colours from pot-perm.... maybe someone could add to this post about other chemicals that give other colours.... byeeeeeee

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Nice work,Russ.


I personally love the fish pond theme.





Many thanks Marius...Im just off to work ,,, singing for my supper as they say....Ill try to get a photo of Peter Bensons origional carving...Not the same theme but it gave me the idea for this piece and for other carvings above and below water....Ive seen one or two netsuke in a simular style but with no water, the theme just flows through from top to bottom, really clever and beautiful ....


Happy New Year to you all...Russ :D

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