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English wood carver


Guest ford hallam

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Guest ford hallam

Me again,

 

just in case you havn't heard of or seen the work of Ian Norbury here's a link to his site; click here to be magically transported.

 

I can't honestly say his work is to my taste but there is no doubting his abilities. I recently browsed through one of his instructional books on nude figure carving and think that they would be very useful to anyone starting out in this area.

 

Anyway, now you can check it out and make up your own minds.

 

Regards, Ford :D

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Janel,

 

I should have known :D , this little film clip might be a handy little tip for woodies; Visit My Website

 

anyway, many people who've joined since then may be unaware of the site and I think there is some interesting stuff to see there.

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Hi Ford,

 

I must agree with your "magically transported" analogy - I have been blown away by Norbury's work since I first saw it - it is hard to find modern sculptors with as much beauty and creativity, etc. as his work conveys.

I have one of his tutorial books and it is interesting to note in his introduction that he finds the human figure constantly new and mysterious and is still discovering new nuances with each project.

How about a miniature harlequin complete with all the inlay work in metals?

Thanks for the web link.

Namaste,

Magnus

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Guest ford hallam

Morning Magnus,

 

yes, I think it might be an inspiring site for some of the wood carving fraternity. I also appreciate the fact that he has no qualms about putting his prices up. From what I gather he sells extremely well and is very productive, the work of the site is a tiny fraction of his output really.

 

As I mentioned earlier, though his style is not really to my taste his figure carving tutorials are very useful, to a point. I think there is a problem with his approach though. He creates the basic figure, with the right proportions etc then draws the musculature on the wood and defines the surface based on that reference. The problem as I see it is that while it gives an impression of a "real" body there is no indication of an underlying skeletal framework. I'd be interested if anyone else feel this about the resulting figures.

 

Don't get me wrong, I thing he is a very talented artist and some of his carving is beautifully delicate I just feel that his figure are missing something.....when I look at the work of earlier European woodcarvers I don't feel this lack. Perhaps Berlin Karl has some illustrations.

 

I wouldn't be keen to do a harlequin, figures are not my forte, certainly not clothed male ones ;) , but I am working on a ivory nude right now though. I had to perform a breast reduction over the week-end, obviously I had been badly influenced by Bart's taste :D, now she is a little more modest :blush:

 

Hi Simon, yes, I like that quote too. I think that it's an important point really though. You should conceive your work without allowing your own limitations and concerns about time to influence the end product. Always allow your imagination and finest sensibilities to dictate your course....deal with the struggle of then realising it later. This is the only way to progress. The opposite approach, of only doing what you are certain of, and can be achieved easily and quickly, will yield repetitive and ultimately dull work....and it will probably end up looking like the rest of the mediocre work out there.

 

Of course there is always a great risk of failure. One could argue that every piece made "on the edge", so to speak, contains aspects of failure but the vitality and excitement of taking these risks will always enliven it and when it does "come together" what you've got goes well beyond any hourly rate in terms of pricing. The interesting thing to know is that there are many collectors who recognise this quality and really appreciate it. With Clive's advice in mind regarding getting your work to influential collectors I would add that if the work is clearly reaching for something it can be seen as an indication of the artists desire to keep pushing, exploring and growing. Serious collectors may be interested in the possibility of following that journey.

 

 

so; if you can feel the pain it means you're still alive ;)

 

Namaste, Ford B)

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Hallo all,

I agree with Ford. I miss something in Ian Norbury`s work too. And this is not only how he treats the figure. I feel there is no other concern than making something purely decorative. Normally I do not have any problems with art that pleases the eye, but Norbury simply repeats very old subject matters without adding something personel to the work. He leaves us with a big emptyness.

 

As requested ;) here are some pictures of work I appreciate:

 

The first one is a german/polish renaissance sculptor, who made very expressive work.

Veit Stoss - Detail of Bamberg Altar

 

This one is a wood sculpture made by Baltasar Permoser- a sculptor of the baroque age. The metalwork was made by the workshop of Melchior Dinglinger (one of the most famous german goldsmiths)

Negro of the Green Vault - Dresden

 

This is a link to some work of a Berlin-based sculptor, whose work I really like.

