Sunday, 17 March 2013

Getting a rough outline.....

Before I was a teacher, I worked for five years as a draftsman in a drawing office. Prior to that I'd attended art school and during those years I learnt a lot about my particular methods and styles of drawing. I learnt very quickly that, whilst I was quite happy sketching, ultimately I wanted a single final, finished line to whatever I drew. This has been the case for much of what I have done asthetically and visually ever since - I simply can't sketch and make things up as I go along (I admire people who can), but instead plan and settle on what the end product will be, right from the beginning.
Now, I don't know if all that makes sense to anyone but me, but it has some bearing on the way I carve spoons. I know people who will take a nice piece of greenwood and slowly begin to uncover and reveal the spoon within, simply 'sketching' away with their knives, whittling a little here and a little there until a beautiful spoon emerges. Again, I admire these people but for now, that's not the way I do it. I browse spoons on the internet; I settle on the one I want to make; I make a paper outline then transfer it to cereal box card; I cut out the card and use it as a stencil to mark the outline onto my work. And nine times out of ten, that seems to work for.
So I thought I'd show you my growing template book.
As you can see, it's nothing special - an old ring binder, cut up and put back together with gaffer tape. It's a little under A4; a little over A5 in size and fits quite nicely into my tool bag so that I have it with me whenever I am carving.
Inside I have two 'pockets' - one for sandpaper, which otherwise always ends up all curled and unusuable in the bottom of my bag, and one for my cardboard templates.
I made it with top flaps so that I could hold the templates without them falling out in my bag, but still be able to get them in and out without bending or tearing them too much. It's a system that works really well, especially for those like me who like to have a template to work to, and when one begins to get worn out, I simply draw round it and make another.
Here are a few spoons I've made recently, with their templates:

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