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New Kiwi onboard


Billy

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Hi everybody. Great to be part of this site and look forward to learning, and sharing, as much as i can.

 

I've been carving for about 4 years now, and growing up in a predominantly Maori neighbourhood, and with strong family ties to the iwi (tribes) Ngapuhi and Ngati Toarangatira, my interest in New Zealand and Maori arts and culture was inevitable.

 

An Art Director and Graphic Designer by trade, I use those skills with a cultural influence to create traditional and contemporary carvings for display and adornment. I like to work in many mediums, preferring more traditional materials like whalebone when available, but happy working in antler, beef bone and other ivory. I’m also looking forward to moving into Pounamu (Greenstone or New Zealand Jadite) and Jade in the not so distant future.

 

For my carvings, I look into our history for inspiration, and our environment for guidance. I’m driven by the wonderful talent that resides in our local artists, brought out through their own heritage and culture. I'm sure I will find much influence from many of you as well.

 

I hope to talk to you all soon. I've included a couple of pieces to share.

 

Thanks, Billy

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Welcome to The carving Path forum!

 

Thank you for the great introduction and the photos. I find the way you have lashed the carved pieces to the cord to be an interesting technique and decorative element. I like the second piece very much for its elegance and simplicity, while showing off the material.

 

Janel

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Kia ora. Thanks guys for you welcome and kind words.

 

Yes Janel, thanks. I do a number of different lashings for my carvings. This is the flavour at the mo, but it depends on what sort of carving I'm doing. The piece in question was a lovely piece of whale bone from a sperm whale stranding many years ago. It sold with-in a few days of being on display in the gallery.

 

Thanks again. Hopefully talk again soon

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Hey Billy,

 

Your work is really nice mate. I've only been carving for a little while but the one thing I want to learn more about is the lashings. I've started doing some nice ones but I can't find any info on the traditional style lashings. If you have any pointers or you know somewhere on the net that has good tutorials, please let me know. There have been a few of us on this forum trying to find out but to no avail.

 

Thanks for any help,

 

Damien

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Hey Irishcarver.

 

Thanks for the comments. I learnt most of them from a book called Bone Carving – A Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts by Stephen Myhre:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bone-Carving-Skillba...s/dp/0790000393

 

If you have any trouble getting it, I can get one here in NZ and send it to you. we can sort something out.

 

The lashings in most the photos, I just taught myself. Just threading through the hole twice and basic knot. then carefully burning the waxed nylon to keep the knot tight.

 

The book has some great lashing techniques as well as carving techniques that many people here at this forum have learnt from. The book is highly recommended. Having said that. The lashing techniques take a lot of working out even though Stephen explains it as well as he can. I've exhausted many avenues trying to find more info on traditional lashings, and eventually I resorted back to Stephen's book to learn. It took me a lot of practice and studying the instructions but finally got there. Some people I'm sure would pick it up straight away...others I know, never worked it out.

 

That's your best bet, get the book and have a go. Good luck.

 

I've attached some pics to show you some of the lashings i learnt from the book. Feel free to ask me anything else, Billy.

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Once you've knotted the waxed nylon, it can still slip and come undone. By gently heating the nylon up with a lighter or match, the wax melts and forms a kind of seal so the knot doesn't slip. You need to have some practice runs so you get the right amount of heat, otherwise you risk burning right through the nylon.

 

If done correctly, it creates like a small ball and helps the finish to be a bit neater as well.

 

Does that answer your question, Janel?

 

I can upload some pics if members still aren't clear

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Hi Billy,

 

First I was excited to find this forum, and now that I see the caliber of craftsmen here, willing to share their knowledge, I'm practically in a frenzy. My Name is Steve and I have only just recently been introduced to bone carving while spending a year traveling New Zealand. It seems however that the bulk of the bone carvings you will find in shops is sloppy rotary tool knock off. Just to see a truly skilled bone carvers work is rare, let alone finding an opportunity to learn from them, New Zealand bone carvers are world renown. I have not been carving long, but I did have the good fortune of having a skilled teacher for the first bit. I have started by imitation, simple pieces, 2 dimensional, hooks, koru, tiki, all just as souvenirs for family. From reading books on bone carving and carvers I been introduced to a whole new level. That edging you have done is unlike anything I have seen, it is beautiful, and the precision is immaculate. Are you using a fret saw? I have Stephen Myhre's book (great investment). I'm working on upping my game with the hand gravers but resources are rare. There were a lot of different ones in a picture at the start of the book but not a lot on technique or what tools to make what shapes. Your pieces look amazing, I only wish I could see them in person.

