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Alexa D.

Hello, World!

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I'm a botanical technician living in Idaho. A few years back, while studying abroad in New Zealand, I took a course on Maori bonecarving; the process and results were both incredibly satisfying. Back in the US, I gathered the tools and started carving on my own. I've been working off and on (mostly off, to be honest) since 2010.

 

I mostly work in tagua nut these days -- bone dust is harder to deal with in my three-room flat, and I can't buy the cat a dust mask, so I can only use bone or antler when it's warm enough to carve outside. Lately I've begun developing my own style and moving away from the Maori symbols that shaped my early work. (The tree silhouettes carved out of tagua slices are beautiful, fun to carve, and popular at the occasional craft sale, and they don't risk cultural appropriation.)

 

Here are a few photos of recent pieces (they're thumbnails -- click to enlarge). All are tagua; the dimes are for scale.

 

treevi2small.th.jpg treev2small.th.jpg pebbledheimatau2small.th.jpg boundkoru1small.th.jpg swishsmall.th.png

 

I'm looking forward to meeting the people of The Carving Path, learning from your experience, and maybe helping someone in turn. Can't wait to get started!

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i like your desighns the two tree shaped sihouettes remind me of coral perhaps you might want to look into looking at under water plants. what tools do you use? have you invested in some kind of buffing set up? i think you might like to use felt buffers to bring your work to a higher shine.

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Water plants? That's a thought. Not much of that in Idaho, though. ;) I've been looking at the twisted shapes of gnarled juniper and sagebrush wood lately -- they are inspiring.

 

I rough the pieces out with a jeweler's saw and a small dremel tool; refine them with smaller dremel bits, needle files, and a chip-carving knife; and finish them with several grits of sandpaper.

 

Unfortunately, I can't really afford a rotary polisher -- nor do I have anywhere to put one -- and I've never managed any satisfactory polishing with the buffer-wheel dremel bits. I tried a felt-buffing setup at a friend's workshop a few times, though; the effect probably would've been nice with more practice, but as it was I kept getting the compound built up in ugly little deposits on the piece. :/ Never did manage to replicate what the buffers did in that first carving class.

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you dont necisaryly need a buffer you can use a drill press with the buffing mandrel stuck in the machine or you can do something like this http://www.woodcarvers.com/mi080.htm then y ou just clamp it on your counter or table and your set up. you can also use it with a solid grinding wheel to grind your jade or bone or what ever down to the shape you want like this guy does in his video. http://www.bing.com/...tail&FORM=VIRE2

 

here is the image of type of coral it reminds me of http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=dried+coral&qs=n&form=QBIR&pq=dried+coral&sc=8-11&sp=-1&sk=&&id=3664412A3F377B06948F705EC285C3266F0E52CA&selectedIndex=37#view=detail&id=3664412A3F377B06948F705EC285C3266F0E52CA&selectedIndex=0

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I like your approach leaving the skin on! Also working within the confines of living space and cat tolerances informs the feel of the pieces in a personal way that has its own charm!

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just had a thought if you leave the skin on and then light it from behind the skin wont be transparent. you can probably make some cool night lights.

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glad i could help i know a guy who has like 3 of those and 3 different drills one always has his cuting wheel and the other one is a grinding wheel and the 3ed he used just for buffing. he says its great for his space which is his front yard he put up a counter clamps those on and nocks out a few dozen key chains, necklaces, earing ect.... then later in the week he can sit in his sun room and polish and fine tune his carvings while watching tv little to no dust.

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