The September meeting will be held at the Chisholm Community Center on September 14, 1998 at 7:00PM. The center is available to us from 6:00PM to 9:00PM. The monthly BOARD MEETING will be held from 6:30PM to 7:00PM before the meeting. Santuck dates to mark on your calendar are September 5, October 3, November 7, and December 5.
GEMS FROM ED
While assaulting the head of the ol' Kowaliga Indian the other day with a variety of sharp (an' sometimes not sharp enough) instruments, it occurred to me that "you'd better get it right ol' man, or everyone will know it ain't right." That's the thing about carving realistic human figures. Everyone knows if "it ain't right." They at least have a creepy old mug staring them in the face every morning, then they brush by at least a trillion million live models every day -- tall ones, short ones, fat ones, skinny ones (mostly fat ones, tho', statistics tell us), ugly ones, ooo-la-la ones, young ones, old ones, female ones, male ones, black ones, brown ones, white ones (well, pink or cream colored ones, at least), hairy ones, and last, but certainly not least, bald ones ("bald is beautiful"). Everybody knows when you got it right, and when you screwed it up!
Now I've done a lot of animals in my time, and even a few birds, but I have very little confidence they're really right. Unless you're a "birder," or a zoologist, or have owned animals all your life, you may not know if you "got it right." And with the way I've fished over the years, I ain't never going to carve a fish. I haven't seen enough fish on the end of my line to use for bait (yeh, I know I live on Lake Martin,
And no, I don't fish -- "What!" you say, "you live on a lake and don't fish?" Yeh, you got it. Don't every bring the subject up again!) I've got carvings all over the house and when company comes and begins scanning the dusting nightmare they usually pass over the animal carvings with a casual "hmmm," but then stop and examine the human figures. Apparently they don't know if I got the animals right either, but they do know if that human piece looks like Aunt Susie, or that piece resembles Uncle Bill, or if any of them look really human at all. They know if I blew, it, even if they never studied art or anatomy at all. They don't need calipers to know if the nose is in the wrong place, or the eyes are too big, or too small, or too high on the head.
Which brings me back to ol' Kowaliga. Been fussing over this guy for fifty or sixty hours now and just a couple of weeks ago I got a picture of the original Kowaliga Indian, the one Hank Williams knew. The one standing now (or partially standing -- it's all busted to pieces) is just a plaster replica of the original. The original was stolen years ago and replaced with this horrendous plaster replica that has been vandalized and patched over the years to make it look even worse than the original replica. Hank Williams never saw the replica, and the song he wrote was about the original "wooden Indian." I figured that because our humble rendering is going into the Hank Williams museum, it ought to bear some resemblance to the original. Now, the original Kowaliga Indian was no great work of art (it was acquired from a Pontiac dealership in Alexander City), but it's the one ol' Hank wrote about (don't know why, but he did). So I called up the owner of Cecil's Restaurant, by Kowaliga bridge on Lake Martin, where the Kowaliga Indian (and its shameful plaster replica) stood all these years, and asked if he had any pictures of the original. He was kind enough to send me a photo with Hank Williams' wife standing right next to it. I decided not to carve Hank's wife, but determined to do the head similar to the one in the photo.
The problem with a photo, of course, is that there is always distortion in photos (the camera only "sees" without distortion that which is in a direct line with the center of the lens) If the camera lens is in direct line with the nose, then the top of the head, the arms, the legs, the feet, are all distorted. If you take measurements from the photo, size them to your carving, and then try to render them in wood it will be all wrong. Two years ago I tried that with a picture of my dad seated and looking right into the camera. I had the picture blown up to the exact size of the carving I wanted to do. Carefully measured everything! Then carved it. My poor dad looks like a hump backed ostrich! There's a way to compensate for the distortion and it's explained in detail in Ian Norbury's book Fundamentals of Figure Carving (if you like doing people and you doin'g own this book, run, do not walk, out to buy it, it is essentially the definitive book on carving people and would be a great help even in carving caricatures). One day I'll do ol' dad again.
Aneeeeeway, back to Kowaliga "rain in the face." I can't rely on measurements from the photo (it's too small anyway) and the dear old wooden head is no longer around "in the flesh,", and I seriously doubt he's going to saunter up here with a tape measure in his hand to let me take measurements from his cranium (at least I hope not). Another digression -- I recently learned that the book Modeling A Likeness in Clay by Daisy Grubbs has 20 diagrams telling precisely where to take measurements from a live model to get an exact likeness transferred to an "in the round" medium. Going to have to get that book. . . . Back to the subject at hand. After reworking Kowaliga's face I have been able to get somewhat close to the way the original looked (not as close as I'd like, however -- there's something wrong around his mouth, I think), but it's at least a lot closer than the plaster thing. Now, if Hank Williams walks into his museum and looks and says, "That ain't the ol' 'Kowliga' I
Knew," I'm headin' for the hills and goin' to ask Mr. Rudolf if he knows any good hiding places in North Carolina near Andrews. Hank, old buddy, no offense, but I'd much rather see a mediocre rendition of the wooden Indian, than I would see you. How many years has it been since they laid you to rest under the ol' oak tree? 1953 was it? Wheeeew.
