Relief Wood Carving – the fine art of using chisels, gouges, and knives to remove small chips from a flat wood board to create a three dimensional design. That design can be worked as a low relief with smooth side walls to each element, a high relief carving where undercuts are made on higher elements to cast shadows on lower elements, and in intaglio where the design is cut in reverse – down into the wood to create a mold.
So … with my husband gone all tasks fall on my senior citizen, little old round mamma shoulders. Today’s task was to replace the old, rotten, holey HVAC duct work with a new, insulated pipe. Now this is a task that I would have been assigned even when he was alive, but I would have had his guidance, support, and encouragement as I worked. Plus he would have noticed that if after three hours I hadn’t returned there might be something a miss and that maybe he might want to call 911.
And … YouTube has assured me that its an easy, know nothing, Harry Home Owner job … ?!?
I’m ready! I have done my homework, have my tools gathered, have the new duct in hand, lots of rolls of Duct Tape, and even have a new tube of Neosporin in the medicine cabinet. I open the covering to the crawl space, light my LED lamp, and start the belly (snake) walk under the house.
The crawl space starts out at a nice 18″ depth but slowly drops as I near the AC unit. The HVAC people who replace the outside unit two years ago forgot … yea! … to connect the drain pipe to the AC so all the old, musty dirt under the house is standing in water. There’s sour mud everywhere.
When I do get to the HVAC opening I have less than 12″ of head space. I can’t lay down because I can’t move my arms enough to work on the duct. So I am crunched against the I-beam that, of course, is just before the furnace. Half on my knees, half on my belly, half on my elbows trying to cut the banding straps that hold the old duct line in place and get the new one into position.
I am wet, I am muddy, and I am twisted up into a pretzel, all while trying to hold up the new duct against the metal opening with one hand while trying to tighten the pipe clamp with the other and, of course, I have gotten the pipe clamp backwards so I am having to use my non-dominate hand to sllllloooowwwwwlllly screw the D#@% thing tight. Its one turn per 1/8″ and I, of course, got the extra large clamp to make sure I had enough …. AHHHH!
The slimy, musty dirt mud has now seeped beyond my blue jeans butt into my extra long blue jean shirt which is tucked into my pants … my nose is plastered against the I-beam to get my hands close enough to keep screwing the clamp … but the worst thing is my glasses are steaming up and the sweat in puddling where my glasses lie on my cheeks. I can not see a thing.
AN HOUR …. It took me an hour to get just the first end on the new HVAC duct into place. At least I hope it is in place but won’t know until I have done the other end and snake bellied out of this nasty, nasty place in which I am trapped.
One more end to do and surely I have learned something about this job so that the second side doesn’t take so long. I have a little more head room, at least a glorious 14″ from the floor and this time the I-beam is behind the duct and not right in front of my nose.
Very, very ,very carefully I set the pipe clamp so that it will be in the right position for my dominate hand and, of course, after pushing, squeezing, squirming the new duct over the outlet I realize I have once again gotten the screw backwards.
But …. Success! …. This side only takes 58 minutes!!!!! The mud has now passed the blue jean, the blue jean shirt and has totally saturated my undies and I won’t even try to describe how I smell. Its time to snake belly out of this muck, go back inside, turn on the AC and hold my breathe hoping neither end of the duct pipe blows off when the AC kicks in.
AIR! I’ve got AIR!!!!! I know that I have to crawl back under the crawl space to put the insulation over the new duct work, but I – have – AIR!
My Dad taught me long ago that all five minute jobs take one and a half hours, two trips to the hardware store, at least three Band-Aids, and a lot of cussing.
I did it in two hours, with only three orders to Amazon, no Band-Aids, and having only ruined my old jeans, old jean shirt, and a pair of undies …
The reason I am sharing my sad Perils of Pauline tale with you today is that I, a hard core feminist, have to admit that the job I did today – a traditionally Harry not Harriet job – was harder than delivering my 8 lb. 13 oz. son … at least during the birth of my son they gave me good drugs!
