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Hi everyone,

 

I posted an image of my first "Laukolu" (Three Leaves) carving, which was bone, in the Who's Who forum. Christophe said he'd like to see the jade version so here it is. But can I take a moment to talk about the bone version?

 

My teacher, Stacy Gordine, was here for the months of June and December in 2010 and under his guidance I made three carvings. After he went back to NZ I got ambitious and set to work carving the bone Laukolu. I was real happy with how it turned out but I was too inexperienced to understand the limitations of the materials at hand. Those areas where the leaves curl under are carved clear through. The three leaves are all cantilevered over and under each other at the three points where the stems and tips overlap, and those are the only points of contact. To make matters worse I drastically undercut the stem tips to drive home the point that they were separate and distinct from the leaf tips. Anyway, while planning how I was going to lash the piece it slipped from my fingers and fell from a height of about one inch to my desk where it broke like a baby bird skeleton into three lovely and individual little leaves.

 

It was a hard lesson. Glad I got a photograph of it. But I wasn't ready to go out onto the thin ice without my teacher's guidance. When he came back the next summer he helped me strategize how to do it more successfully out of jade. He said that if the impression is created that's good enough, and I didn't have to carve those little tunnels all the way through, especially since you'd have to crane your eyeballs in there to see them. He showed me how to leave these little connecting posts between the leaves where they crossed over each other but where you'd never see them unless you really tried. You can see their presence implied by the way the cord goes in and around one of them.

 

Sorry to bore you with all this but since this place is about sharing information, I wanted to share something I learned from all this. My lesson was not to let my ego get in the way of practicalilty, not to get too show-offy. Push the envelope yeah, but listen to your guts when they tell you to go easy.

 

Plus in the interest of full disclosure I didn't want to post an image of something like it actually exists when in reality it's history.

 

So for anyone who missed it here's the bone version followed by the jade version.

 

Aloha,

 

Tom

 

 

Laukolu1.jpgLaukolu2.jpg

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Thank you for the word illustration that helps to visualize what we are not seeing in the photographs. I had not realized how much more of a challenge this bone piece was for you with only the stem and leaf tips connecting. It takes a very patient person to bring such a piece to a successful conclusion, and to accept the lesson of its final transition when it landed on the desk. What a breathless moment I could imagine.

 

What is/are/was the dimensions of these pieces?

 

Janel

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Well, one is a is and one is a was, but since they're both gone now I only have the paper template that I used to transfer the image to the material. The template measures just under 1 5/8" at its widest.

 

Now I'm remembering something Stacy told me early on, which is that he keeps records of all his carvings which include materials, dimensions, carving time, and photos. I did the photos from the beginning, and for the last several pieces I've started tracking carving time. But an ongoing record such as he described might not be a bad idea in the long run.

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Thank you Tom, that helps me put them into perspective. Tight quarters for carving such open pieces. Do you have a recollection of how deep they were? I am one who agrees with Stacy about keeping records. Others don't, and maybe they might have more time for a few more carvings in their lifetimes. It is a commitment that takes just a little more time.

 

I, too, keep records of each piece. This could actually be a subject for a new topic. Long ago, when individual pieces emerged as the norm with carved porcelain, titles were not enough to keep the pieces straight when several were sent to galleries, etc. I began to number the pieces, either on paper with the dimensions and particulars about the designs, dates, materials, carving time, etc., or in a hidden place inside the lid, in the case of porcelain boxes. I also photographed everything, and that persists to this day. Now all of the carved wood piece's numbers are only in the records kept for each piece, while the photos taken will bear that number as well.

 

Are you carving something new now?

 

Janel

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Thanks Janel for confirming to me the importance of the record keeping. I'm going to start being more acurate with my records. Maybe even photograph them laying down against a ruler.

 

The bone one was just your average cow bone thickness. maybe one quarter inch? The jade was probably the same or slightly thicker to begin with anyway.

 

I finished a piece a couple of weeks ago and have been working on another one since then. Available time in the studio has been spotty for me lately. But she's coming out nice I think ("she" is kind of a mermaid but not really - inspired by stories from our area). I look forward to putting up some pictures of her soon.

