Ok, I decided to do another project in wood. I picked an African hardwood called Sapele, because it looked nice in the seller’s description. Yeah…very professional. The project is a takeoff on an Indonesian gate I saw years ago, but somewhat abstracted. My son, an editor in China, tells me it looks something like the Chinese character for “well”, so that’s what it’s called. The carving used a Greek meander as a pattern, which is the one figure I remember from the gate.
Notice that difference in the two pictures; different camera settings on the same day and time. I’m just now beginning to appreciate the importance of background and photographic technique of a piece’s presentation.
For those of you wondering if Sapele is an easy wood to wood with, it’s not. Think Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and remember the bunny. Carving is especially difficult due to the wood’s desire to “chunk” or tear out little pieces, and strange little occlusions keep popping up. Still, working with wood is a different experience than metal. Hand tools can do most of the work, and the smell of freshly cut wood is a nice alternative to that of red hot metal and cutting oil. And, much of the difficulty may just be due to my inexperience. On the other hand fighting with your medium does not seem to be a profitable way to spend one’s time.
I’m doing at least one more piece in Sapele; then I may switch to something more tractable, like mahogany or walnut.