Friday, May 29, 2009

WIP-Part 2: A spoon to nourish the body & soul

Finally finished the carving & sanding phase

Upon a close examination of my new spoon today one of my students said to me, "Chief Dave, that spoon is a beast" and I had to agree with him. Yes, it's certainly not any ordinary wooden spoon... it most assuredly is a beast! I mean this thing has a protruding vein system that stretches from one end to the other, top and bottom, and these aren't just surface veins but you can actually feel their hold on the spoon as they encompass the entire project as though it were a living animal.

A little zoom in shot of the intricate vein system

After several weeks of riding around in the cargo pocket of my pants the "beast" is finally ready for a final finish but I feel that I need to sleep on it for at least one full night before I make the decision that will carry it forward for hopefully many generations ahead. After the carving phase was completed I then proceeded to use the medium 150 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit, and then finally I gave it a nice polishing with a piece of steel wool.

Top view

The spoon has a great feel to it in the hand and this time I even got the curved bowl at just the correct angle for a right handed person. Unfortunately, when carving a spoon with such twisting in the handle it's probably going to end up for use by only a right or a left handed person. Also, notice in the picture above how beautiful that the grain turned out on this piece of found wood... a piece of wood that was blown out of a tulip poplar tree about a month ago and now it will be joining my kitchen arsenal of eating utensils. Taking something from the wild of the forest floor then turning it into an interesting and practical object is the kind of thing that energizes the core of the human spirit and literally norishes the well being of the soul. It's an activity that makes me feel the entire human experience.

More of the protruding raised relief detailing

At this point I am now looking so forward to seeing if I can get the right finish on the spoon because the wrong finish would be devastating after spending sooooooooo many hours of effort with the carving and sanding. Speaking of the time spent working on this found wood spoon, well I'm not sure just how many hours went into it but you can bet it was a bunch! Yesterday one of my students asked me how much money that I'd sell it for and my reply was, "I wouldn't take a hundred dollar bill for it... just too many hours of labor went into it." Of course the typical teenager has a duty to take the question one step further and then asks, "Would you take a thousand dollars for it"? As usual, I then put the ball back in his court and told him that the only way to find out was for him to put a thousand dollars on the table and then he'd find out. I think that he got the point that I highly value the time that I spend creating a unique piece of art and that is what I also encourage and expect from my students. When they begin to take pride in creating their own carvings then they can begin to take pride in themselves as the successful people that they are capable of becoming.

I'll post new pictures of the spoon when I get the final finish completed and sure hope that it won't end up embarassing me. That's the chance you must take when posting a WIP (work in progress)

1 comment:

  1. Dave, that's a beautiful piece of sculpture you have there! The fact that it is also a functional spoon makes it even better.

    Finishing shouldn't be a big deal as there are only so many food-safe finishes to be had. A friend of mine has been very successful with a beeswax finish. He melts the beeswax in a double boiler and submerges the spoon until the air bubbles stop rising. He then removes the spoon and lets it drain. I forget how he handles it from there, but I'm sure he wipes it and buffs it. I have a knife made by him with the same finish and I can testify that it is a hard, durable finish.

    In any case, I doubt you'll screw it up.