Jump to content

Peter Rabbit


Mark Strom

Recommended Posts

Not small by any stretch but this ties into why I became a carver, because one day it is a small piece and the next week it is something like this.

 

This is for a Peter Rabbit themed garden. The tree is white oak, 17 feet tall and 16 feet in circumference. At the top will be a 7 foot tall carrot with a 3 foot tall Peter Rabbit leaning against it's base eating a carrot. The mother rabbit is 4 foot tall. Of course 95% of it has been carved with a chainsaw. It has taken about 65 hours to get to this point and Monday I will be gone for another week of work.

post-727-1206239088.jpg

post-727-1206239103.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the nice comments, it is a fun job although working with 3 foot long, 22 lb. chainsaws all day wears you down. I will be finishing the rabbits true to Beatrice Potters illustrations using Behr semi-transparent stains. The tree will also be carved to look like a tree with bark and branch stubs etc. From what I am being told, sometime down the road there will be an additional 4 rabbits to be carved fully 3D approximately 36" tall to be placed in the raised herb and vegetable beds in the garden near the carving.

 

I am staying in the Bed and Breakfast "Mansion" while I am carving, a 4 star B&B. It is a fancy affair having a Kennedy and Bill Clinton there in the past two weeks. Needless to say I am not only carving but am entertainment and curiosity all rolled into one. From what I understand the TV crew will be there this week or next and a visit from the paper is also due. Even the folks from the neighborhood occasionally stop by drinking their afternoon cocktail to check in on the progress. It is a very unusual atmosphere to arrive at breakfast to eat with folks you do not know that are dressed to the hilt while you are wearing steel toed boots, jeans and sweat shirts. Ah life is such a humorous thing.

 

And oh yes the Secret Service loved the rifle case that holds all my carving gouges and chisels. Had to inform them when I would be coming out of my room with it! Post an update next weekend.

 

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just got back with the latest photograph. I also posted the original photo of the untouched stump. The carrot is almost 8 feet tall, the top foliage is 20 inches at the thickest point and 40 inches across. The carrot body is 14 inches across and about 58 inches tall. You can just make out the start of the last rabbit at the bottom of the carrot on the left side.

 

The carving is 90% chainsaw, 10% grinders. About 86 hours into it at this point and expect to be finished by next Friday with the exception of staining...if all goes well. This piece has whipped me into shape. The chainsaw used the most weighs about 22 to 25 lbs., after 6 hours it feel more like 50 lbs! Not to mention the 10 to 15 trips up and down the scaffolding each day...it has been fun and I am getting excited about seeing it without the scaffolding.

 

Mark

post-727-1206756816.jpg

post-727-1206756826.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking really good Mark, are the arms feeling a little heavy.....I bet the view is good from up there....

 

I put a small bit of information on the forum a while ago about this event . Not small scale but thought Mark and one or two others may be interested.

 

Sculptree is an international large scale carving event which runs over eight days at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in England

A team of twelve sculptors are chosen from the many who submit designs. The timber is provided by Westonbirt Arboretum. All timber is from trees which have to be felled as part of the management of the arboretum - no trees are felled specially for the event.

In 2007 the sculptors worked on the theme 'This Precious Earth'. Be amazed as the sculptors turn tree trunks up to 4 metres high into intricate and beautiful carvings. Find out more about last year's sculptors and the sculptures they will be creating here.

 

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6pxbbq

 

 

Although the sculptors use chainsaws to shape the wood they also use hand tools to create a delicate finish.

The event runs over the bank holiday period and on the Monday all the carvings are auctioned of with a percentage of the price going to tree aid and the rest to the carver,,,,,Ive been to this event for the last three years , not only are there chainsaw carvings but much smaller scale work as well in many different materials……

 

The picture attached was called “”'Yggdrasill - The World Tree' by Andrew Frost “”

It fetched the highest price last year which was..£10,500 That’s pounds …..not bad for 10 days work…and a life times experience of course …follow the link for a more detailed look at the event……..

post-1670-1206794675.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Mark,

 

I'm very interested in seeing this finished. You seem to be at the most time consuming stage of final finishing and detailing, etc. Looking very nice. Mark, I've noticed some checking or splitting ocurring - do you do anything to arrest or fill this in a sculpture such as this or it is just part of the "treeness" and character of the work? I've repaired wooden flutes with epoxy and fine wood dust in both ebony and purple heart with good results, but that's such a smaller scale.

