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Stag antler netsuke


Ko Baas

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It's been a while since my last post. Now I would like to show you my latest netsuke.

They are all made of stag antler, from the same pair of antlers in fact. They where very dens antlers, not much marrow.

 

The mukogyo (Temple bell) is 4.5 cm long and hollowed. It sounds nice when tapped with a fingernail.

 

The praying mantis on bamboe is 8.5 cm long and not stained. The eyes are made of horn.

 

The elefant is 4 cm long and has black horn pupills.

 

I find stag horn a very nice material but very difficult to carve.

 

post-142-1252514777.jpg

 

Ko Baas

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So beautiful! I like them very much! I wonder how does the bell sound? How was it possible to do?

The praying mantis looks so kingly! :o Did You bleach it? Very ideal quality!

I have a couple of elk horns, they have greyish color because from the North of Russia. I heard that European elk has very nice warm light beige color. I'm going to use my horn soon, is it very difficult for carving and polishing? ;)

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Thank you Natasha,

 

The bell souns like a hollow wooden thing. Difficult to discribe.

I didn't bleach the praying mantis. It's the natural color of this antler. It has a nice yellow tone, most antlers are more greyish.

 

The carving is hard work with hand tools. It doesn't cut like wood and it doesn't shave like ivory. It's more scratching and scraping.

The material is hard and tough. But it can be polished very easily to a high gloss.

 

Ko Baas

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Ko.. while I recognise your obvious carving ability, I do wonder if you ever yearn to carve something original.. please don't take offence.. none is meant, but your pieces (To quote you.. "my netsuke" ? ) are virtually copies of old Japanese pieces, with the odd little natural deviation.. OK if that what you're into, but surely you are capable of your own creations.. go on.. show us what you really can do. ;)

 

Regards

Clive

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No offence taken Clive, but let me explain what drives me.

 

First of all I realy like old netsuke. The reason I started carving netsuke was because I couldn't afford to buy good old netsuke. So I tried to carve my own. And after a while they turned out real nice. If I had never seen old netsuke I probebly wouldn't be carving at all now. It is now my hobby and I do it only for my own pleasure. So I only make thing I like. And I make them as close to functional netsuke as I can get. As to originality, the Japanese carvers very often copied each other. Pupils copied their teachers work and singned them with his name. Or the teacher signed the pupils best carvings as his own. Copying the teachers work was considered a tribute to the teacher. In a way I follow these traditions.

 

I'm very happy with the way I work. I see myself more as a craftsman than an artist. And I do consider my carvings as "my netsuke".

But on the other hand I must admit I would like to create something original. But I can't draw. I can't get my ideas visualized on paper to work with. And then there is still the question "What is original?" Almost everything has been done before in endless variations. Is exact copying from nature original? As the Japanese sometimes did in their okimono. Is stylized copiying from nature original? Are these trilobyte netsuke I made after fossiles original? I don't know.

 

post-142-1252514841.jpgpost-142-1252514849.jpg post-142-1252514865.jpgpost-142-1252514857.jpg

 

 

Ko Baas

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Hi Ko Baas. First, i like your work, copy or not copy, i think you are a good carver. Second, i think you can carve what you want. I'm a bad drawer, but i draw just the biggest volumes, and after, i carve. When you carve, you use a model or a photo ? Sometimes, i take a dead leaf on the ground, and i carve it. You can do the same, and it's not a copy.

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Lovely work, Ko

 

I find your thoughts on your work very interesting. I often consider what I do to be more fine craft than fine art, and was never really particular about being called an artist or a craftsman, and I am frequently called both. Although it is not a contemporary point of view, many would argue that a work of art is an object that is well-made. In the end, the work speaks for itself.

 

Should you decide to give in to your desire to create something that is not based on olderr work, I am sure you will excell at it.

 

Phil

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Well said Doug. Perhaps its also worth pointing out that the apprentice of old copying his masters piece is very different from making a reproduction of that carving 200 years on with all its patina and wear. Its also important not to use our modern values to make romantic assumptions about those old Japanese netsuke carving schools. Notions of honour and tradition based motivations simply doesn't recognise that those young apprentice simply did as they were told.. and that the vast majority of those netsuke where sold by the bucket load.. (in the case of ivory by weight) and where made to put rice on the table.

