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Jim Kelso

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OK, I'm going to get this off my chest. I finished the post of my leaf carving last night and other than Janel there has been no comment, in spite of more than a hundred views. It's not that I'm looking for validation, it just seems strange that no one has anything to say: good, bad or, I was going to say indifferent, but I guess that's it. I posted a link on Don's Knifemakers' Forum late last night and there were five comments when I looked this morning.

 

I have to say that for the last two months I have been so absorbed in life stuff that I haven't had the time to give to the forum that I would like and I'm sure all of us have those moments, but let's say if half of those 100 views sugars down to 50 individuals, is everyone stretched to the max?

 

Anyone there?

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Jim,

 

I originally wondered about the same sort of thing in similar circumstances, but as I view your work I begin to understand people’s reluctance to comment. When one sees art that goes to the “next level†it’s difficult to think of something to say that goes beyond a simple “awesome.†And even that sounds lame and less than adequate.

 

I, for one, have enjoyed your tutorials immensely - but feel uncomfortable about being qualified enough to either praise or criticize. There seems to be a lot of difference between imparting a little hard won wisdom when someone has a question and is seeking advice, versus posting commentary when one of the legends in this business shows his (or her – Janel) work. What can the student say about the master?

 

Keep the pictures and tutorials coming! Your effort isn’t going unappreciated, I assure you!

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I have to second what Tom says. What place do I have commenting?

 

Does the fact that I just sat there stunned for quite awhile, trying to absorb what I was looking at, and wishing there were a few more fotos convey what I wish I had words for?

 

No, it cannot, but I can assure you everything you post gets my undivided attention.....

 

Thank you, Jim Kelso. Your art is in a rarified stratum.

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Well now I feel a little silly. I guess a lot of my motivation for joining in the forum is to crack some of the isolation.

 

Tom, I appreciate your comments which make a lot of sense, as usual. BTW the Sockeyes came out beautifully! The polish and coloring are amazing. In my period of life stress since March I lost track of progress on it.

 

Fitzo, Thanks for your comments as well. I feel OK now :P .

 

I guess part of the isolation factor is around shipping the piece off today with the likliehood of not being able to show it to anyone else, which sort of bugs me.

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Thanks Jim! I've been concerned about the quietness here for the last month or so. Life has been busy, with so many kinds of things that even I grew quiet.

 

Please, friends, consider Jim, Don and I as one of the "guys" (sort of). We hunger for information (if I may say that for all of us), camaraderie, and laughter as much as the rest of you.

 

When we show our work, we need the critiques, (well I do anyway) as well as the compliments. I am growing with each piece, and hope to for as long as I am able. When I ask to see work by newcomers to carving, all the way to the veterans, I hope to learn from what has been shown. Believe it or not, there is something to learn from all that we see, and, all the members and guests have something to contribute to the group!

 

Jim, I understand the feelings one has when shipping something away that has not been shown to the public, and which will never be shared with the world. There is great pride with the accomplishment of a remarkable piece, relief that the work will provide income which allows one to continue following one's passion, and an emptyness that the love in the piece is not spread out to bring joy or peacefulness to a world of people. It may, in time.

 

Thank you for sharing the beautiful leaf with us.

 

Janel

 

Thanks for the rant! Consider this topic a big spoon stirring the pot! :P Lets get the forum cooking again! Personally, I don't want my name to be the one appearing in all of the Last Post By fields!

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Guest DFogg

Well put Jim. There are lots of reasons for lurking, but if the community is going to grow and remain stimulating it is up to all of us to share. I wouldn't be shy about sharing your work or ideas, they are welcome.

