Allen Stichler – Wood Carving

Bespoke Ornamental Wood Carvings & Tree Sculpture

   May 25

Game of Thrones

I finally got to work on the two thrones for St Mary’s Primary School in Beverley, East Yorkshire, which were to be situated in their impressive wildlife area. I’ve previously posted pictures of Pete Bowser sawing one of the trunks to shape for me, but Pete has recently sent me and the school some pictures of the tree being felled ~ and it was great for the pupils to have a record of the entire process.

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I started with the owl-themed throne, which showed one of our feathered friends reading a book and surrounded by some text. A pretty straightforward task, and although the turkey oak was a bit moist and stringy it was still nice to work with.

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After the lettering the challenge was to find somewhere to squeeze in a caterpillar, which had been the idea of one of the pupils. I struck on the idea of utilizing one of the arm rests, which I began shaping with an arbortech.

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allen-stichler-story-telling-thrones  The throne in position.

The other throne, again part-designed by the St. Mary’s pupils, featured a dove, a rainbow and flowers ~ with some more text above and below.

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Thanks again to Pete Bowser who expertly delivered and positioned the thrones!

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   May 25

Artisans in Action

A well organised and well attended event at the Forest Pines Hotel and Golf Resort, Brigg; “Artisans in Action” is far removed from your average craft fair, with everyone involved required to demonstrate their craft as well as selling the finished product. In the words of the organisers: “those involved behind the scenes of any of our exhibitions/sales are like-minded in their enjoyment of materials and the making of things, and in their wish to raise public awareness of not only what materials/processes are involved in various crafts and arts but also the effort and dedication of those whose works are on display ~ work of the highest quality, made with love, skill and attention to detail.”

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Not having any transportable carving work on the go, I took the opportunity to start another wood-cut block in readiness for new Beverley Folk Festival stock; I managed to finish the main design for a new print featuring a fox, and added to the nice people we met over the course of the weekend it was a success in every way. Sadly this was the last event of its kind, as after five years the organisers are moving on to other things ~ although we are part of a Christmas Fair at the same venue later this year.

 

 


   Apr 17

The Burning Times

John, a participant on the recent Mires Beck woodcarving course, kindly lent me his pyrography kit to play about with. I must admit I found it quite enjoyable, and I fancy doing a bit more; I set my ambitions low and attempted a simple line drawing of a hare (what else?!) on a spare bit of plywood. A quick Google search told me that oak is not really suitable as the grain is too bumpy ~ a shame as I had a nice piece set aside; the cheap plywood seemed to work pretty well though, and was good enough for a learning curve.

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I was reasonably satisfied with my first attempt ~ the trick is not to look at superior work on the internet! I’ve ordered a budget kit this week, so I’ll see if I can learn as I go along.


   Apr 17

Spring Workshop Comes to a Close

The final weekend at Mires beck for the Spring carving workshop, and as usual everyone took home some lovely sculptures. All the participants managed their time perfectly and the last hour was remarkably relaxed, without the merest hint of panic!

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David’s effective Yorkshire rose.

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Jackie with her well-carved hare.

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John’s great kingfisher ~ and the beak survived!

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No, that middle picture isn’t a “Spot the Difference” competition, it’s Trevor with his fantastic Tree Spirit.

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All ready to be taken to their new homes.

We hope to be able to fit in another workshop around the end of September, when the greenhouses at Mires Beck are a little cooler.


   Apr 17

Forest Fairies

I was asked by Eibe Play Ltd to carve six oak panels for a play area in Alice Holt Forest in Surrey, all with a woodland fairy/elf theme; we’d had several discussions initially about me perhaps carving some large logs  from home, which would then be transported to Surrey and then set in the ground at the play area ~ and this was the basis for this fantastic promotional film from Eibe : https://vimeo.com/146232653 , which cleverly superimposes some images of past carvings on to trunks to give a sense of the finished look.

It was soon agreed that to carve and fix panels to existing stumps on site would be the best thing to do, and I ordered six panels of oak, each 800mm x 500mm x 75mm and got to work.

I had to flatten each panel with an electric hand planer as there was a certain amount of  “cupping”, and no-one I know has a thicknesser to cope with timber this size. Then it was the usual process of tracing my designs on the oak and chipping away.

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I was working to a completion date of the end of April, so the pressure was on!

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Leveling the background on the last panel.

A small concern was how to package the panels, as I didn’t want them arriving in Surrey with a nose missing; luckily I happened upon a listing on Gumtree’s “Freebie” section, where a chap was getting rid of a number of boxes of large bubble wrap, which was perfect. What luck! It took nearly as long to package the panels as it did to carve them.

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The finished panels:

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Photos of the individual panels, with close-ups, will appear on the gallery pages shortly.

 


   Apr 14

Week Two at Mires Beck

More photos from the carving course at Mires Beck, North Cave:

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Trevor making progress with his Tree Spirit….

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Jackie cracking on well with her hare….

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John working on his kingfisher ~ watch that beak!

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David carefully carving his Tudor rose.

Some snaps from the woodland area around Mires Beck, always good for spotting fungi:

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   Apr 02

It’s That Time Again

There are various signs of Spring: bluebells, daffodils, blossoms, lambs and boxing hares, but I can usually tell it’s that time again by the advent of carving workshops at Mires Beck. Despite it being 5 or 6 months since the last course, we slotted back into the old routine, with a couple of new faces in a small group of four (since two unfortunately dropped out due to ill health).

allen-stichler-carving-workshops  David, in the early stages of his Tudor Rose….

allen-stichler-carving-workshops  John creating a Kingfisher….

allen-stichler-carving-workshops  Trevor working on a Wood-Spirit’s nose….

allen-stichler-carving-workshops  …and Jackie carving a hare.

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The first of three sessions, so no nerves as yet!


   Apr 02

Saint Mary’s Throne

St Mary’s Primary School in Beverley, East Yorkshire, is in the process of creating a lovely outdoor learning or “Countryside” area, complete with a hedgerow to encourage birds and wildlife, bird feeders and “bug hotels”.  I’ll soon be starting on a pair of thrones for this area, after addressing the pupils late last year to chat about design ideas.

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“Stay awake at the back!”

As usual, I had the invaluable assistance of Pete (of Pete Bowser Tree Services), who sourced a fantastic piece of timber and wielded his chainsaw to great effect.

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It was quite a tough lump of Turkey Oak, and it was a trickier job than usual for Pete ~ and when I came to sand off the saw marks and smooth out any imperfections, I found it just as awkward:

allen-stichler-beverley-st-mary's-primary  Shaving off the lumps and bumps with the Arbortech

allen-stichler-beverley-st-mary's-primary  Eight 80-grit discs!

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Looking forward to carving this in a week or two, it’s a really nice shape and should look effective.


   Apr 02

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Magazine

A nice piece in a recent issue of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust magazine (thanks to eagle-eyed Steph and Karen, who passed it on):

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   Mar 07

Guess How Much

The main subject for this carving in Hessle was an image based on the illustrations from “Guess How Much I Love You”, a popular children’s book.

I’d been a bit wary about this stump holding much detail with it being Blue Spruce (basically a Christmas Tree), and very soft and wide grained ~ actually it carved surprisingly well all things considered, as long as you kept your wits about you and watched the grain and kept the tools sharp.

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Around the side was a jolly goblin, looking up at an owl peering down from the back of the stump.

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Round the opposite side, another goblin looking out of an opening:

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Underneath him, a fairy door:

allen-stichler-woodcarving……and a secret key:

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…..and a mouse guarding his home:

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A coat of oil brings it all together:

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