View Full Version : Off in a new direction

Philip Allin
02-09-2010, 10:00 PM
While traveling in the Pacific Northwest I became intrigued with the contemporary forms of carving being done by Native (Indian) artists. Some pieces are shaped before traditional colors are applied, then the final carving defines the crisp edges of color areas and exposes the underlying wood, usually yellow or red cedar.

I decided to try the technique on a round blank of sycamore wood. Since the wood is fairly dark, the exposed parts had to be the dark areas of the design. I'm satisfied with this first attempt, but will do the next project in yellow cedar, or poplar, or jelutong.


Chuck Nickerson
02-10-2010, 1:49 PM
Excellent! For the last year I have been accumulating books on this style, and even picked up a few bent knives and adzes. It's time for me to get it in gear.

David Helm
03-04-2010, 3:22 PM
I've been playing with this style carving for years, actually doing workshops with some of the most talented carvers. I primarily focus on mask carving. My tools consist of three adzes (a gutter adze, a lip adze and a straight adze) and numerous degrees of bend in crooked knives plus some straight knives. If you are interested in learning more about the tools, contact Greg Blomberg at kestreltools.com. He is retired but still does some tool making. His blades are beautiful and carve well.

Chuck Nickerson
03-05-2010, 1:19 PM
I picked up Greg's adzes before he retired. My bent and straight knives are from North Bay Forge. Here is Los Angeles, finding wood is the bigger issue. What species do the traditional carvers use? Do they carve wet or dry?

David Helm
03-06-2010, 11:47 AM
Traditional carvers use red and yellow cedar and red alder (more alder than anything these days). The carving is done green. Fresh cut alder is the best. When doing fine details (usually last in the carving process) the wood should be getting dry for crispness. Greg, though retired, still sells some tools. I just recently got a straight knife blade from him.

Philip Allin
06-20-2010, 2:06 PM
Thanks, David, for your information on the woods & carving approach being used. My wife and I are attending a weeklong session in Campbell River, B.C. in mid-August on the Kwaguilth (Kwakwaka'wakw) culture - focussing on design and carving. It is offered thru Elderhostel (now called Road Scholar). We have a condo in Seattle, where we are currently enjoying the dreary weather. My cell phone is 760-223-0322