Autumn Leaves made Simple
Thursday 17 May 2012
Bring a little bit of Autumn into your home with these leaves made simple by Paul Bignell
It's that time of year again when all I seem to do is sweep up leaves in the garden. Even though it's a never ending job I am always amazed by the mass of colour the autumn leaves have, so I decided to do a couple of projects for the class and add an 'autumn- effect' as an optional extra.
On a different note it was so good to see and talk to some of you at the European woodworking show in October, especially the person from Lowestoft who brought along eight back copies of Woodcarving magazine so that I could sign my projects. I was also surprised that so many of you brought along your meerkats for me to see and special thanks to the young son of one carver who did a fantastic on-the-spot meerkat impression.
I am going to show you two leaves, the English oak and the sycamore. For the oak I have used a piece of wood approximately 150 x 75mm (6 x 3in), and for the Sycamore approximately 125 x 125mm (5 x 5in).
Mark your outline design on the chosen piece of wood and cut out the outline for the oak with simple curves. This job lends itself well to the 'V'-tool, and then using a shallow gouge, remove some of the background material from around the outside of the leaf. Next using the same shallow gouge, working from the outer edges into the centre, remove wood to give some depth to the actual leaf, you may find at this stage you will want to remove a little more of the background material from around the leaf. Once you are happy
with this stage, mark the veins back on to the leaf and remove with either a 'V'-tool or the knife of your choice, leave it as a tooled finish, add a bit of Danish oil (or oil of your choice) and you have a nice but simple carving. If you want to go one stage further for the touch of autumn add a colour of your choice - there is no set pattern, I have never seen two the same!
The process is the same for this leaf, except in stage 2, cutting the outline, this leaf has lots of sharp points and curves so the best way to create the outline is by a series of simple stab cuts. Stage 3 is similar but removing the background material takes a little more care to avoid destroying the nice sharp edges. As with the oak leaf, remove wood from the edges in to the centre to give your leaf some shape, mark in the veins and cut out using the same method as with the oak leaf. Again a splash of colour gives it that autumn look as an added dimension to the carved leaf concept, you can scale the design to any size you like and turn them into a three dimensional bowl (or sculpture). I hope you have as much enjoyment with these as I did.