It's been a while since I've driven my knives into a cypress knee but lately I've had the urge to pick up a couple of them. The first project "Swamp Man Sam" can be found a couple of postings back here.
As seen in the pictures to the left you can now meet Ilsa, the wicked she-witch which is from a small 11" tall cypress knee.
In the beginning I had no idea that it would become a green faced witch because it started out as a woodspirit face. Not only was it intended to be a woodspirit but this particular cypress knee was given to me a year ago by another carver who thought that he'd messed it up and I tended to agree. He was hoping that I could somehow save it but I didn't have time to work with it at the moment.
That time finally came last week when I picked it up again. The eye-wells were deeper that I would have preferred and the mouth was offset a bit. From the pictures to the right you can see where I began to enclose the face thus defining some shape into it.
Yes, it was well on it's way to being a woodspirit face but while having lunch one afternoon with one of my woodshop groups, one particular kid said that he saw the makings of a witch more so than a woodspirit so that caused me to study the shape and lumps of the wood a little closer as I began to agree. I then began transforming the mouth area into an uglier and toothless witch-friendly look and chip by chip the idea took hold. I cut in a lot of wrinkles on the forehead and lower face then completed "Ilsa" with a fine bulging mold on her chin. I then shaped up her tall pointed witch hat by using the natural shape of the cypress knee.
Ilsa has been another fun woodcarving project. Not only fun but this has been one of those carvings that sort-of found itself. It began with an effort to save another carvers failed attempt, then it was enhanced by one of my students ideas. The lesson here is to never look at any carving as "lost" but instead as an opportunity to see what you can still find in it. Open up you senses, your mind, and ask those around you for ideas. It's amazing what you'll come up with sometimes.
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.