 

The last piece I did was inspired by a hula that I've seen where they make these designs with string. Kind of like cat's cradles? The stain took in a really unpredictable way I know, but it all kind of goes with the earthy organic quality of the piece. Or so I tell myself.

 

Don't know if it's ok to put it here or start a new topic, but here it is.

 

Tom

 

Abstract2-1.jpg

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Hi Tom,

 

Thanks for sharing the story and jade version. I, also, had experience with breaking carving (not as fine as your, though) but I can understand how you felt about it...Apparently true lesson can only be learn the hard way....;)

Your jade version is quite amazing too. Congratulations

 

Christophe

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Thanks Christophe,

 

You know the night that it broke, I was confering with a good friend about how to lash it because I had just finished it that day. We were handing it back and forth and it happened to be in my hand when it fell. I'm grateful it happened that way because it didn't leave me any room to blame any other person. It was 100% "what could I have done differently?" Kind of helped me cut to the chase, personal growth-wise.

 

Anyways, thanks for the kind remarks.

 

Tom

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Hallo Tom,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

What an amazing read (intro and here).

Your journey is a fast forward on every level. And the outcomes are little wonders to behold.

 

As I work mostly with agates, your description of your jade-work is especially interesting to me.

Janel already asked all the questions I had, but I still would like to ask as to your estimate as to how long the jade piece took.

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Tom,

 

Beautiful work. The jade piece is extremely well done, I especially like the choice of finish.

 

Sorry to hear about the bone piece. It happens to all of us, mostly it happens to me in the last stage of finish. The wheel grabs it out of my tired hands and flings it across the room onto the tile floor where the preditable happens. I've learned to wait til the next day after my hands have recovered.

 

Your work is really good. I look forward to seeing more in the future.

 

Debbie K

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Thanks Debbie, and everyone else who has reminded me that I am not the only one to has gone through this.

 

And Kurt, it's hard to say about the carving time on the jade piece. First of all it was the only time I've ever worked with jade, so even if I was keeping track of the time it would have been really slow. Also, the jewelry class was only one of four modules in this program I was in. We also had bowl turning, printmaking and weaving. So we had to divide our time among the four classes during that month. I tended to gravitate towards the carving stations as often as possible, spending almost all my open studio time there (they actually gave me a key to lock up because I just wouldn't leave). I'm guessing I might have spent at least forty hours on that jade.

 

Nowadays I keep a notebook in my kit and as soon as my dust mask goes on I write down the time and as soon as it comes off I write down the time, even if only five minutes go by before the phone rings or one of my kids gets all demanding. That way I know to the minute how long a piece takes, at least during the carving part. The filing and sanding is more when I can/where I can, so I end up ballparking that phase. I mainly want to see if I'm getting any faster.

 

So far, not really.

 

Tom

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Hi Tom,

 

Taking photos with a ruler is okay for your records, but also take good photos without the ruler for the public viewing. The ruler, or coin or egg, what ever the item might be, tends to distract the viewer away from the artist's work.

 

I use a little timer, that counts up from zero by seconds, minutes and hours. I have a hand written conversion reference that translates the 60 second/60 minute/and hours into a decimal numbers which are easier to add up at the end of a carving. I just punch the timer on and off, and on and off, as the interruptions are handled. At the end of the carving day I have one number to translate into decimal numbers, which gets recorded in the little book in the drawer by the carving bench. For instance: 2.45 on the timer = 2.75 in decimals.

 

You may post new topics with each piece, or you can keep your own topic going as long as you wish. You get to choose.

 

Thank you for the thickness information. I am not yet a bone carver, though more than a decade ago I prepared a couple bones, which are now taunting me as I read more about bone carving. I did not stop to consider the thickness limitation. It is quite an accomplishment to have carved the first bone three-leaved piece in a piece of bone that thin!

 

Janel

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Hi Janel,

 

Yeah the ruler idea would be just for my records. Also, I would be able to answere a fellow carver's question, like the one in your last post, with accuracy ( and by the way, I was looking at your website last night and I must say that for me to refer to someone of your caliber as a "fellow carver" might possibly be stepping a bit over the line. Please forgive the conceit. Your work is wonderful!).

