I worked out that Ray is about 90, and he had a wealth of knowledge of how wood has been used. He started as mater craftsman, but saw an advert for woodwork teachers in the Manchester Guardian, applied and got the job. He retired early as teaching was no longer but occupation it had been. His talk was of woods he had used, where they came from and jobs they had been for. It is difficult to write a detailed report of his talk as it ranged over such a wide
The notes below have been taken from the Towneley News 2018
This nature trail was instigated by a Park Ranger about seven years ago, in collaboration with the Friends of Towneley Park. It provides an easy walk of about 3⁄4 mile, on good paths, starting opposite Riverside Car Park entrance.
There are ten marker posts around the trail, each capped with a carving representing a natural creature which might be seen nearby, namely speckled wood butterfly, heron, fox, frog, swallow, toadstool, rabbit, wren, dragonfly and hedgehog. The carvings were done by members of Lancashire and Cheshire Wood Carvers, but inevitably the weather has taken its toll, and some rot has set in.
During last summer, remedial work was started, involving three members from both groups. Two carvings which were beyond repair (one having been vandalised by a woodpecker!) have been replaced and re-sited away from overhanging trees, to help the wood to dry out more quickly. The other carvings have been patched up, with some re-carving and use of filler. More new carvings are under way to replace any further write-offs.
One outstanding feature on this trail is the flowering of the Southern Marsh Orchids in late May or early June, and this is said to be the most northerly habitat for this plant. Riverside Car Park has picnic areas, toilets and a refreshment kiosk, as well as a children’s play area to enjoy on your return.
The club’s annual Showcase Exhibition was moved to Hollingsworth lakes, Littleborough to co-incide with their WoodFest weekend. We had two days instead of our usual one and hoped to get in a different public. Due to the inclement weather, the visitor numbers were low, which meant we had more time to talk to them.
One of our regular fans
We had two members carving
Jill Smith our club secretary
John Adamson shared his knowledge from a lifetime of woodcarving. His motto for carving was “Planning time is cheap, time for doing corrections is expensive.”
John encouraged us to consider several things before we start to carve.
Think carefully about perspective especially if copying from a photograph.
The item in the photo may be foreshortened, such as in an animal’s photo taken from the head end – the back legs will be shorter than the front; or a photo of a person taken from above will appear to have shorter legs than in real life. It may be more obvious on this box than on a real animal. Even street scenes can have slightly curved vertical walls to the buildings.
You need several photos or plans from different view points. A photo from above is not always available. Children’s plastic animals can be bought at charity shops, etc. If needed, very accurate plastic models of animals ,etc are available from Schleich.https://www.schleich.org.uk/.
Making a clay model, if only a rough one, can help you to plan the whole or just a part of the carving. A small rough part model is good if you need to work out how something “works ” e.g. the folds of a dress” .
Check movement of the legs and arms in relation to the spine – movement in the spine brings life to your carving. Look up Google “Zoological Skeletons” for accurate side views of animals. This is a good source for getting the right proportions. John also recommended Resource Box 2 in our library – a collection of useful items.
Plan how you will hold the carving whilst working on it, such as leaving a part until the end just so there is always a place to clamp.
Consider how you will display your model when finished. E.g. What sort of base does it need, Will your relief carving be viewed from above or below. A carving should look good from whichever angle you look at it.
Having thought of perspective, drawings, display, holding, and maybe a model, bring it all together and begin carving.
John finished his very informative talk by giving us many other little tips for carving including the use of cardboard cutouts to check the measurements of your carving against the original model or drawings
Brad’s talk was described as “Bowl carving not turning” although his Google entry says ” Bespoke organic furniture and wood sculpture”, and I see his work as the most exciting “Commercial wood sculptor” we have seen for years. He uses both hand and power tools to produce a sculpturally interesting, wide range of products including unique furniture, chairs, and kitchen items. See his web site on www.bradquarless.co.uk. His uncle was a miner who whittled and father was a carver of items for churches who took him into the workshops. He has had a journey in wood from woodyard to finished wood from childhood. The architecture of wrecked boats, driftwood and found wood inspire his work.
There was an interesting display of tools, all were quick, some for heavy wood removal and others for a smooth finish. We were impressed but the costs were too high for amateurs as we would not make enough use of them. Brad says the tools had to earn their keep and there seemed to be a garage full of tools that had failed to live up to his standards.
Brad sources his wood direct driftwood from the shore, farmers fields, and from tree surgeons ( it helps to have a cousin in the business) and dries it out before he can work on it. Above is a 2 inch thick slab of cherry which is destined to be a garden sculpture. The carving process starts with heavy power tools exploring the natural holes, and cracks to eliminate the weakness they might introduce to the finished work. He listens to the wood, is guided by the wood, allows the wood to tell him what to do, and does not attempt force his ideas on to the wood. The holes make viewing points to encourage the public to explore, see more of the surroundings, and share his enthusiasm for wood and sculpture.
This huge piece of burr wood was really heavy and as we had begun to expect the vice could hold a ton of wood. Brad is working on the inside with an angle grinder and a carbide cutter to cut out the inside of the bowl. He would normally take out much of the interior with a chain saw, but was concerned that the wood might contain a void as it was not as heavy as the bulk suggested. A slower approach was necessary
This is the bread and butter side of Brads business. A shallow bowl in sapele, roughed out with the angle grinder and then smoothed to a silky finish using a Kirjes Sanding & Polishing System tool. There is a rubber ball inside the specially shaped sanding sleeve which eliminates the tendency for the sander to leave groves in the work. With these tools, brad can carve a bowl in 15 minutes, and sell them at a competitive price. The bowl would be finished with 70%medical beeswax mixed with 30% medical mineral oil, which makes it suitable for serving food
This is one of several slices of a ash tree that had rotted in the middle and will make exciting sculptures.
Brad brought in a selection of books that have informed his work
Exploration in Wood by Tim Stead, With the grain by Tim Stead. Decorative woodwork by A.W.P. Kettles, Creative wood sculpture by G Bentham, Red, Black, Other by David Nash, Makepeace by J Myerson
Interesting linksHere are some interesting links for you! Enjoy your stay :)
- `GANESH ` carving by Richard Higgins
- Become a Member
- Carving a Boot by Richard Higgins
- Carving on Picnic Tables at the Memorial Park, Padiham 2012
- Carving Picnic-Bench Tops at Towneley Park,Burnley 2006
- Carving Post Tops at Towneley Park,Burnley 2010
- Carving Post Tops Brun Valley,Burnley 2012
- Carving the Waltzers by John Adamson
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- Dog Carving of Jake by Jeff McDonald
- Dolphin Carving repair – by Richard Higgins
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- Rocking Horse by Colin Wilson
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- TOWNELEY PARK, BURNLEY REFURBISHMENT OF THE SCULPTURE TRAIL
- Carving of the Towneley Oak by Richard Colbran
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- Carving the Austrian by Norman Jackson
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