This a report of a meeting in June 2017
This is a Scandinavian flat plane carved self portrait of Nick carving a flat plane figure. The carving style has a history stretching back to viking days. It had fallen out of favour for some centuries but restarted in the 17th century as a folk art. In the early 1900s, it was discovered by the art world as it, like the best impressionist painting, captures in a few bold strokes the essence of the subject. It is a style of carving that is more popular in America than the UK. The figures below are all Nick’s work.
The tools and wood used are cheap, simple knives, pine or fruit woods, and watercolour paints or acrylic paints thinned to be like watercolour. In a skilled carvers hands, the work is quickly produced, and many variations may be made from a basic design. Almost any sharp knife can be used, although there are some knives advertised for this style of work at really crazy prices. Nick recommended an Eric Frost Mora carving knife as being a reasonably priced and having a good try part steel blade which will keep its edge if treated and sharpened right. There are of course safety considerations. The usual rules about not carving towards your own body are difficult to apply when carving wood held in the hand, and Nick recommends a thumb guard made from an old leather glove. You are not likely to stab yourself as the cuts being made are small and do not have a great effort behind them.
There are only 4 main cuts,
A push cut as below where a small slice of wood is taken off near enough with the grain
A paring cut which is like a push cut but is towards the body
Both of the above need a stop cut to stop the wood splitting away further than is required.
The slice cut is used to make a groove in the wood to say, suggest a fold in fabric.
The most important point made was the need for sharp tools. Dull or blunt tools are dangerous because too much effort has to be put into a cut. We spent some time on sharpening
The profile of the blade of the knife needs to narrow to a point. Do not use a grinder as the human hand is not steady enough to be accurate. If a little light buffing on a strop is not enough to bring the knife back to sharpness, find the flat planes on the sides of the blade with a stone.
Painting is with acrylics thinned down to the consistency of water colours to give the washed out authentic look. Start with the lightest colours, so that any bleeding into an adjacent area can be covered with a darker colour, or stopped with an undercut. All that is need to finish is a light wax.
In all the above there is no mention of glass paper, and it is not required as the beauty of the style comes from the flat planes created with a knife