It's been a pretty hectic year of travel but now I'm back decompressing at Wildwood and in the studio until January. This has been a gorgeous autumn weekend in Otter Tail County and no better time or place to carve a ball. I've been wanting to carve a large ball for a long time. The objectives were simple: freehand carve a ball as large as a given log will allow without the aid of any measuring tools or templates. Just my eyes and hands.
What began as a 950 pound American Elm log ended up a solid 475 pound wooden ball. I remained true to my goals and was pleased that the ball at least approximates a sphere and has a diameter of a mere 2" less than that of its source log. But as with so many things the true value of this activity was the lessons that were reinforced in the process.
Lesson #1 -
The removal of a very small amount of material can have a huge impact on the overall shape. Choose wisely prior to removing or altering a form, it can't be put back.
Lesson #2 -
Know when to stop. It's critical to determine what is "perfect enough". This is a judgement call which becomes easier the more you do it. The alternative is to keep striving for "absolute perfection" and ending up with nothing.
And the final lesson:
Simple is hard.
Achieving simplicity can be a very arduous journey.
I'm a contemporary wood sculptor living and working in rural Minnesota. I gather my logs locally and travel the country selling what I make from them.