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I am Janel Jacobson, a carver of small sculptures. My material of choice has been wood for the past ten years. Prior to that, I worked with porcelain clay, carving small sculptural pieces and shallow relief on the lids of small, low, lidded boxes. The relief carving was enhanced with celadon or a pale blue glaze. Before that, in my earliest years from 1970 to the early 80's I worked on making my living as a potter. I have always been self-employed as an artist.


Carving grew out of my interest in drawing the little things in the natural world aroud my rural home in Minnesota. Stoneware pots first had leaves carved on them, eventually when the ideas were more complex I moved to porcelain, and finally in the mid to late 80's carving became the sole focus of my work. When porcelain did not meet my needs any longer, I turned to carving wood, and have been very happy with the change. Wood offers so much warmth and character to the subjects that I carve.


Currently, I am trying non-wood materials, such as a walrus tooth, and am planning a mammoth tusk piece. There is so much to try, so much to learn!


Some of the pieces that I carve are netsuke, a small functional/sculptural form that has a basis in Japanese culture. There is a web site devoted to the study and collecting of antique netsuke, with a little inclusion of contemporary carvers activities. If you want to learn more about netsuke, visit http://www.netsuke.org and have a look at their newly redesigned site.


My own web site: http://www.janeljacobson.com


As the future of The Carving Path unfolds, we will learn more about ourselves. My hope is that carvers who have knowledge and passion for carving small will contribute to this forum to make it educational, enjoyable to visit, and a place to help out with questions and answers we all seem to have as we work.





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Hi, I'm Jim Kelso. I've been a professional craftsman/artist for thirty or so years. I started out as a woodworker in 1971 making stringed musical instruments. Making banjos led to an interest in engraving their metal hardware. Studying engraving I discovered the rapidly growing custom knife field about 1979 and began making custom handles for knives using my wood and metal working skills.


In 1982 I discovered(at the urging of Don Fogg) Japanese swords along with their decorative fittings at the Smith Museum in Springfield, MA. At that museum I also became aware of a variety of Japanese decorative arts including netsuke, lacquer and other metal works. This was a pivotal experience for me and I immersed myself in the study of Japanese metal techniques and to a lesser extent netsuke carving. I also began an intense study of Japanese aethetics and style.


In looking at the body of my work through my career, regardless of style or type of object I am working on I find that there are two threads that appear consistently. One is the desire to get below the surface of a subject to convey the beauty and power I feel from Nature and the other is the use of carving, of one type or another, as a means of expression.


I am very grateful to Janel and Don for all their hard work to launch this forum. I hope many people will benefit from it. Thanks for visiting.


My work can be viewed at: Jim Kelso's work

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I am a bladesmith. I have been forging since 1976 and it has been my single focus for all these years. Recently I have been learning to work carving into the handles of my blades.


I was brought up a hunter and so my eyes are trained to see movement, line, and texture. My work will probably never be representational, I still trying to understand the power in a simple line, so my carving will express what I see and understand. There is no real distinction between my work and my life, the work is the by product, but the time spent in focused effort has shown me how to dig beneath the chatter of the day to day mind.


My life as an artist has been enriched by my friendships with other artists and it is my hope that enabling a space for us to gather, that we can find support and encouragement. This can be a lonely life if you don't reach out.


You can see some of my work and collaborations with Jim Kelso and Murad Sayen at my Gallery


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Born in 1943, in Bombay (India), I immigrated with my family to Israel, as a child, in 1949,

settling down in Jerusalem.

In 1972 my love for the sea led to a Ph.D. in Marine Biology, and I went on to become one

of Israel's serious nature photographers seriously pursueing my passion for documenting

the wild life of the region on land and underwater.

My many fields of interest usually resulted in one-of-a-kind books on various subjects.

Among the 22 books already published, there are underwater photographic guides, guides

to the wild flowers of the Holy Land and fully illustrated books on plants of the Bible, all

photographed in their wild state throughout the land of Israel. A photographic guide on

handguns with over 400 original illustrations was the result of many years of research and

collaboration with well-known experts in the field.

In 2003 came the realization of one more dream, "Art and Design in Modern Custom Folding

Knives" the success of which has led to a second volume, on fixed-blade knives, creating

two "Hall of Fame" books on the wondrous art of modern custom knives.


My Site is http://www.david-darom.com


I do not actually do the artistic work of carving but was always deeply fascinated by the work

of others and now even more so as I see the fantastic carving work on steel and handle material

in custom made knives.


I still live in Jerusalem with my family and am head of the Department of Scientific Photography

at the Hebrew University.


David Darom (ddd)



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Before I introduce myself, I'd like to thank Janel and Don for the hard work they continually do to support and assist a world of craftspeople and carvers. How do you ever find time for your own beautiful work? Thank-you for this forum.


My name is Doug Sanders. I've been carving on a small scale since 2000 and since then it seems to have taken over my free time, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends. I've had an interest in Eastern aesthetics and decorative art for many years- since my art school print-making endeavors and a few years back decided to take the plunge into the craft tradition of netsuke carving.


