The walrus has to have tusks

There is  an adage that some artists use found pieces to make their art.

They create using what they find around.  I do that everyday I guess because rocks are everywhere and I ‘turn boulders into bears’.

But truly found pieces would be the Walrus that needs some tusks. Ivory is illegal, stone tusks just wouldn’t look right.

There goes my wife’s carving set.  The handles look perfect as tusks.  They needed a little roughing up but , take the pieces where you find them

Puddin The Walrus

johdansoapstoneart.com

 

 

Some carving time a day…

…Will keep the doctor away.

Just like the old saying about eating an apple, doing something you love every day or as much as you can keeps everything in balance.

Carving is not work for me even when it is a commission and not my choice of subject matter.

Another adage;  ‘do what you love and you won’t work a day’.

For me it all starts with having the rocks.  If I don’t have the raw materials , nothing is going to get done.    Everything fits together from that point.

The general term carving actually starts with; sourcing stone one day, making sure the tools are prepped and  finally making that first cut.  Many days of planning and plotting and meditating on the process.

There can never be enough carving in my day.

johdansoapstoneart.com

Fly like an eagle

I know that seems I mostly carve and am interested in bears and that would be a fair assessment but,, (there is always a but) I have an affinity for eagle and hawks and birds of prey as well.

The birds that I carve tend not to be as aggressive looking as say a Ben Henry but , I think that goes with the idea of majesty over the sense of power.

A true bird of prey doesn’t need to look aggressive to survive they need to get the job done.

I very much appreciate the talons and beaks and close set eyes of other carvers’ works but my carvings tend to be more on the abstract or subdued side.  Hinting at a sense of the power of the bird.

Many of my clients don’t actually rub their carvings of birds as the people who purchase the bears do but, I think there is an admiration and sense of honour that they can relate to.

Here are a few birds and you can see more on my website

johdansoapstoneart.com

Show’s over back to carving

I have had my work in a local gallery for the last two months.

It has been great because ; it is close to home (carting carvings around is still a bunch of boulders) and ; it was for 2 months.  This is a nice time stretch that gives people a chance to visit my work and see and touch and ask questions.

Sadly , there were no sales from the show directly.  All is not lost though.

My rule of thumb is to connect sales to shows within a 6 month time frame.  So if anyone out there missed the gallery show they can still visit the website and buy, buy, buy.

Just because the show is over , doesn’t mean potential sales will dry up.

My website is always open 24/7 and because of this in the modern age, I can get back to carving and filling my rock bin with future carving projects.

I am posting rough pictures below in order to channel my next project.

Visit the website and see more of the finished pieces.

 

johdansoapstoneart.com

 

How long does it take?

I sometimes feel like a kid on a family car trip when I am carving something that does not coming easily.

Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?

I am hungry, Tommy is touching me

All kinds of random thoughts besides the caving at hand.  My carving time is mostly the Zen state.  I go into the carving shed, I carve.  Time has either stood still or flown by depending on how you look at it .By the time I come out of the carving shed I have the beginning of something and I am spent.

The car ride carving times are plain annoying.  It generally means one of a few things;

I shouldn’t be carving today but going fishing instead

The piece does not want to be a an eagle or a bear or whatever I had planned

Lastly I don’t really have a plan and the cuts are forced.

What does all this mean in the life of a carve?

That’s life.

Good days with bad but just keep going

We’re not there yet.

Shy Turtle

johdansoapstoneart.com

Collage

Collage

Internet dictionary definition (I think Merriam Webster)

 

a piece of art made by sticking various different materials such as photographs and pieces of paper or fabric onto a backing.
the art of making collages.
a combination or collection of various things.
So, in my world  a collage would be a combination or collection of various animals.
I have only done this a handful of times but they mostly come about because I see more than one animal or bird or even elephant truth be told, in a single piece.
And as my job is to carve out of the rough boulder what is inside it  ..et voila a collage carving of soapstone
Collage and et voila would be the sum total of my french so if someone has another word for this melting pot of animals that can be viewed  as one main animal or another depending on which side you view it from , let me know.
This type of art is not as difficult as making a dancing bear balance on one leg but, differentiating each form within the rock takes a fair amount of fine detail work so that I am happy with each aspect.
I have posted 2 below – enjoy
johdansoapstoneart.com

 

 

Curves

Curves, dimensions, layout,planning.

Curves sound the best and since I am partial to carving bears , there are lots of curves. A fully fed healthy bear has big gorgeous curves, a bear that needs to bulk up is sinewy but still has muscles that give it curves.

If you think about it, even if you are untrained and an artist or an architect you mostly know when something is out of whack but you might not know why it is out of whack.

The head could be too small for the body, the muscle in the back leg is a little too far back or too far forward.

These all matter for the overall piece.  Regardless if the carving is realistic or abstract, curves matter

 

 

 

Humour in Art

Gotta have a sense of humour.

Even if it is your little interior voice and the work in progress is fine art, high art, serious art.  Have a little chuckle and things will all go well.

I love what I do yes but my sense of humour comes through to with the pieces I carve for fun.

when I go to an opening or attend a function I am introduced as a Carver or an artist.  That’s what I am . If I was introduced as a sculptor I would look around for who elese was there.

I have been judged for not carving classic, for not being native and for doing too much of the abstract work.  Having a sense of humour gets you through and allows me at least to keep carving and creating

A sense of humour if very important

 

Spring Chicken, Fat Bear in a Little Boat are the two I can think of that have caused some buzz.

keep going

 

johdansoapstoneart.com

Don’t be afraid of breakage

This is a constant theme with life in general.

Go big or go home.  You can’t win if you don’t try. Failure breeds success.  But, it still sucks.

When I have been carving away and things are going well.  The boulder is turning into a rock, into a bird, that becomes an eagle and then you drop it – crash , bang , in pieces.

That might be part of the reason my carving shed floor is covered in soapstone dust, (and to keep out the critters that don’t seem to like it)

People can speak about non-attachment all they want and we all probably want to get there but, when you’re ego tells you this will be sold the day after it’s on the site and the beak is gone and there is a compression fracture.

A dedicated artist does go at it again, at least I do.  The beak will go a different way or the wings will now be tucked in but it is not fun.

The best response to a piece breaking came from a  friend and fellow carver ; Dan Davellar who had carved a 7 ft tall plinth ( fancy column) and in the process of setting it upright it fell over – smash, bang, multiple pieces of plinth.

Here is the response; He set it up on the ground , in pieces at the next outdoor show he did as art the way it was.

 

We could all take a lesson from this.

 

The are other types of stones

Yes but, I love working with soapstone.

I have tried limestone and was in fact offered a large load of stone for free, gratis, no charge but,,, there are fossils in limestone.  You find bits of ore in soapstone and Canadian soapstone is very hard but, limestone with the fossils, you never know if you can make the cut from A to B as you planned.

I managed a bear out of the limestone, pictured here and I am happy with it but it was a rough go to complete.

Czech Limestone Polar Bear With fossils

There is also granite.  Hard as a rock.  It does come in different colours and a friend of mine; The Rogue Stone cutter has made some amazing pieces but, it doesn’t have the colour variations or the nuance that soapstone has.

I have been known to make little inukshuks in gravel parking lots but they are very small and not carve-able more for piling

Soapstone is also pipestone, serpentine, it has a variety of names and colour variations, Canadian is black or dark green, it can be red brown, white , pink.

I believe soapstone will keep me coming back for a long while.