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!
Living in the mountains of North Carolina I have spent almost 30 very
rewarding years working with at-risk kids in a wilderness camping program as a counselor, outdoor educator, and woodshop teacher. To learn more about what my blog is all about, just scroll down this sidebar to "About my blog..."
1. Woodcarving/Woodwork: Working wood has been a lifetime obsession for me and I enjoy sharing what I know. It is my belief that hands-on and experiential learning has a direct and profound effect on the development of a child's intellect, confidence, and character. Projects of mine (and my students) will be posted as they progress and I will occasionally include a video tutorial. All of my videos can be found here .
2. Bushcraft/Primitive Living Skills: Finding ways to live closer to the land has always fascinated me. Whether it's building a shelter, fire starting, animal tracking, or just making rustic furniture... you'll eventually see some of it here.
3. Long Distance backpacking, canoeing, & bicycling: Some of my long distance adventures include thru-hiking the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada and I solo paddled the 1,800 mile Yukon river across northwest Canada and Alaska to the Bering sea. More detailed accounts of these and many other adventures can be found here
4. Sustainable Living: I'm always looking for better ways to do more by using less. It's not so much an "environmental" thing to me as it is a quest for personal independence from material things and finding a path to more substantive living .
5. Scouting Activity: As a scoutmaster of 6 years (and currently assistant scoutmaster) I'm actively involved with the troop and "Order of the Arrow" where it is a joy to volunteer hundreds of hours each year because investing in the next generation insures a better tomorrow for everyone. In an era when most schools don't value hands-on learning, outdoor education, and the arts... scouting soars in meeting these critical experiences for boys.
6. Profiles: Behind everyone's success you can usually find a trail of some very significant mentors and teachers along the way. And sometimes you don't completely understand how someone affected your life for the better until many years later. You'll find some of those stories here.