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Please don't use the rationalization "following traditions" to hide behind. Copying is a fine means to learn, but please give credit to those artists, living or dead, whom you copy. We're not talking about finding a leaf on the ground here. Let's call a spade a spade.

Hi all, when i say that i take a dead leaf on the ground to carve it, it's just to say that it's as difficult as carve a copy of an ancient netsuke.

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Interesting discussion but I think the question of originality is very hard to anwser. So for now I continu making things I like, that is patinated worn copies of old netsuke starting with a stag antler Baku tonight.

 

I would like show you another netsuke I made from a short thick boar tusk. I just imagened a birds head in it and used some photo's of birds of prey to carve it. Don't ask what kind of bird it is.

So i didn't copy it from an old netsuke. But the subject has been done by many other carvers before.

Is it original? Who has an opinion?

 

post-142-1252515081.jpgpost-142-1252515073.jpg post-142-1252515242.jpg

 

 

Ko Baas

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Thanks very much Ko for sharing your work. I guess I too would encourage anyone with your skill and command of form and line to be more adventurous.

 

Clive and Doug, I'm all for encouraging "original" work, whatever we take that to mean. Any chance of seeing either of your work at tcp? Are you still carving? Hope so.

 

Jim

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Thanks very much Ko for sharing your work. I guess I too would encourage anyone with your skill and command of form and line to be more adventurous.

 

Clive and Doug, I'm all for encouraging "original" work, whatever we take that to mean. Any chance of seeing either of your work at tcp? Are you still carving? Hope so.

 

Jim

 

;) Swine lol ... I guess I asked for that.. Fair cop guv... I'll take and post some pics of my very next completed piece.. should be in a couple of weeks... not that I'm changing my opinion on the whole photography issue, you understand... just this one time. :o

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Helo All,

Ko,

I always enjoy your carvings - it's obvious you understand line, form and all the other elements of good design. I would encourage you to explore more of your own "inner vision" toward new pieces. However you choose to express - keep up the good work and thanks for sharing!

Clive,

I am so very much looking forward to seeing a glimpse of your new work (Even in a photo) - thank you in advance!

Doug,

Always glad to see your work as well.

Blessings,

Magnus

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Hi Jim, don't be sorry. Thanks to you we get to see Clive's work! :blush:

Besides that, I learned a lot from this post. That what this forum is for. My friends and family like everything I make. It needs an outsider to point out the week spots.

It made me aware of a challange. Carving "original" work. I don't know how or what yet but I gave it serious thoughts and will surely give it a try.

 

Ko

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Ko,

Thanks for sharing your work. I was especially interested because I too work in antler. I don't really care if they are copies of someone else's work. You have the skill to carve anything you want, so do what you like.

 

Please share more of your work. I will be watching for your post.

BTW, I use a carbide burr in a dremel tool to rough my carvings out.

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I don't really care if they are copies of someone else's work. You have the skill to carve anything you want, so do what you like.

 

So presumably you are the type of character that would do this..

 

Rip-Off Announcement From Susan Wraight, Has anyone else had this problem?

 

http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=1861

 

OR the Rip-off that our own Natasha has had to deal with.

 

The age of the piece copied is irrelavent.

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It seems to me that there are two issues here getting conflated into one. There is an issue of copying, then there is an issue of faking. The two are not necessarily the same. Ko is carving old designs for his own pleasure, not, as far as I know, trying to pass them off as anything but that. They are signed with his own signature, I believe, indicating clearly the source.

 

Faking with intent to deceive is another matter entirely. I think a little more tact may be in order when tossing out or insinuating rip-off claims.

 

The core issue seems to me to be that of misrepresentation, which is clearly the case in the Susan and Natasha incidents, and, we hope, is not the case with anyone participating here. Haven't seen any evidence to indicate otherwise.

 

Jim

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What the hell are you talking about Jim? ... There are established modes for artists to present to PUBLIC such work... if Ko makes a copy of a Hare carved by the 19th century carver Masatsugu then it should be presented using the preposition after.. "Ko Baas 2009, Hare after Masatsugu 19th century." If the original carving is unsigned then as much information as can be ascertained should be given. No ifs or buts.. no exceptions. Further more.. while the Susan incident was a clear case of fake, the piece being represented as an original work by our good friend.. that was not the case for Natasha's carving or my own "copied" works where only the design not the signature was stolen.

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