Be careful in the wet weather.

Blessings,

Magnus

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Russ: I have seen the event on several sites and I am very impressed with the work. To be truthful, the chainsaw carvers there seem to put more thought into their work and it shows. It is of very high quality and I can easily say that carving with a chainsaw is no easy feat. The saws are heavy, it takes muscle and there is an art to learning how to not only carve but to be delicate with the saw. As for the height...it took some getting used to using a 22 lb saw that was over 36 inches in length while watching the saw, where your feet are and trying to focus on the work at hand.

 

Magnus: Most of the small checks are left while the larger ones are repaired with custom shaped wedges. There are also some methods to control some types of checking with what is called kerf cuts. I plan on finishing the entire carving with different colored stains. To be exact, I am using Behr Weatherproofing Deck stain which has ureathane and silicone in the finish. On vertical surfaces it will easily last 5 to 6 years even in full sun.

 

It is off to the tree and I will post the results next weekend.

 

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is the latest. Not very happy with the stain as it was supposed to be semi-transparent but looks more like paint. The advantage is that the colors will maintain a vibrant look for longer and will not need refurbishing for 6 to 8 years. The down side is that there is no wood grain to see...takes away from the carved look.

 

I would have been further along but had to repair a large check over 1 inch wide and almost 30 inches long and rain kept me from staining the tree. Still some work to do on the tree anyway. The sculpture will be done within the next few days...after 6 long weeks. I will have around 200 hours in the piece and 98% of it was done with chainsaws and grinders. Saburr grinding bits are what I used and I recommend them highly. Unlike the Kutsall, they do not clog and they clean easily if they do. A word of caution...coarse and extra coarse are just that...they are highly aggressive.

 

The carrot is almost 8 feet tall, Peter is 34 inches tall and the other view is from the parking area about 65 yards away.

 

I look forward to posting the finished work and it will be nice to be home, been away to long!

 

Mark

post-727-1207976558.jpg

post-727-1207976579.jpg

post-727-1207976590.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike: I admit that it is pretty radical to me also. Can't believe I am working on something so big and doing it without carving tools for the most part. It has been a huge learning curve and an even larger physical challenge. It has been a lot of fun and staying with the ivory tower folk for six weeks has been a treat. My website is stromcarver.com. It has its problems for sure but I will have a "real" website in the coming months as it is in the works now.

 

Clive: I am impressed that you are impressed, knowing you do not hand out compliments with abandon. Thanks.

 

Jim and Tom: Can't find a drill bit or a cord to fit the scale so I just left it hoping a hand rubbed patina will develop. Every morning before I start a picture is taken from approximately the same three spots (unless the sun or scaffolding is uncooperative to the view) to keep a record of the progress. The idea was to make a slide show to illustrate the process.

 

In truth I am more amazed and impressed by the small work I see posted here than any of the large work that I have done. This piece has been a challenge but carving big is easy and you use big tools. Carving small has always been difficult for me as the tools are small, patience has to be large and skill has to be precise. Thanks to you all for the encouragement and kind comments.

 

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The project is finally over! Just beat the heat to...the last day it was over 80 degrees. Overall I think I am satisfied with the results. Certainly learned a great deal about working in a large scale. It did get me in shape for summer and it trimmed the waistline. Nothing like a 25 or 30 pound chainsaw and climbing scaffolding 10 or fifteen times a day to whip you into shape.

 

I think there is around 165 hours total carving time with another 10 hours in design and negotiation. I definitely got outstanding publicity on a large scale. Newspapers, video, met the upscale clients by the dozen and will be included in the ongoing legacy of the establishment that commissioned it. I expect more publicity will come and in May I will be attending the dedication, a black tie and evening gown affair...with my name as the artist on the invitations that went out.

 

I am glad to be home after living in the high society world for 6 weeks. It is a different world and my eyes have really been opened and my approach to business will for ever be changed. To be truthful it will be a long time before everything sinks in and I really understand just what I did learn.

 

Mark

post-727-1208914582.jpg

post-727-1208914606.jpg

post-727-1208914619.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations, Mark,

 

Well done!! This is truely an amazing piece. I really like the way you have made use of the whole log. Speaking from experience, it is not an easy task. Nice simple forms, and well executed.

 

I can't imagine holding a screaming chainsaw for 200 hours. You must have arms of steel.

 

Phil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...