 

That is an amazing carving by the way. I commented briefly on the bladesmiths forum, but DAM. You have inspired me to don the optivisors again. Thanks

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My thoughts were like Tom's. Difficult to critique someone who is so much more advanced... But since you asked :P . One of the things I like most about your work Jim is the combination of materials, patina, colors and textures all combined in one piece- as a painter would. The result is both stunning but reserved at the same time. Bold without being showy. Your boxes, netsuke and earlier sword emsembles have a narrative about them

The leaf is beautiful but I got a bit of a feeling this was more of an exploratory piece for you. A sketch perhaps. Its narrative is also a bit more 'local' and focused

 

I hope I haven't said too much :(

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Jim and and Everyone,

This comment about your leaf is unacceptably late. I know you of all people do not need validation however, when something that beautiful is created which deeply touches the artistic soul the artist should know how that piece affects the viewer. That leaf and its form express the very finest design quality and craftsmanship. To capture something that is so temporary and fragile is astounding. I think it is one of your finest creations. Yours is not the only piece which has touched me and not the only piece I have not commented on. Many of the pieces pictured on this site are some of the finest work being created anywhere by anyone at any time. Knowing what superb work other artists create only helps me to strive to be a better artist. Sorry.

Dick

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Well, I for one have just started to get back into a semi normal routine. I say semi because I'm trying to get ahead with the boat load of work in my day job so I can take a Maine! vacation in July.

 

It's kinda good news I can get semi get back into a routine because the Atlanta Blade show just got over! woooo whooo! although I'm tired I can get to bed at a more reasonable time, thank God!. and the feeling in my little pinky fingers is coming back after a frenzy of hand sewing sheaths! whea!

 

but... not so quick

 

Not all is cut and dry though, starting Tuesday I need to go to Seattle for a 3 day commercial shoot. Time that I can't really spare at all! also let alone the fact the company's retreat is happening the first week in July. I need to do serveral presentations, Man where does all the time go!!

 

Immediatly after the Maine vacation I have another commercial shoot. I best be planing on the knives for the Reno show along with my MS test knives during my busiest time of the year!

 

yep, summer fun is here.

 

Now how the heck am I going to fit in the trip to LA for the king Tut exhibit? My sweetheart will be pretty upset if we don't make that.

 

I have alot of catching up to do I'm excited to check out the leaf

 

 

Rik

 

BTW: Jim, I think of you often, infact you can ask my son (because my hands were full) I told him to pick up the coolest dying/dead leaf for you I want to send it to you its small but cool!

please send me your mailing address and I'll have Kath mail it out to you

 

rikpalm at knifesmith dot com

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Hi Jim,

 

I can really appreciate what you are saying.  We all need feedback and responses to our posts.  :)  It is frustrating to go to all that work and not receive substantial feedback.  I love your leaf carving...the choice of wood and the way you chose to work the design in conjuction with that serves to amplify the feeling communicated by the subject of the leaf.  It's a beautiful piece.  I am curious about one thing...the fact that you chose to have the stem stand seperately and project out into space, rather than curving it back to attach to the leaf....were you concerned about the stability of this element?  I have never carved the wood you chose for this piece, but, I assume it is extremely dense and can easily accomodate such an element?  I also love the piercing on this carving...lovely.  I am quite interested in the idea of pierced carvings. 

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback! So many thoughtful comments. I think mostly I was missing the community which now I know is there even though maybe silent.

 

Kathleen, that's a good question about the stem and one I thought long and hard about. I played a bit with a scrap piece of the same wood before beginning and decided about the stem and how thin I could go on the edges of the leaf itself. I also payed a lot of attention to the grain orientation as it goes through the stem to keep the fibers long. Obviously if it's dropped the chances are pretty good of it breaking, but I figure if it's given reasonable care it should hold up fine. It's quite tough stuff.

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My thoughts were like Tom's.  Difficult to critique someone who is so much more advanced... But since you asked :) .  One of the things I like most about your work Jim is the combination of materials, patina, colors and textures all combined in one piece- as a painter would.  The result is both stunning but reserved at the same time.  Bold without being showy.  Your boxes, netsuke and earlier sword emsembles have a narrative about them

The leaf is beautiful but I got a bit of a feeling this was more of an exploratory piece for you. A sketch perhaps. Its narrative is also a bit more 'local' and focused

 

I hope I haven't said too much :(

 

Thanks Doug. This piece was certainly a challenging adventure in being the most purely sculptural work I have done. I think the narrative is more implied than explicit as perhaps most of my other work is. Not sure what you mean by "local" and focused narrative. That could mean several different things.