 

And as far as pictures for the public goes, if anyone can point me to a topic or area or resource with tips on how to improve my photographs, I'd be grateful.

 

I love the little timer idea with the conversion table. Can you suggest a particular brand of timer that I could google?

 

Yes the thickness factor (or lack of thickness) can definitely be considered a drawback. But like I said earlier it is very obtainable around here, since I live in the middle of major ranching culture. Another positive is that my creativity and resourcefulness really get ignited when the designs in my head have to fit into a restricted space, such as the walls of a cow's legbone.

 

That really was an adventure carving the bone laukolu. And if I had a little more experience and a little less bravado I might have pulled it off.

 

I do admire and honestly covet the accessability to various materials that I see being used here on the forum, ones that might allow a little more elbow room down in there. All in good time, I imagine, as I am still "making my bones" at this stage.

 

I was lucky enough a few months back to be given the tip of what I believe was a walrus' tooth. I don't think it was part of a tusk, based on photographs I've seen. Whatever the origin of the specimen, I felt blessed to have had the opportunity to carve a design into it. Sounds like a lead-in for a new topic to me. Look for "Laulima" (what I thought translated to "Five Leaves", but forgive my poor Hawaiian because literally it means "many hands").

 

Thanks everybody,

 

Tom

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Thank you for the compliments. We're all carvers, just at different stages of growth. Just use "count up timer kitchen" and you might find a few. Mine was inexpensive and uses a button battery. You might find something in the kitchen section of stores, or at a pharmacy. I'd aim for the kitchen section first.

 

Janel

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  • 11 months later...

Hi everyone,

 

I posted an image of my first "Laukolu" (Three Leaves) carving, which was bone, in the Who's Who forum. Christophe said he'd like to see the jade version so here it is. But can I take a moment to talk about the bone version?

 

My teacher, Stacy Gordine, was here for the months of June and December in 2010 and under his guidance I made three carvings. After he went back to NZ I got ambitious and set to work carving the bone Laukolu. I was real happy with how it turned out but I was too inexperienced to understand the limitations of the materials at hand. Those areas where the leaves curl under are carved clear through. The three leaves are all cantilevered over and under each other at the three points where the stems and tips overlap, and those are the only points of contact. To make matters worse I drastically undercut the stem tips to drive home the point that they were separate and distinct from the leaf tips. Anyway, while planning how I was going to lash the piece it slipped from my fingers and fell from a height of about one inch to my desk where it broke like a baby bird skeleton into three lovely and individual little leaves.

 

It was a hard lesson. Glad I got a photograph of it. But I wasn't ready to go out onto the thin ice without my teacher's guidance. When he came back the next summer he helped me strategize how to do it more successfully out of jade. He said that if the impression is created that's good enough, and I didn't have to carve those little tunnels all the way through, especially since you'd have to crane your eyeballs in there to see them. He showed me how to leave these little connecting posts between the leaves where they crossed over each other but where you'd never see them unless you really tried. You can see their presence implied by the way the cord goes in and around one of them.

 

Sorry to bore you with all this but since this place is about sharing information, I wanted to share something I learned from all this. My lesson was not to let my ego get in the way of practicalilty, not to get too show-offy. Push the envelope yeah, but listen to your guts when they tell you to go easy.

 

Plus in the interest of full disclosure I didn't want to post an image of something like it actually exists when in reality it's history.

 

So for anyone who missed it here's the bone version followed by the jade version.

 

Aloha,

 

Tom

 

 

Laukolu1.jpgLaukolu2.jpg

 

I did brake legs on my 2 "dung beetle" netsukes, http://nikysenater.com/2013/03/17/dung-beetle/ , but boxwood can be fixed; it is a nasty thing that makes you skip a heart beat! and swear!

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I know. It makes you catch your breath for sure. Iʻm just glad it was me who broke it and not the friend that I was showing it too. Even though I know accidents happen, I donʻt know if I would have been a big enough man to be understanding about it. I know when I screw up I can learn and do things differently. And my friend is still my friend.

 

Thanks for the link to your carvings. What is the ball that the beetles are crawling on made of?

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