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Hi Steve.

 

Firstly, thank you for your kind words. I'm proud of my carvings, but having said that, I also feel I have so far to go – but what a wonderful journey it is.

 

Unfortunately there are a lot of cheap knock offs in NZ. They come from China and the government turns a blind eye because of the revenue they receive from the GST. There is however some wonderful galleries all over NZ that sell and promote NZ made and crafted products. There is also products under a certain label that prove that the carving was crafted by Maori. I guess you've got to know where to look.....probably where the tourists aren't.

 

I do use a fret saw, as well as a belt sander and files to get my basic edges. Then honed with finer sandpaper.

 

Feel free to ask me anything you want. But I still feel in myself I am an amatuer, but I'm lucky enough to have many amazing craftspeople in close proximity.

 

There are a number of carvers who make their own tools – gravers and such, and sell them to other carvers. If there is something specific you need that you're having great difficulty getting, let me know and we'll try and work something out.

 

Thanks again Steve, and good luck with your carving.

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Hey Billy.

 

Thanks for the info mate. The lashings are just what I wanted. Someday when I get over there I'm gonna have to meet up with you and others for some reals lessons. When you do the lashing how do you do the wrap itself? Do you do a figure eight or something like that? If you ever get round to making a small video slip with how you do it, that would be cool. Anyways, as you said, you may be a novice but your work is really nice. Its a great inspiration for us true novices. Thanks for the help, much appreciated. This internet thing makes life easy these days!!

 

Later man,

 

Damien

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Hey Damien.

 

I guess it's not that easy to explain in words. Stephen uses words and pictures and it still takes some working out.

 

A video is a great idea. I shall endeavor to do so. Not sure when, but stay tuned.

 

It would be great to see some fellow carvers down here in NZ from overseas. I'm sure we'll teach each other a few things.

 

Haere rā, Billy.

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Kia Ora Billy,

 

I meant to ask in my last post if you had a site I could visit to see more of your work or if you knew of other Maori artist's sites (or even any other site worth visiting). Is the yellow piece in the first lot of photo's whale ivory? It looks amazing. I also noticed some coloring in the third piece in your second set of pictures, is that natural? The carver I learned from never bleached or completely degreased his bones, and having scavenged what bone I have from friends piles of home kill, mine tend to have a lot of color, brought out even more with wear.

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Hey Steve.

 

The yellow carving is a Sperm Whale tooth and other you pointed out is Deer Antler. You can check out some more of my work at www.rongomau.co.nz but I think you've seen most. I haven't updated it in a while as I have redesigned the whole site and will be updating it completely, along with new work.

 

Try some of these sites:

 

http://www.art-jewelery.com/

http://www.bonecarving.co.nz/

http://kiwibone.com/

http://www.rangikipa.com/

http://www.tribalcreation.com/index.aspx?site=630

 

Enjoy.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hey Irishcarver.

 

Thanks for the comments. I learnt most of them from a book called Bone Carving – A Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts by Stephen Myhre:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Bone-Carving-Skillba...s/dp/0790000393

 

If you have any trouble getting it, I can get one here in NZ and send it to you. we can sort something out.

 

The lashings in most the photos, I just taught myself. Just threading through the hole twice and basic knot. then carefully burning the waxed nylon to keep the knot tight.

 

The book has some great lashing techniques as well as carving techniques that many people here at this forum have learnt from. The book is highly recommended. Having said that. The lashing techniques take a lot of working out even though Stephen explains it as well as he can. I've exhausted many avenues trying to find more info on traditional lashings, and eventually I resorted back to Stephen's book to learn. It took me a lot of practice and studying the instructions but finally got there. Some people I'm sure would pick it up straight away...others I know, never worked it out.

 

That's your best bet, get the book and have a go. Good luck.

 

I've attached some pics to show you some of the lashings i learnt from the book. Feel free to ask me anything else, Billy.

 

Hi Billy,

Welcome to TCP, Nice to find you here too. I Love the pieces you are doing in bone. I've carved several bone pieces and find that the bone really brings out a lot in ou as it seems it pulls more and more detail ability from somewhere you didn't know existed.

Met you over on TC earlier.

I purchased the book from Treelineusa.com and it was about the same had I gotten it from the NZ store. Nice book.

Looking forward to more of your carvings.

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Thanks for your comments, Benzart.

 

Yes, it is a good book. But I must admit, the longer you carve, the more you teach yourself.

 

Good luck, and I hope we can share some stuff soon

 

Kia ora, Billy.

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