Sunday, 29 May 2011

From out of the Wood

Apart from using wood to create woodcut and wood engraving prints (as explored in the last two posts), I've also taken an occasional excursion into wood carving. For me, half the fun is the opportunity to work with different woods, each of which have different carving characteristics. I have to admit though, the biggest drawback is the amount of time wood sculpture can take, especially when working with very hard woods. As a consequence, I don't carve as much as I'd wish to. From the tiny to the ridiculous, here are a few examples:

'Two Fish'
a miniature carving in sweet smelling Lemonwood (Xymalos monospora) with Abalone eye inlays
5cm x 5cm x 5cm

A couple of very small carvings of sea shells.
The top shell is Black Ironwood (Krugiodendron ferreum), a beast to carve! 5cm x 4cm x 4cm. The lower shell is European Beechwood (Fagus sylvatica). 5cm x 1cm x 1cm

Beechwood carving 4cm x 2cm x2cm
Here's the origin of the wood used for this piece: the handle from a kitchen pastry brush. I don't think my wife has noticed that the brush is missing yet, so don't mention it OK?

On an equally small scale, here's a miniature tree carved from pinewood and painted in acrylics. It stands approx 8cm tall on the (painted) gold base.

Continuing with the fir tree theme, 'Mountain Top' stands 25cm tall and is 20cm at it's widest point. This was carved in Oakwood and Pinewood then painted with acrylics.

Whilst the appearance of a wood grain surface can be very pleasing to the eye, it can also distract from the line and form of the final object. My inclination has usually been to paint my carvings and this follows a long tradition seen across many parts of the world. So, more painted carvings:

'A Gift-Wrapped Mermaid for Louisa'
Oakwood and Pinewood painted with oils & acrylics 40cm x 26cm x 10cm
This really was a labour of love: it was made for my wife.

'Wasp Queen'
Jelutong wood painted with acrylics 50cm x 20cm x 15cm

All images copyright Manfred Hennessy. 
All rights reserved.


  1. I love your sense of humor.

    And the wee carvings! (which remind me of the diminutive Japanese netsuke....which I love!)

  2. the beechwood shells look so tactile:

  3. I am enchanted by your wood carvings. They are wonderful weird and funny, and so beautifully made.