Friday, April 9, 2010

Woodshop Class Goes Outside: Carving A Tree Spirit

Who says that woodshop class has to be held in the woodshop every day of the year? With one of the coldest and snowiest winters ever we've been cooped-up long enough so today's class was held in a fine wooded spot on our 900 acre campus.

Weather in the mountains is starting to get warm again with today bringing full sunshine and comfortable temperatures in the low 60's (F) so it was the perfect environment for learning something new. As you can see from the picture to the right I had everyone in the class facing me as I carved a huge new tree woodspirit. (See the red circle)

Although you can't see the initial sketching in the pictures to the right, I first used a red marker to make a rough outline of the eyes and nose in a live tulip poplar tree where about 1/3 of the diameter had exposed inner wood prime for carving. Apparently the tree had been scraped by a tractors bucket a few years ago leaving behind the perfect carving surface as I've had my eye on this particular tree for quite a while.

This was a relatively quick carving project since time was limited but I wanted this class of boys to have a unique experience and to witness something that I'm sure they've never been exposed to before. Normally I would rather have first done a rough outline of the spirit with a chainsaw giving it better depth, but that wasn't possible today so this ended up being more of a "surface" carving than I would normally have done. It still ended up being quite nice leaving the class with an experience to talk about for some time to come.

Unfortunately I didn't have time to put the final "honey-brown" stain and preservative to put on it so we'll get that done sometime next week. I'll have to post another picture upon the final completion. The dark stain tends to make a tree carving very bold and helps to quickly catch the eye of a passerby so I can hardly wait to get that done.
As you can see from the pictures to the left most everyone also had an opportunity to do a woodcarving project of their own before the class was over. While I worked on the big tree spirit I also had to keep a close eye on ensuring the kids safety as they had a grand time making mini-canoes, spoons, and carving their names in odd pieces of wood. What a great woodshop class and what a great day!

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