Monday, February 27, 2012

Ian Agrell's Carving Class

Acanthus Leaf
     Well, I'm putting it out there for all to see.  To think that this started out as a 1" thick piece of African Mahogany that is about 7" wide and 13" long.  All hand work and to get to this stage was about two and a half days.  I put a couple of coats of shellac on it to seal and protect the piece.  The class was pretty intensive and with only 4 of us there we were able to get as much help as we asked for.  There's nothing like individual instruction from someone who's mastered this craft to point you in the right direction!  A dvd or pictures and text in a book just can't do that.
     I really felt like the table's were turned, many times my students would ask how in the world I'd do something and make it look so easy.  My reply was always "experience and learning from my mistakes", now I can feel their frustration in my own attempts to complete this leaf.  The class went from 9-5 every day and we'd take a lunch break but then keep on carving.  Very inspired and used the remainder of a gift certificate from Lee Valley to buy a couple of Hirsch carving tools as soon as I returned home.  Then I went to Woodcraft to order a few more Pfiel tools from them that I feel I needed.  Really like them and Ian highly recommended them as well.  Can't wait to get them and continue my learning curve.
     After finishing this required project I began work on two picture frames I'd brought from home.  They're made of Basswood so much easier carving but also easier to blow out the edges.  One of them is reeded and I plan to use it to work on my water gilding technique -- honestly not sure if there's enough time left for me to accomplish all I want to do in this life.  Some refer to that as a "bucket list" but since I keep adding things to it it's really not a list!  A plus to taking this workshop was being able to spend the week with my sister, something we hadn't done since we were kids and that was some time ago!


  1. Looks great, John. I can't wait to see it in person.

  2. Very nice! The details of the woodwork are beautiful.

    1. Thanks, I've expanded that design and am in the process of making a carved panel for a kitchen recess above the stove. Not getting any easier but we keep working on it anyway!