Working with my hands and creating something started many years ago when I worked with an Artist in Residence. I was just exploring my thoughts then and I think I’m still doing the same today. I work with the Urban Lumber Network to reclaim neighbourhood trees. Milling, drying and creating is where my heart is.
I used to carve wood after work to relax and find the escape that woodworking allows but now all I have to do is get up and start my day and it only gets better when the wood chips start flying.
I prefer carving to dimensional wood. I prefer a good thought more than a well written plan. It’s the excitement of the moment that I’m trying to capture. So I’m really just trying to create moments.
How did I get into woodworking?
I started with cutting fire wood and felt wrong that some of the wood was way too beautiful to burn. Then I moved to more functional pieces like small tables and shelves but wanted to expand. You have to do what feels right and I see movement in wood, the curves and swirls. The first couple years of making bowls are way different from what I carve now. To be honest I think I was super proud then that I could even make my first few bowls.
What inspires your creations?
Just cutting a log open I’m inspired by seeing what’s on the inside. I don’t live by the sense of accomplishment because I’m really on a journey. Most of all I look for a “feel” in my projects. I don’t know that I hit my mark every time but I get close. I am trying to train my eyes rather than measure my project every 10 minutes. Right now I’m working on faces and torsos. The long term goal is to put it all together someday. You can see some of these shapes in my projects if you look close. I always look beyond what I can do and accept failure as just one more step to reaching my goals.
What made you decide to add power carving to your repertoire.
The chainsaw is great and I have used it enough already. I wanted something that could allow me to remove wood with discretion and have a softer touch when needed while still getting at it when I wanted. The control and the power are balanced better for my application. Currently I’m pretty close to 300 pieces on the TurboPlane.
What is your favorite power carving tool and why?
I use the TURBOPlane directly after the chainsaw every time.
What Impact has power carving had on your Art or livelihood.
Power carving has a way of changing how you approach a project. Once you get comfortable you will try a new application for the tool. In the beginning I made so many bowls. I would look at a piece of wood and say “I can make that into a bowl”. I was so excited and made so many bowls and trays, I really had to get rid of some of my projects, they were really stacking up.
So I sent out a few pictures and I was lucky enough to get into a couple of Holiday Markets. Power carving doesn’t have to be done with a T Square in a shop. Power carving is a free form in woodworking. It truly resonates with me. So now my Art pays for the tools or at least most of them.
What advice would you give to people who are thinking of getting into power carving ?
Looking at all the tools out on the market you should get quality. Next just get excited about one aspect of woodworking and run with it. Don’t worry you’ll expand, you don’t have to have the perfect shop to start. If it’s the Ball Gouge or Precision Ball Gouge for spoons, or the TURBOPlane, they won’t disappoint. It takes time to get better. Go easy on yourself but keep going. Each piece of wood is a new challenge looking for a second life.
By the way I’m still getting into this power carving thing and all I ever want is to take one more step in this adventure. Doing it is the adventure that I love.