Hans Scheib - Berlin

 

Berlin-Karl :blush:

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I have to agree as well, although I do like much of his work. Although I like the way in which he is experimenting with different forms and materials, I find the end result to be overwhelming. However, it obviously works for many. I do own one of his books, The Fundamentals of Figure Carving, and I think it is quite good.

 

Breathing life into a wood or stone figurative sculpture is surely on of the most difficult tasks to achieve for any sculptor, regardless of the size of the work. It's much easier to accomplish in bronze or ceramic, as the end result is essentially a direct copy of a work that you have had the opportunity to create and recreate in a malleable material until you get it just right.

 

As Karl has shown, this seemed much easier for the old masters to achieve. Karl, I'm surprised you neglected to mention one of your countrymen in your list: Tilman Riemenschneider

 

Anyone seriously interested in studying the work of this genre should pick up a copy of Michael Braxandall's book: the Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany. Nothing like learning from the best.

 

Here is a link to one of my favorite contemporary sculptors, who I believe has succeeded: Joe Faffard

 

Phil

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As Phil said the Limewood Sculptors book is a fantastic book and Riemenschneider's work is something to behold.

 

I have followed Norbury's work for years. His work shows technical skill few can match in modern wood carving. His earlier work from the 90's had movement, vitality and life. Having said that, what I now see on his site seems to focus on his technical skill with combining different woods and materials. It is obvious he puts great effort into his design and planning to produce beautiful pieces. One must admit they are beautiful.

 

To my eye its seems a shame that he is pushing his technical instead of artistic limits. Place his current work next to his earlier work and you can see the difference. From my perspective he is now producing very elegant, beautiful and expensive decorations. Not much life in them. His work is still tremendous.

 

There are some carvers out there that do really life like work. Carvers like Fred Cogelow, Gerald Copeland or David Johnson. Their work can be found at the following site. Just click on Past Show Pages.

http://www.awcltd.org/past_shows/past_shows.htm

 

Mark

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Hello,

 

I agree with most of the comments expressed here about Norbury's work. I am still entertained and delighted with what I see - I would like to see the earlier pieces that Mark is talking about.

Here's an artist I like - not carving, but bronze works - He is a local artist here in the North West, but I'm curious what Phil, Mark and Ford have to comment on his work. I like his "exotic women" series the most, but there are a few other pieces I think have some good life energy. Martin Eichinger

Ford, your comment on the lack of skeletal sense in Norbury's work made think of a tutorial book by Bruno Lucchesi who takes you through a terracotta project of building a figure by first creating the skeleton and then adding muscles and finally skin - all out of clay - I only read it and looked at the pictures, but I think it would be quite a good learning project.

Namaste,

Magnus

P.S.

Aloha Karl, haven't seen you for a while - what's up?

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Hi Magnus,

I looked at Eichinger's work and found that I have seen it before. Overall I like his work, it does not move me though. To me most of it is just to romantic and the individuals have the sparky clean look. By sparky clean I mean they look like they have no imperfections, perfect beauty, perfect health...they lack character. There is plenty of movement but its all ballet without tension or resistance.

 

My preference in sculpture leans more to the gritty and ordinary man look. Characters that look like ordinary folk that have worked, suffered, struggled as well as loved, laughed and lived.

 

As Phil said, putting life into work is difficult at best so to accomplish that on even a moderate level is something. Keep in mind also that images of struggle and high emotion are not that marketable. Next time you are around a wealthy client bring up a topic concerning injury or hardship and watch for the reaction. From my experience they act like it is contagious, that is of course unless the client knows you really well!

 

Mark

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Thanks Mark - I really can see what you mean - Martin's work does have a "clean, linear,romantic idealism" that would appeal to the upscale client. (He was selling quite well when I last actually talked to him.)

You've given me something to ponder here as well as the comments about Norbury's work given by Ford, Karl, Phil and yourself.

 

Magnus

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Again, I have to agree. Although the work is well-done, and I suspect commercially successful, it doesn't really move me. However, I am certain that the artist has the ability to do so. It reminds me a bit of Frederick Hart's work: Link which I like very much.

 

Karl C, I'm not familiar with this person's work, but I suspect that the photos don't do his work justice. I wouldn't want to pass any comments without better images.

 

Berlin Karl, Absolutely right, it's always good to have examples of the best work to guide and inspire you, whether in Europe, or elsewhere.

 

Phil

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