My husband, Michael, and I began our studio on the web in 1997 – 24 years ago. Our first website was FineArtDog Prints.com, followed within a few months with CarvingPatterns.com. Over these two decades so much has changed, expanded, and even exploded over the internet. So I thought today was a good day to review and reconfirm my Mission Statement for all of my websites and to you, my readers.
This free pattern is a sample of my commitment to my Mission Statement. These are two decorative Wedding Spoon free patterns that can be worked in basswood, a soft wood that is readily available at your local craft store, and carved with a basic, general set of carving tools.
Nothing extra special is needed to make these spoons nor is the wood we will be using so hard that you simply give up …
Who am I?
My name is Lora S Irish and 24 years ago I never thought that where I am today is where life and you would take me. I started out, just like everyone else, as a kitchen table crafter. It is your friendships and interests that have guided my life.
My formal training is as a fine artist, focusing on oil painting, which I received from the University of Maryland. I fulfilled my fine art training through Limited Edition Art Prints.
My craft and hobby background foundation comes from my parents who truly believed ‘why buy it when its more fun to make it!’
I have tried just about every craft, especially what were called the Women’s Arts, that there is. My favorites, those crafts that I constantly return to, are wood carving, and wood burning.
My vocation is that of a published author, website owner, craft pattern creator, and experienced craftswoman.
My avocation is that of a teacher. FreeDictionary.com defines advocator as ‘Onethatarguesfor a cause; a supporter or defender:an advocate of civilrights.’
My cause, my focus, my goals … Teaching the newest beginner how to get started in our crafts. As a long time teacher I still believe that the most important person in the seminar room is the newest newbie and getting them off on a strong foundation of knowledge while helping them find success is the greatest task I have.
I am reconfirming my believe that by teaching the very basics to our crafts, I can help our crafts and hobbies to expand, spread, and grow.
By teaching and focusing on an in-depth look at the basic skills will give you a foundation from which you can build a lifetime of joy in your arts.
Who is my student?
By focusing on the newest of hobbyists. My student is the person that has no idea what the difference is between a round gouge, scoop, sweep, or fishtail. They are the ones that have no idea what 5/4 wood is, how to identify end grain, or what a push v. pull or paring stroke means.
My student is the one that doesn’t yet know that nib and pen tip mean the same thing or that a sepia scale is simply a black to white scale done in brown.
My student is the one that writes me saying, “I haven’t done any hobbies since high school, so how do I start?”
And my student is the one who emails, “Where do I buy wood?” or “How do I get the pattern onto the wood?”
How do I achieve my self-chosen purpose?
I will remain focused on the basic techniques that a beginner needs to learn to grow in their hobby.
I will shared these techniques through my blog postings, FaceBook postings, and forum postings, trying to make the basics fully free and accessible to everyone who is interested.
I will continue to recommend wood burning units and tool sets that can get a beginner started without breaking the bank. And I will recommend tools and burning units that are usable over the wide variety of art styles these hobbies offer.
I will continue to give away free patterns, and free instructions that will get a beginner started.
I will leave the teaching of intermediate, advanced, and expert knowledge and technique to those that are far more capable than I.
And I will tailor my projects so that the newest crafter will not be overwhelmed by all the areas of information they will one day acquire. Focusing on making each and every project one that a new craftsman with limited tools can create and earn the joyous calls of their family and friends of, “You Made That?!?”
Things I will not do!
I will not recommend tools that are either specific to one style of craft and can not be used anywhere else in our hobby. I won’t recommend a curved hook knife that is specific to spoon and bowl carving when a basic round chisel will do nicely to get you going.
I will not insist that you learn to sharpen your carving knife before you have made you very first cutting stroke. Nor will I demand that you fully understand when to chose varnish, polyurethane or BLO finished before you finish your first carving.
And finally, I will not recommend the hardest of woods, no matter what the style of carving, when a soft wood will get you going to learn the basics to your tools, to your cutting strokes, and to your new craft.
Mission Statement 2021 – Get a knife in one of your hands and the wood in the other, let you see how to make the basic cuts and strokes, and I will do that with my personal goal of helping you have quick, well earned success in your new hobby.