Looking for your moment of fame, your time in the spotlight? Well, now's the time to shine. We're looking for someone who is willing to publish the newsletter each month. Rick Pitts wants to pull the plug on his computer, and throw a brogan through the monitor's screen at the end of
The year and we're looking for someone who's willing to endure humiliation, abuse, severe depression, and long tedious hours into the wee hours of the night, fighting migraines and past deadlines so members of this August club can line the bottom of their bird cages. Now, don't trample me to death at the next club meeting (on Sept. 14th) trying to
Get your name first on the list for editor of this prestigious publication.
Also -- we need a slate of officers for the coming year. Only you can make a difference. The positions of President, VP, Secretary and Treasurer are open. I'm a little nervous. I've heard that tar is being heated, and chickens have been plucked for some ritual that is being planned by the membership! Tho' I have not had any "improper relations" recently with anyone that I can recall, I probably should bow out, while the bowin's possible. And fer all I know, Ann's already absconded with the funds, Cindy's tucked all the meetings minutes in a time capsule to be opened in the year 4000 and Bill Dillard's been waving a nasty looking knife at me and is frothing at the mouth. As you can see, the present slate of officers have deteriorated rapidly. HEEEELP!!!!
TIP OF THE MONTH
This month's tips come from Ron Wells, Resident Carver, Valley Road Woodcarvers, Silver Dollar City, MO
Those blue plastic Wal-Mart bags--do we ever run out of uses for them? Here's an idea for packing a small carving for shipping: Loosely fill a Wal-Mart bag with Styrofoam peanuts. Secure the top by tying the handles together. Place in the bottom of a box. Nestle the carving on top. Place a second Wal-Mart bag with peanuts on top of the carving. The plastic bags keep the peanuts from shifting in the box. They also make it much easier for the recipient to unpack the package. Just lift out the top bag keeping those peanuts contained.
The following was extracted from the August 1998 issue of The Piedmont Carver newsletter. Let's not let something happen to us.
WILL SWCA FOLD??? In the August 1998 Southeastern Carver newsletter, Mac Proffitt, Past President and Walt Houle, (Past) Editor, said, "The SWCA has arrived at a time where a painful decision is necessary. Faced with no nominees for any club office, widespread lack of interest and a steadily declining membership, it is time to decide if the SWCA has had its day and should shut down. There is apparently no one available to take over the reins and assume club offices. Current officers terms ended on June 30, 1998, and none have agreed to serve again. Without officers and with a declining, apparently uninterested membership, have we reached the end? Is anyone reading this newsletter interested? We hope that someone steps forward and continues the great work the club has been known for in the past. The Southeastern Wood Carvers Association has members all over the southeast. Surely someone is capable, willing and ready? Anyone?
SHOWS AROUND THE SOUTH
The Piedmont Wood Carvers Club, Inc. is hosting EXPO '98 "Sculptures & Designs in Wood Show" September 19 & 20, 1998. The show will be held at the Fluor Daniel Centre I Building, Fluor Daniel Drive, Greenville, SC (beside Haywood Mall). Times of the show and exhibition are Saturday (10AM to 5PM) and Sunday (11AM to 4PM). Admission is $2.00 for adults and children under 12 years old are free. In addition to a show, vendors, artists and a whittling contest [no power tools or sandpaper] (Sat and Sun 1PM) will be held.
Oct 3-4 ------ Tannehill Woodcarver' 13th Annual Show. Tannehill, AL
Oct 10-11 --- Chattanooga Wood Carvers Wonder in Wood Show, Chattanooga, TN
Oct 17-18 --- Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival, Perry, GA
It is time again for the fall Beginning and Intermediate Wood Carving classes to be taught at the Montgomery Armory-Learning Arts Center. The classes are scheduled to begin on September 08. Nancy Crippen will be teaching carving a raccoon in the Intermediate Class. She has room for a maximum of 10 students. The cost of the class is $35 plus $10 for the blank. The class will entail carving with a knife for the most part since we try to avoid using power tools at the center due to the amount of dust they generate.