I have made three sculpture bases for my brother, Duncan Park. Duncan is a very skilled stone sculptor who is based on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, so he lives right on top of his favourite carving material!
The bases were shaped from Honduran mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). Once very popular in woodworking, this species is consequently endangered now in many areas and Brazil has banned export of its timber. Illegal logging is a threat to the existence of some Swietenia species such as this one and is a massive and very real problem.
I have to say that I wouldn't buy or use this timber unless it was absolutely, definitely recycled. The timber used in these bases had been left lying around unwanted for years by at least three previous owners and was in danger of being thrown away. I was very content to utilise it in those circumstances, but it seems important to mention the issue here. Woodworkers in the USA and UK are the main market for mahogany and so it is directly our responsibility to source materials like these carefully.
Yesterday was very happily spent teaching volunteers at the Tree Life Centre in Kingswood, Bristol.
The centre is run by the Trust for Conservation Volunteers and sells native trees and plants. We have been carving 'way in' and 'out' marker posts as well as oak signs for their Open Day on the 10th April that show different areas of the site. The volunteers came up with some great designs for them and I think that the signs look fantastic.
I'm really looking forward to another day's carving there with visitors to the Open Day.
One other interesting job recently was a new kind in my experience: while-you-wait lettercutting! The people who contacted me had a very small, specific period of time in which they could drop by my studio and have a wooden object engraved. Luckily, I could stop by after running some workshops and managed to do their lettercutting for them while they waited at the studio. It was nice to be able to help them in such a tight time schedule on a piece that was obviously very important to them.
|Image by C.S.|