Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Wecheer Carving Tool Kit & the Dawn of Dillo Dangle

Join me on my journey into the future as I purchase an electric chisel! A while back I purchased one to aide in my plans for Participation 2014 at the Maitland Art Center. Okay, so this was a looooong time ago, but it's relevant now because I've made some recent progress on that print. Let's go back to the very beginning….

Designing my table for Participation 2014 finally gave me the impetus to create the triptych I had been planing for the three matching wooden shelves that were discarded from UCF Library's Special Collections & University Archives. I finally decided on a swinging armadillo for the subject matter.

These blocks were rather large, and my design would incorporate a lot of white space. This plus a deadline meant it was finally time to invest in some hardware. I should explain that the power chisel function of the "Wecheer Professional Rotary & Carving Tool Kit" is very different than a rotary tool. I mean, yes there is a rotary tool in there, but that's not why I bought it. I hate carving woodblocks with rotary tools (or "dremel tools" in the common tongue). I feel like I loose all control once the rotary bit hits the wood and inevitably goes skidding off across the surface. Alternatively, the power chisel works much more like a hand carving tool and slices through woodblocks like butter, while still leaving a hand worked texture. (Technically, the block is still handworked, just with more power!)

Photo by Douglas Nelson
After finishing the detail work (and carving out a safety buffer outline) with my hand tools, the power chisel made the rest a dream. No more hours, days even, of carving out white space by hand with my biggest gouge, ensuring the early onset of osteoarthritis!

The triptych is designed to connect to each neighboring panel in the round, meaning if each piece were connected at the edges to make a triangular prism, the ropes in the design would connect across each edge and spiral around the prints. So, that's exactly what I created for my table display, with the addition of luminance. Each panel was printed on thin mulberry paper and backed with a fly pattern cut from Arches Text Weave so the prism could function as a lantern with images displayed both in ink and in light. I was very pleased with how it turned out, and I'm hoping to eventually create a more permanent version of the lantern. However the next step was to combine the panels into one image….. stay tuned for the next installment!

Photo by Douglas Nelson
Photo by Douglas Nelson

Special thanks to Douglas Nelson for the fantastic photos.

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