 

Too much said? I don't think so.... :)

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Being a new member and amature carver I don't feel that I can say much except that it is great work and beautiful material. But, I can say that not everyone sees things in the same way. I love to carve leaves (seldom do I have one that looks quite real)--I saw a carved ivory, rolled leaf in a netsuke exhibit and thought I would love to do one like that. Upon returning home I found a piece of antler that happen to be close to the shape I wanted. Spent several days carving the leaf to my satisfaction--I was quite happy with the results--showed it to my wife and daughter--"Whats it suppose to be?" was the response from both. However, at a show a lady walked by, glanced into my case and said "what a wonderful leaf". Sometimes we see something wonerful and don't think we need to comment.

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Local and focused- I guess that was a bit vague. Your work, to me, generally shows a story or narrative- a peony being blown by the wind, a frog taking time out for a cup of tea, a moth that has just settled on to a weathered piece of wood, to give a few examples.

The leaf however, just stands as a leaf, nothing more or less, but complete like anything else in this world. It's a very straightforward take-it-or-leave-it statement which is perhaps why it is difficult to comment on.

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Jim Kelso; I was astounded when you started the piece. I am still that way. it was awesome. I could not get over it. I printed several of the pictures.

 

There are several of us old phfarts that gang up, in the afternoons at the local coffeeshop. I knew I would have to have proof of your leaf. They kept looking and looking. They were like me, astounded that someone could do such a tremendous carving job on a piece of dry wood. :)

 

You have to keep in mind that a lot of us do not feel qualifyed to make comments on something we are not capable of repeating.

 

MUCHAS GRACIAS, por la dia de escuela . :blink:

 

Just an old broke down cow puncher. :)

 

Chuck

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Thanks all for the comments, I appreciate it a lot.

 

Howdy Clive. In two different times I had doubts about pulling it off. Early on in a carving fully in the round there's a point where almost any carving will look like a lump. I call it the "turd" stage.(hope I don't offend any of our more delicate members :)) I know you'll be familiar with this phenomenon, especially Clive with his work(just kidding of course). The turd stage seemed to last a long time with this piece as I had to move very slowly making decisions about all the elements, and frankly there were times when I had to push through some very doubtful moments. Jean was very helpful in these times as she could see the progress from more of a distance than I.

 

The other sketchy moment was working out the vein/texture relationship, and how to produce a consistent result. I tried a couple of different approaches that didn't work out. This was not so troubling as it was a matter of trying things early on enough when I still had enough material to

"erase".

 

Clive: are we going to see any of your fantastic work? :blink: Cheers

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I know this is late in the post, but I sort of gave up on that particular thread when you seemed to. At one point you put yourself down and the value of your post. It seemed like you gave up on it in a sense. For me that tutorial lost all its momentum at that point.

It seemed like you ran out of things to say.

There may not have been much in the complexity of tooling techniques to communicate (though that is relative to the reader). Beyond that it is about the mental process of choosing where to put the tools. Why is important to have the veining in a certain proportion or consistency. Why is one texture going to work here better than another? I think with something like this there is more to describe than your shoes. Lets hear about the journey and why you choose to go left here instead of right. A mixture of tool/tech and a critical look at the whys and what effects they may have on the feel of the piece. That might help flesh out the tutorial part. Other wise perhaps it would be better to just share the work as it goes give some insight as to what your doing and how, but leave the pressure and burden of tutorial behind and just "show and tell". You went to an awful lot of effort to make that tutorial and you haven’t been very satisfied with it. I think making a tutorial puts the majority of the burden on oneself to flesh out the process. There seems to be fewer responses to tutorials. A show and tell is more of a mystery and invites questions more readily. One doesn’t have to worry that a question is going to be answered in the next installment so you Just ask away. Tutorials also are not inviting for critiques after all you are the one teaching the tutorial it would be impolite to question your process or make suggestion in that circumstance. I hesitate to interrupt tutorials with questions because I don’t always like wading through them from other people.

