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Hi from Cheltenham UK


Clark

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Hello to everyone at The Carving Path. My name is Colin Clark and I was very excited when I stumbled upon Janel's website and found the link to TCP. I began carving while at college during the early 1980's and stopped in the late 80's due to finding it financially impossible to make a living just from carving and the objects I made. So I haven't carved for 20years! I was however, greatly inspired by Janel's site and images of her work and dusted off my tools and boxes of materials. I trained as a Goldsmith and made jewellery (teaching jewellery making for 15 years too) but stopped making jewellery in 1998 as I grew dissatisfied with living hand to mouth for so long. My real love was carving and fine repousse in silver & gold but there was little scope for that while I needed to earn a living.

 

I took some close up photos of my old work to put up onto the site. The round brooch is boxwood with silver fittings on the reverse and the other, an unfinished piece made from an ivory Victorian button blank found in a box of half finished buttons at auction. I would never use Ivory again unless mammoth and I doubt if this small carving will ever become a finished work. The pieces are however over twenty years old but there is a work in progress in the box that I never finished. I'll start work on this again and put some images of it onto the 'show and tell' area as it progresses. I must say, it's very exciting to be in touch with other carvers. For many years in the UK - especially in the Cotswolds in England where I'm from - I was really the only one apart from Guy Shaw, Michael Webb and Sue Wraight who carved small netsuke like forms. I wrote about her work while writing my thesis on the influence of Japanese art & craft work on British craft design.

 

In the 80's there were two major exhibitions of Japanese art & craft work at the Royal Academy in London both called The Great Japan Exhibition, and it was here that I encountered my first Netsuke carvings. After this I bought and borrowed every book I could find on Netsuke & Ojime carving. Several students in the year previous to mine were into carving and fine repousse work so I had a good backdrop against which to develop my interest. I collected and procured a lot of materials during this time and when I left college this 'magpie' like tendency continued until I had filled any spare space with boxwood, African Blackwood and other exotic hardwoods even cannibalising my family's collection of ebony elephants in order to have materials to carve. Most of this wood is still with me and now seasoned for at least the last 15 to 20 years in dry storage.

 

In the early days after college when I was starting up my business I also bought a lathe and learned to do some small scale turning producing what I called 'spinning top boxes'. The first ones proved that it could be done and I carved the outsides of these to look like seed pods or whirling tornadoes. Unfortunately they were hard to sell or produce in any quantity. Ten years ago I swopped my larger woodturning lathe for a small watchmakers lathe but have not had time or space to set this up now that I no longer have a workshop. While working as a Goldsmith I became interested in hard stone carving but never had the opportunity or time to do anything with this although collected some diamond burrs and files to have a go. Now that my eyesight isn't what it used to be I hope I can still work in the detail that I used to! I'm glad there are so many 'visual aids' out there and any suggestions in this regard would be appreciated from those who may be in the same boat as me with regard to eyesight.

 

It's a great pleasure to be able to join this forum and I hope to contribute regularly now that I’ve resurrected my passion.

 

Regards to you all,

 

Colin Clark.

 

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Brooch in Boxwood with Silver Fittings (2.75inches diam)

 

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Carved from an Ivory Victorian button blank (1.4 inches wide X 1/8 inch thick)

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Thanks Jim and Janel. I look forward to getting cracking again and putting my old skills back together and learning new ones. I was very keen on Japanese metalwork chasing, colouring and inlay as a student but only had a limited amount of time to pursue any of these elements. I enjoyed your website very much Jim and I've spent a little time viewing your tutorial section. Lots to learn from there and the segment on inlaying the owl into shibuichi was extremely enlightening as it was a technique I used simply in the past but did not get the chance to experiment with to any degree. I look forward to learning more about Shibuichi & Shakudo alloying and patinating.

 

As a chance to share information the TCP site is wonderful and I feel very welcome and inspired.

 

Thanks

 

Colin.

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Thanks Freda. I'm glad to be in touch with another UK based carver. I've had a very warm welcome and i'm starting to construct a small work area. I don't know about you but when I started pulling my tools together I was amazed I ever found room to have them all out and ready for use in my old workshop. Out of interest, how do you lay out your workspace and what kind of space do you need for your own carving work?

 

Regards,

 

Colin.

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Thanks for the welcome Phil. I'll certainly post images of any new work as it progresses and when pieces are finished if both are of interest. I was hunting around for images of my more interesting jewellery/boxes and it may be interesting for members to see some of those images to know what I used to do in terms of metalwork. Obviously a lot has changed since I made them so perhaps it would be better to focus on new work.

 

Colin.

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Hi Clark,

 

I see Janel's directed you towards the threads about workshop space. For myself, we don't have any more workshop/study space, so my tools, etc. are stored in large office boxes under my desk and I work on an old bread board on my work desk. It does get messy when I've pulled out all I need, but it does make me me pack up and clean regularly. Not everybody's solution, though!

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Thanks for the Link Janel and thanks Freda for reminding me that you can really carve just about anywhere when you want to. I was very heartened by seeing so many different ways of working and so many different types of tools in use. I used to use a 1960's rotary dental drill which was cantilevered to take the weight off your hand while 'drilling'. I bought several different hand pieces for it and I'll add an image of this remarkable bit of engineering when I get a chance to set it up again, along with the current tools in my arsenal.

 

Thanks again Janel for your encouragement and kind words before I joined the forum

 

Colin.

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