Green woodworking can imply more than just the general notion of working wood that is still relatively fresh with a high moisture content. Among other things, the term connotes the idea of working with nature, sensitively considering the unique attributes of each bit of tree, rather than thinking of a chunk of wood as just so much plastic. The carver has to be flexible and adapt to what nature has provided in terms of the flow of fibers and other characteristics. This can be a serendipitous journey between hands and material as the destination is slowly revealed. To me, this is one of the most fun aspects of greenwood carving; I just like to play with cool sticks.
I gathered the stick that became this goose-inspired bowl from a small cherry tree that, after years of fighting for light beneath the canopy, had fallen in the woods. Much of it was in the early stages of decay. Among other pieces I put in my pack on successive walks, there was a sharp crook with patches of bark already missing and fungus at work on the sapwood.
As I worked with it back in the shop, the solid heartwood revealed dark streaks and dramatic color variations. The bend in the fibers guided the design and allowed for a thin elongated tail and a neck stretching upward.
The twist in those fibers directed the serpentine line that flows from the beak to the tip of the tail.
I don’t usually sand pieces, but in this case I didn’t want texture competing with the dramatic figure and color of the tree. Scraping and sanding achieved the effect I wanted with this one. Actually, there is some subtle contrast in the texture through the piece, with the inside surface left from the hook knife and the underside of the wings left from the gouge. Fingertips will notice.
It’s 14 inches measured in a straight line from the beak to the tip of the tail, 8 1/2 inches high, and 3 1/2 inches wide. I need to hold on to this one for now, but I should have some other things to offer up soon.
Hoping you find some cool sticks this week.