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Antler ivy


Doug Sanders

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Here's one I've recently finished involving a piece of 'fossil' antler I acquired awhile back while working in an archaeological department at a university in England. Apparently, it was found on a dig in an area that used to be a bog. It has acquired a really nice chocolatey-brown color and a very fine, granular texture that was different from 'fresh' antler.

I showed the uncarved antler tip to Clive Hallam and others at the netsuke convention and we brainstormed a bit, deciding that something subtle was in order...

I decided on a brief vine of ivy, denoting age to some extent. The base is of ebony and meant to compliment the piece in the tradition of chinese scholar's rocks.

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I'm including photos of other new and not so new items as well: a reclining fawn carved in cherry, a moth and several maple 'keys' in an interesting piece of boxwood which had a nice squirrely grain but in hindsight was perhaps not the best choice for this subject (more about this if anyone's interested), and finally a cutesy little rabbit bead someone asked me to create.

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Doug,

Thanks for posting all these little guys.

I think your subtle treatment of the antler tip works well for me.

The beuty of the material is preserved and showcased well. The ivy lends a second layer of interest. I'd have been happy to see this created on my bench.

 

With regards to the fawn there are certain aspects I really like about it and others I believe could have been treated better. I think the pose works very well. It makes me think about the fawn and why/where it may be reposing. There's a story implied. And there's a tenderness in its eyes that works well with the toolmarks. I feel, though, that you were cautious with your 'angular' style and somehow I feel more boldness in 'strokes' would have been of merit. I hope you take this as it's meant: with admiration for your work and honest commentary. :)

 

I am also intrigued by what you mean about the choice of wood in the moth and 'key' carving. And also what is meant by 'key' ^_^

 

Thanks for sharing mate!

They made me smile today ;)

 

-t

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I think you're exactly right about the fawn. I really admire more direct, angular styles of carving one sees in Japan,and germanic countries. For that piece, I used a very realistic netsuke carving of a fawn as the starting point, or model if you will. From there I was exploring the use of cherry and creating a more whittled look to it. The disceptive difficulty of that style is knowing where to make a bold cut, how to let it speak in terms of describing volume and energy and line. I'll keep at it ;)

 

As for the moth- I think keys are what they call those 'helicopter' seeds? If anyone knows the correct term, please share. As I mentioned, I had a piece of boxwood that was exceptionally crazy in its grain structure, almost close to a burl wood, only the density was very consistent throughout (unlike burls I've worked with). I thought it would aid in conveying the dryness of the moth and maple seeds as well as the coloration of some moths. After completing the piece, the grain unfortunately acted as camoflage for the form, which is quite sculptural. The little undulations of the seed wings are completely hidden by the surface pattern... ^_^ ,the moth gets lost on top of the seeds, etc.

 

A plainer choice of grain, I think, would have brought this out more.

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...I think keys are what they call those 'helicopter' seeds?

I thought that's what they were but I wasn't familiar with the term 'keys'.

I think I can see in the picture what you mean about the grain camouflaging the subtle sculptural elements of the seeds and the moth. It's hard to tell much else, though, without seeing and holding in reality. Still, desicions that have been regretted are most useful when growing.

 

Spiritedly,

-t

 

ps. talking of spirits, I just finished lunch and all I can think of is a large bottle of sake and a cup ^_^

These office sobriety rules are obviously in need of change ;)

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Doug,

 

just a quick note to say I really appreciate all 4 pieces. Right now though, I can hardly keep my eyes open, long, tiring day ^_^

 

I`ll give them the time they deserve in the morning, over a cuppa. I look forward to it.

 

ta, Ford ;)

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Hi Doug,

 

Nice work, all of them. I especially like the fawn. I don't usually go for ittobori style carvings - some of the 'standard" ittobori cuts are too "bold" for my liking. The fawn cuts look quite sensitive to me, and appropriate for the subject matter.

 

As for the poor choice of burly grain - there's them that have, them that will, and them that will again. It takes a very strong design to work with strong grain. I tend to reserve wild grain for simpler, more abstract work, or things like knife handles or bases/stands/boxes. Plain grain seems much better for detailed carvings like most netsuke.

 

Great score coming up with the bog antler! I'm surprised it didn't check. I don't suppose you know where to get about a hundred pounds of those...

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Thanks for the positive comments all. The subject matter of the moth and maple seeds seems to me like a nice combination. I think I'll try the theme again, maybe in a different composition, but with a more visually neutral piece of wood.

 

^_^ Do others on this list complete a work and then go and create the same item again, trying to improve on the idea the second time around?

 

If I knew where to get more bog antler I would... After looking at the photo, I've decided it doesn't really convey the feeling of the piece well. the ivy leaves look very flat, but are more sinuous and dynamic in person. It's a piece I'm particularly happy with.

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Do others on this list complete a work and then go and create the same item again, trying to improve on the idea the second time around?

Personally, I rarely do, unless some years have passed. I tend to feel I have given it my most and best at that time and if it didn't work I need time to rebuild that energy for the particular design. I need to move on and reattack from a different perspective in the distant future.

 

's just me though... ^_^

 

-t

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