Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1, mask in Jelutong wood, front view

Day 1 mask in Jelutong, finished front view

The best laid plans and all that……

I must apologise for the delay in starting my Sculpture Challenge….I had something scheduled in on Monday that overran by 6 hours…..It kind of threw off the whole schedule of the day and sadly there was no time to make my sculpture challenge piece as I had work that needed to be completed and delivered. However, I did jot down a few sketches and came up with a couple of designs and I had a bit of a rethink about the whole challenge. Part of me thought I should just give up totally, after all I have missed my own deadlines and feel a little foolish. Part of me thought I should postpone it to another week, having missed the first day what is the point? But I decided that the same thing could well happen another week so it would be best to just get on with it this week. However, the biggest part of me said to just bump the whole thing by a day and get on with it…..

So here I am two days later ( I know, I know), and I have my first piece to share, which I am really pleased about. I also have a new plan for the challenge which should make it easier for me to complete it. Plan first…..I have discovered that trying to get through the day, figure out what to represent from the day, make it and write about it is just all too much, I don’t have the time. But I do have a solution for this which is how I have produced this first piece. At the end of the day I will sit and think about what I want to represent, make a few sketches and come up with a few potential designs. Then I will make the piece the next day. Writing about it and publishing the newsletter and blog post the following day (though earlier in the day!). So a new piece will appear each day, just under a more manageable schedule.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1, mask sketches and initial ideas

Sketches and designs, working out variations in shape and placement.

Monday was a bit of an odd day for me filled with an awful lot of intense emotion, huge amounts of worry followed by immense relief. Somewhere I got the idea of waves or ripples and calm….the way that the waves/ripples of worry faded away into the calm of relief.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, drawing out the approximate shape onto the squared piece of wood

Drawing the approximate shape onto the wood to make sure it looks roughly right.

I had picked out quite a few different sizes of wood to choose from but once I realised the time constraints I will be under I decided to restrict the size and depth of the piece of wood that I was using. I have enough to do all five pieces using the same size of wood, another worry gone or rather another decision gone.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, starting the waves/ripples

Starting to put in the waves/ripples, trying out different gouges.

Something that has always amused me, and I tend to forget all the time, is how difficult a simple sketch can be to make in three dimensions. I thought I had come up with a really simple design, as you can see in my sketches…..boy was I wrong! I think it’s a combination of the smallish size of the piece, the wood I’m using and the design. Jelutong does not hold a sharp edge very well, but I have managed to work around that though.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, putting the second eye in and using the waves/ripples to guide the outer shape

Putting the second eye in and using the waves/ripples to guide the outer shape

I roughed out the overall shape first, having left straight edges so that the block could be held in the vice. Then I worked in the ripples, experimenting with various gouges to see which ones had the shape and the cut that I wanted. It took a little while to work out something that I thought worked well.

I felt that one eye closed and one eye open would work the best, those are the only facial features that I felt were necessary.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, finished piece, back view

Day 1 finished mask, back view…. was a bit nerve racking hollowing that out!

Hollowing out the back was quite nerve racking, I was worried about cutting through to the front of the carving so I left it thicker than I would think would be ideal.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, finished piece, right hand view

Day 1 finished mask, right hand view

I am really, really pleased that I managed to finish this mask, i see it as being a sketch, a work in progress and it has given me a lot of ideas of further pieces to make. It really reminds me in both look and feel of a shell. I decided to not colour it in any way, to leave it plain this time and to not sand it in any way. I like the surface of the wood to have some life to it, sanding can seem to deaden the whole thing somehow. I think I will hang it above the carving bench, at least for now.

Stiller Designs Sculpture Challenge Day 1 - mask in jelutong wood, finished piece, left hand view

Day 1 finished mask, left hand view

This has all taken me a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m not sure if that’s due to all the general decisions I had to make regarding the challenge as a whole or if it’s just me getting my head around the piece. Whatever it was I am looking forward to what happens with the next sculpture.

I’d love to know what you think of this mask….

You can find the sculpture challenge day two here.

 

 

 

Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Sculpture, Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .