Friday, March 16, 2012

The importance of signing your work.

There are so many reasons why we should always sign our works. The first, and most important to me, is the future of the piece, and the folks that will one day hold it. You want your loved ones to see that piece of you, each time they look at the piece that you worked so hard to make.

Who knows where your work will end up in the future? If it is not signed, you can probably bet it will be found at a thrift shop, and for about 99 cents. However, if it has been signed, folks are more likely to treat it as a piece of art. A true one of a kind treasure, versus a million copy rip off.

The simple act of signing our work does not make it worth more, but it shows that it is a one of a kind. If you pick up a piece, and it has an artists’ signature or sign on it, you can bet that there are not dozens of those pieces for sale at some tourist trap location. You are holding a person’s hard work, and that artist needed the world to know that they made it by hand.

I think the word that I am dancing around here is provenance. Provenance, from the French provenir, "to come from", refers to the chronology of the ownership or location of a historical object.

You do not want your masterpiece being placed on the knick knack shelf, along with countless windmills and salt shakers, right? No, you want people to look up the artist, and learn as much about the artist as possible. This will only happen if they know who you are.

Think about some of the master painters and their paintings. There are some paintings out there that would have a big historical significance, if the artist had only signed the work. We are fairly sure that a
particular painter painted it, but we can never say so as a 100 percent fact. Why? They failed to sign them.

So, with that said, how do we sign our carvings and sculptures?

We sign our work with what we have available. Believe it or not, people use markers, pencils, and like devices, and then coat the signatures with a coating of some sort. This method is personable, but perhaps not the best. Why? Well, it lowers the perceived value of the work.

Some folks use tools like a scribe to engrave their names or seal. That is better, but if not done well, the same thing may happen. Your seal represents everything you will ever make, have ever made, and the level of skill level that you consider yourself. Simply putting a scribble on your carving, with a marker, almost says that you are not expecting to get very much for your work. This is not always the case, as people love autographs and the like, but as far as carvings go, make your mark look worthy of your asking price. Make people want to collect your work. Make it look as if your work will only go up in value. How? A stamp!

I had this design in mind, and spent about an hour in Photoshop getting it right. Then I submitted the jpeg to InfinityStamps, and in only a couple of weeks, I had a stamp. This will be my “mark”. I feel that it looks professional, and it lets people know that I worked hard on the carving that they are holding.

It is a wood stamp, and it is in reverse of the submitted artwork. I will strike the stamp with a gentle hammer blow, and forever leave my “mark” on the carvings that I carve. I paid about 200 dollars in total, and that will come back to me in no time. My carvings may not be worth more, per say, but they will be worth more to the folks that own them.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle

The GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle.

Here is a great toy, that is very fast to make, and the kids love these things! All one needs to do is to find a willow tree, a small screw, and then get busy!

What is a GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle? Glad you asked! A GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle is a toy that has two parts. One is just a rubbing stick, the other has a propeller that spins on its end. This stick also has a row of grooves on it, causing a pleasing noise as it is worked. As the prop spins, in one direction, the operator says the magic words, "GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle", and it magically changes direction of spin! This can be done over and over, and each time "GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle" is called out, it changes direction!

I saw my very first GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle way back when I was a young boy. My Grandfather arrived from out west with one of these for us, and demonstrated that it did, in fact, work. I could not believe that this was a real thing! For a youngster like myself, this was too much to process. But there it was, right in front of me. The fact that it stopped and changed direction completely blew me away! It wasn't long before I was making my own GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle out of whatever I could find.

You can find these on Ebay, for a small price, or I will sell you one of mine, easy enough. However, since you found it here, you will most likely want to make some yourself. Here are the rough specks for the GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle....

Keep the length of the two sticks to about 10 inches long. The sticks are about as large around as a pencil. Let fresh cuttings completely dry out. One stick should have a crook in it, for the palm of your hand. This is not a deal breaker, but it ads that special something. The rubbing stick should match, but be straight.

The nine grooves are evenly spaced throughout 2 inches. The prop is about one inch in length. I like to make my props while still "on the stick", drill my hole in the center, and then snap it off for balancing. An un-rolled, and bent, paperclip will serve as a balance tool, as you sand on the heavier of the two ends with sandpaper. The heavy end will be the one that travels to the bottom as you spin the prop, while in the paper clip. Drill a hole in the center of the GeeHaw Whimmy Diddles' grooved stick, and screw the finished prop into it. Test it, and make final sanding of all parts. I certainly will sell you some willow branches, or complete GeeHaw Whimmy Diddles, so please leave me a comment or contact me today! Each GeeHaw Whimmy Diddle comes with the secret to make them work!

Thanks for stopping by this blog, and feel free to comment, and subscribe today! There will be a ton of links, project ideas, and cool stuff posted as time passes!

The products that I like to use in order to make GeeHaw Whimmy Diddles are posted in this post as images. These are affiliate links, because I need the money in order to keep blogging. Please use these links before you purchase these tools elsewhere. This would be considered a big act of kindness! Thanks, in advance for your purchase!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First post, day 1.

So, who am I, and why a blog about carving? Glad you asked me that.

I am Steven Ramsdell, a Maine based carving nut. I have other hobbies too, but a passion for carving things indeed.

I was raised by a woodcarver, and I learned the basics at a young age. As a young man, I learned how to handle sharp knives, stain wood, and how to put on a nice finish. Years later, I found myself revisiting my art roots at a great local art college. I am a pro photographer, too, so a blog just seemed like a great fit. Great fit for what? For detailing good carving techniques, that's what!

I plan on using my video, audio, and camera skills to detail just how I go about carving wood and stone, and from start to finish! Safety is no accident, and I am a stickler for safety. My videos and posts will cover all areas of safety, from toxic dust, avoiding cuts, and avoiding hazardous fumes. I will show you how I like to keep my knives sharp, which tools I prefer to use, and why it is that I do the things that I do. I have lots of great ideas, tips, and knowledge to share with you, and a blog setting seems like just the place to do that.

Please, feel free to subscribe right now, and follow this blog right from the start. It only takes a second! You might not want to miss a single idea, tip, or post.

It seems funny to start at the end, but I will be posting about sighing our work, first. Right now, as you read this post, I am working on a post that details how to sign your masterpiece, and why we should all be signing our works. This is a very important thing that we all need to do each and every time we make something. Why? Subscribe today, and let the web bring you the answer! Thanks for finding me, and my blog!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thanks for finding this new carving blog!

I love to carve! I carve wood, stone, and sometimes if I am not careful, I
carve my own hands!
This blog will provide you will projects that I have done,
links to the tools that I prefer, and some very cool ideas that I have. Plus,
all of the goodies that I have come across will be posted right here too!
So, bookmark this blog right now, or subscribe now, and then just sit back and enjoy!