As Janel mentioned, there is so much to learn. Sometimes I feel like I need three lifetimes to even touch on all the aspects and skills I desire. If there's one thing I've learned by doing this, it's patience! I'm looking forward to sharing what I know as well as learning from others.

My website is www.dougsanders.net; in February I will have many new carvings of the past year posted so please stay tuned.


Here's an example of my work (a collection of beads)






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Hi, I’m Tom Sterling. Although I seem to have carved small objects occasionally all my life, I began carving Japanese netsuke seriously in the early 1980s. In the beginning it was a mechanism for coping with the extreme stresses of an Air Force career flying F-111 fighter bombers (the “switchblade Edselâ€). After retiring from the Air Force, I began carving netsuke professionally, and also began experimenting with lots of different types of carving materials. In the early 1990s, my wife began learning to weave baskets for the same reasons, and we began a collaboration of making tiny baskets with carved lids. When the bottom fell out from beneath the netsuke market on September 11th, I looked around for something else to do. I began learning flint knapping (stone tool making) from a local retired dentist/master knapper, and we stumbled into a collaboration of small stone knives with highly carved handles. Obviously, I do the handle part. My work is highly representational, and often seems to contain marine subjects. My background in Japanese netsuke often reveals itself in a unique melding with the other past cultures that have caught my interest. Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I see inspiration in the natural world all around me.


You can see some of my work at the following web sites:


www.bladegallery.com (check in the makers section under J P Higgins and Tom Sterling)

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Hello, I am Sergey Osipov, a carver of netsuke and small

sculptures. I live in Ukraine, in a small provincial town in close

proximity to Kiev on the banks of the very beautiful Ros’ River.


My career began in role of the forest ranger. Then, Forest academy

and work in Forest management.


In 1991 I made a decision to change my specialty. For a period of

time I worked as an artist, and later as a designer. Starting in

1993 I became a free artist.


My first netsuke I carved in 1994, but more systematically I carve

since April of 2003.


I work in wood, as well in tusk, deer antler, horn and in others

materials. Today I got several tagua nuts from my friend, and now

want to try carve in them. I very like the amber.


My Website


Thank Janel and Don for such excellent forum!

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Hi my name is Jake Powning, I'm a professional swordsmith. I do allot of carved ornamentation on the wooden parts of my swords. I have been actively persuing the swordsmiths path for about ten years and I have been making a living as a fulltime swordsmith since 2001. I've been obsesively interested in ancient celtic mythology and material culture since I was a young boy, and I incorporate allot of insular knot work carving into my work. I also have a deap love of the natural world, I live in a small village of about 34 people in the hills of New Brunswick on the Atlantic coast of Canada.

the seasons and the changing beauty that I see around me every day has an influence on my work, but what I carve is an exploration of the numinous interplay between the past, the inexorable pressent and my emotion towards the natural world. the work for me is an expresion of reverence.

I'm pretty much untrained as a woodcarver and have just picked it up out of desire and nesesity, I'm really looking forward to listening to you more experienced hands talk shop.

This looks like another great forum Don and Janel. You provide a great survice to the world of craft.

here's a link to my website with lots of picturese of my work Jake Powning Swords

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This topic is very interesting reading! Thank you all for introducing yourselves. I look forward to this topic growing with more introductions.


Please know that Jim Kelso has been working along with Don Fogg and Janel Jacobson to bring The Carving Path Forum to you.



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  • 2 weeks later...



My name is Joseph Bush. I am an amature knife maker and stick carver. I dont currently have any pictures of my work but I have done several walking sticks and have carved a few knife handles. I am here first and foremost to learn, so here I sit awaiting the epiphany that will make me a better carver.



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This looks nice, Jim!


I'm a metalsmith focusing primarily on blades these days. You might say I'm the Northern counterpart to Jake's Celtic Mythological inspirations. I've been wanting to expand my carving abilities in steel, wood & wax models as I want to start pulling more figurative elements into my work. Now that I can make pretty blades I want to make them talk. :D


You can see my work at www.jloose.com

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Hello, I'm Rik Palm.


Here's alittle info on me


I got my fine arts degree in 1982. I'm a digital effects compositor, editor, artist, etc... basically I've been working full time for 25 years in either TV or post production suites and still am. I started forging knives in 2000 and I have been lucky to be a student of Mastersmith Don Fogg. I've tried some metal carving on my knives and bought some engraving equipment to play with. I have a wonderful wife and son. We live in San Diego California but miss the Maine woods.


I have alot to learn but do have a website


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Hi, I'm Charlie Mathews; the first twin of the knife making team of Twin blades. We have been making hand made knives for several years and were trying to find a way to utilize some stag that was not up to our standards. This type of stag is a lot easier to find and the price is usually better. We decided to carve it to to try to make it work and liked the results we got. You can see some of our work on our web site www.twinxblades.com or on the Georgia knifemakers guild site.

This looks like a great forum I'm glad we found it.




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