This is the closest I’ve come to working in clay. Over the winter, I was asked to design and carve a pottery chop, a.k.a. pottery stamp, featuring the ABS initials of the ceramic artist. I had even been supplied with a lovely turned piece of boxwood along with plenty of extra in the form of a branch section. After sketching a number of designs, I meticulously carved the letters into the end grain of the boxwood, looked at the results, patted myself on the back, then realized I’m a bonehead (see below).
As most of you immediately noticed, I forgot to draw and carve the letters in mirror image! After beating myself up, I carved a new double-ended blank (as suggested, for large and small pots) from a piece of the boxwood branch and started again. The top photo shows the results of my test in some clay. The larger is dime-size, just under 3/4″ (18mm) in diameter. The smaller is about 11mm, or just under 1/2″.
I sent along my bungled one as well, thinking maybe it could be used somehow for the molding of a positive stamp of some sort.
This was also the first time I had carved boxwood, and I’ve been missing out. It’s no wonder it is revered for so many special uses. This stuff is amazing in its fine grain and ability to hold detail. It’s hard to describe — maybe like carving a hard wax, but better. If you find anyone trimming some big old boxwood hedges, save some and dig in.