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Hi From A Newbie

Steve T

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Well I guess this is hi from me to everyone. I signed up yesterday so this is my first intro post. I'll try to be brief, those that know me well would roll their eyes about now and settle in for the long haul :)


I've been carving in some way or another for a large portion of my life, up until a year ago I lived in New Zealand where carving is a bit of a national trait, I remember being taught how to carve Maori panels in primary (elementary) school in the early 70's. For the past 10 or so years I've been carving bone on and off in between painting and drawing and photography. I'm still finding my style in a lot of respects but what I'm making appears to be attractive to a few people so I guess I'm heading in the right direction. I guess like most artists I talk to I'm never actually happy with a finished product, I just get to the stage where I feel like I have to leave it alone, that's usually when my wife takes it away and the next time I see it she's wearing it.


With my NZ background I'm heavily influenced by the Maori design, however my genetic background is heavily celtic so those influences are a bit mixed up in my work and I'm currently exploring a melding of those designs with some success I think. My particular passion for design is the Art Noveau era with strong botanical influences, I guess again that this is from growing up around the NZ bush where plants grow everywhere and everything is green.


On a personal note I'm married with 3 children, my eldest son is almost 20 and lives in Australia, my 18 yo daughter is still in high school and I also have a 10 yo son. My wife is from Southern California and lived in NZ for 6 years, last year we emigrated fomr NZ to the US and now live about half way between LA and San Diego. We also have a few animals, 2 dogs, a cat, a cockatiel and a couple of goldfish, I'm struggling to stop my wife buying a goat, but it'll happen eventually!


I work in the IT business as a software consultant for a global giant corporate so this creative area is my release and how I get my sanity, fleeting as it is, back. Now that the stresses of international emigration are settling down and I'm getting to grips with the madness that is Southern California I'm heading back into bone carving and have managed to set up a small area in the house where I can carve without annoying everyone. I have carved almost exclusively in beef bone I prepare myself but have just managed to source some rather exotic bone to try out, people seem to think beef is a bit boring. I now have a very large Giraffe leg bone and a couple of camel leg bones waiting for me to start on so it will be interesting to see how they go (starting today if I get time!).


I carve generally with a dremel, but it's getting very tired and if I can sell a few works I'd like to upgrade to something with a bit more power as it does struggle at times but it is getting on in age a bit. With a lot of pierced work I'm looking for a way to polish and finish the small detail areas, which is one of the reasons I'm here I guess as I still have a lot to learn, but hopefully can also impart some knowledge as well.


Well I've gone on long enough to bore all but the most tenacious, so thanks for having me here and I look forward to talking to many of you. I've attached 2 of my works below o you get some idea of what I'm in to.





Steve Thorpe

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Kia ora Steve. And kia ora for your detailed intro :) I'm a KIA (Kiwi In Aussie) but I recently returned to NZ where my carving career took off. I am back in Oz and still carving, but it's back in the hobby realm which funny enough, I share with painting and drawing.


Your work has a lovely uniqueness about it. And a lovely cross section of cultural influence. I look forward to seeing more.


I polish bone on a muslin wheel. It is very dangerous and risky to your work, but I have learned enough lessons to know exactly how to hold it against the wheel. But you can buy muslin wheels for your dremel which can be handy for the recessed areas. I use a white polishing compound from the jewellery supply shop. It does leave a residue, but I clean it up with a toothpick after :)


Anyway, hope that helps a little. Ka kite, and glad to see you here.



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Tēnā koe Billy,


Thanks for the idea, I'll give the muslin wheel a try, I've used Brasso to polish bone before and it gives it an amazing glossy finish, but I can't find it here in the US so looking for a substitute.


Ka Kite ano

(that pretty much exhausts my Maori language skills, Ireally should have learned more but from my era it just wasn't available like it is now, both my kids speak far more than I do)

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