As too the isolation I can relate. Forums are a great outlet for me. I have many virtual friends and almost never have real company out here. I am surrounded by beauty, nature, and animals, but no people. The locals generally just comment on how weird my occupation is or ask me why I would want to do what I am doing. Very little in the way of appreciation, just allot of cocked heads. I do what I do because it is my path, but along the way it is also art. If no one appreciates that art besides ourselves then we not only can’t pay the rent, but self esteem and creativity may suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

OK, I'm going to get this off my chest. I finished the post of my leaf carving last night and other than Janel there has been no comment, in spite of more than a hundred views. It's not that I'm looking for validation, it just seems strange that no one has anything to say: good, bad or, I was going to say indifferent, but I guess that's it. I posted a link on Don's Knifemakers' Forum late last night and there were five comments when I looked this morning.

 

I have to say that for the last two months I have been so absorbed in life stuff that I haven't had the time to give to the forum that I would like and I'm sure all of us have those moments, but let's say if half of those 100 views sugars down to 50 individuals, is everyone stretched to the max?

 

Anyone there?

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Patrick, I like what you have to say about the tutorials and show and tell.

 

There is truth to the concept of not wanting to interrupt a tutorial in mid presentation. Perhaps a secondary topic related to the tutorial could be started where Q&A could take place. The Forum software brings attention the new postings, so one could be kept abreast of new entries in either.

 

Thanks also for sharing about the isolation and your surroundings, and the virutal friendships that the forums engender. I am isolated from like-minded carvers, but do live in a mid-western rural area where there are everyday people around. Over the years, I've just stopped trying to explain what I do unless there is some interest in what I do. When my web site went on line in the late 90's I began to build friendships from around the world with email. The forum has been a great way to feel connected to others who do not need the basic introductions to what I am doing. Knowledgable conversations, interesting topics and humor spice up this place.

 

Thanks for your message, Patrick.

 

Janel

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Thanks Janel,

I like your idea of a second thread for queastions. If they were linked somehow it would be really organized and less intimidating. Set that up right after the picture limit bug is fixed hehe ;)

 

 

Patrick,  I like what you have to say about the tutorials and show and tell. 

 

There is truth to the concept of not wanting to interrupt a tutorial in mid presentation.  Perhaps a secondary topic related to the tutorial could be started where Q&A could take place.  The Forum software brings attention the new postings, so one could be kept abreast of new entries in either.

 

Thanks also for sharing about the isolation and your surroundings, and the virutal friendships that the forums engender.  I am isolated from like-minded carvers, but do live in a mid-western rural area where there are everyday people around.  Over the years, I've just stopped trying to explain what I do unless there is some interest in what I do.  When my web site went on line in the late 90's I began to build friendships from around the world with email.  The forum has been a great way to feel connected to others who do not need the basic introductions to what I am doing.  Knowledgable conversations, interesting topics and humor spice up this place.

 

Thanks for your message, Patrick.

 

Janel

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Guest Clive
Ahhhhh.....Clive....the mystery man....when do the rest of us get to be graced with images of your work?

 

I've been called a lot of things.. but never a mystery man. I'm just shy. ;)

Kinsey once sent me an image of a heron I did years ago...... I'll post that, OK.

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Patrick and others,

 

I suggest that when someone begins a new Tutorial Topic, that a second one is begun with an identical Topic name with Q&A as the Description field. For example:

 

Tutorials

Carving and Polishing Antler, sequential photos & text

Carving and Polishing Antler, Q&A

 

The Topic field is first before the "," (comma), the description field is shown after the "," (comma)

 

I know, I know, this is boring, but it might help with the flow and integrity of the tutorial as well as the Q&A.

 

Now, to just remember this when the next tutorial is posted!

 

Janel

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