Archive for November, 2010

*Sizing of Class Projects


Bill & June, Wildfowl Artists

Trial & error is the path of much learning. Enrolling in a class with an able and knowledgeable instructor will help to avoid many of the “errors” that the teacher himself has encountered along the way over the years.  Many questions and choices are resolved along the path of the learning curve.  One of those inevitable choices  that are presented is, “what  size  should this new carving be?”.   Over the years (& decades)  I have known students who do not want to carve any bird smaller than full-scale or “life-sized”. For a few others, “the bigger, the better!”.  My position must be  a bit more practically oriented.  I must take into consideration  the basic facts posed by any new project. Firstly,  we normally have approximately  30-36 hours to work with over 10-12 weeks.   Our typical student tends to do very little homework. I can’t push them very much because I realize that it is difficult to “carve-out” 3-hours from anyone’s schedule to be in class, much less several more to work on their homework. The answer is not for me to extend classes again, as I have in the past, because those same individuals who can’t finish their projects in 10 weeks, can’t finish them in 12 weeks either! The lesson that I’ve most recently learned is that the more time they have, the more time they will take!  Our 2011 classes are published as 12 week classes, and so they will remain for 2011! Due to the disappointing results of the extra 2 weeks this year, we will re-turn to the 10-week program for 2012. See, I’m on my own “learning-curve” too.

My “practical” approach to sizing our typical class-project is for the pattern’s top & side profiles to each fit nicely on 8 1/2 @ 11″ notebook paper.  If necessary to reduce the pattern from “life-size” to fit the page, I simply reduce it accordingly on my PC’s printer.  Resultantly, I have several shelves filled with individual notebooks for most of the bird-projects we have wit ever taught. These notebooks are augmented with up-dates frequently as articles and reference photos continue to present themselves. Whenever I find myself reprising a former project, I simply pull the notebook on that particular bird and make whatever, if any, modifications that might be appropriate to the project.  For instance, I’m planning to carve a Barred Owl (not as a class) for next year; the notebook has been started. Likewise, both our Spring and Summer Classes for next year happen to be “reprises” (by popular demand). I’ll soon be consulting those notebooks too.  A last but important consideration when planning to carve a larger carving is that the larger carving “must  cost more” to any prospective collector!  There are fewer who can afford them. These are a few of my long-held views. Your replies are welcomed below. Oh yes; please remember to keep those bird-feeders filled and “Old Glory” flying!

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*Winter Hiatus, Again!


Al l of a sudden, this year’s Shows, Classes , Carve-Ins and carving-projects  are over! The Holidays have arrived with Thanksgiving and will finally be over too with the New year 2011! We are “officially” in our annual “Winter Hiatus”, a time for re-charging our batteries and reflecting over the year past with a view towards  doing even better (not more) next year.  It’s a time when you’re not on my calendar so much and I’m not on yours so much either. We’ll  enjoy re-engaging with the whole ball of works again in the Spring.  While on our down-time and not having to work  around class-schedules  on the calendar, I have a lengthy list of former class-projects to finish-up.  All of these are former class-projects that were set-aside so I could commence the next classes coming along.  I’ll just mention the one I’m currently working on is the Eastern Bluebird. I have the best intentions of taking some “world-class” instruction on habitat along the way. Our Carving Year always commences with the Miami Valley Wood-carver’s Show in Middletown, OH. ,on the first weekend of March each year. I’m honored to have again invited to be a judge at that show. Our first classes always commence on the second weekend of March. We expect to do five shows again next year.  I realize that more than a few of our Hamonhaus Carvers also have a few unfinished class-projects to complete. Please be sure to be in touch with me to set a mutually convenient time for you to come by.  That applies to any painting, as well. Please remember to keep those bird feeders filled.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*2010 Artistry in Wood


We’ve exhibited in most of these  shows sponsored by the Dayton Carving Guild since 1988, my first year of carving. My teacher, Bob Wenning insisted that I enter my 2d bird-carving (ever) in the Ma Hai Feng Novice category.    I was pleased as punch just to win an honorable mention green ribbon.

My  very same Saw-whet Owl went on to it’s next show in Troy, OH where it won a red ribbon in it’s category (not Novice) and sold the first  hour for $300.00!

Artistry in Wood represents to us, the largest and most competitive show in our limited range; it’s a “must do” show for hundreds of carvers.  We don’t enjoy the effort and expense of traveling far to do “our thang”! In 1991 (when my Miata was manufactured in Japan), June offered to “show our birds” at AIW because I was still in the hospital following my first open-heart surgery. She and daughter Michelle did so and took a video of it for me to see. She sold our first Hummingbird that weekend. Every experience is magnified in that show due to it’s extraordinarily large scale.

A few other highlights:

* We were thrilled to have several dozen of “our” Hamonhaus Carvers” drop by and  say hello.

*  The most customer traffic that we can ever recall seeing anywhere.

*  Met famous Carver/Author Rosalyn Daisey ( I own nearly all of her books) who is very gracious. she’s putting the finishing touches on her new book about furry animals. Yes, even me, the “birds-only-guy” fully expect to buy her new book.  I’ve always wanted a “chipmunk”!

*  8 new contacts signed-up on our “yellow pad” to be contacted for new classes in the future. That’s where 99% of our students come from!

*Consulted with World Class Carver/Teacher Kenny Vermillion about coming to his Indiana home soon to learn some of his habitat techniques. I’ve wanted to do this for years.

*Consulted with Ken Alvey to come to his Indiana Home next year  when he again hosts Bob Guge as a teacher.

*Discussed with a family to teach a “Beginners” class to  them this fall/winter!  Imagine that!

*  I was commissioned by a wood-worker who makes furniture to carve a bird-finial for a replica high-boy bom-chest.

* I am invited to be again, one of the 3  2011 Judges at the Miami Valley Carver’s Guild Show , Middletown, OH, the first weekend of March.

* Our Ring-necked Pheasant (1/2 Sz) came in 2d Place in it’s category, “Birds of Prey and Game Birds”. with a Red Ribbon. 4 Weeks ago, it took the “Blue” in Cincinnati, coming in just ahead of our Great Horned Owl, which won the “Red” and was immediately sold  at it’s show-debut. At AIW, our Pheasant was bested handily by Ken Alvey’s Great Horned Owl . All of Ken’s birds are great. We feel that a “Red” at AIW is like a “Blue” elsewhere! We’re very pleased.

Thanks for “tuning in”…and as usual, keep those bird-feeders filled!

Happy birding and carving, Bill


Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*The Daily Grind


“The Daily Grind” (title of today’s blog) might be appropriate for an article for a Coffee House Blog or for a Woodcarving Blog; in this case, it’s sorta both!  Yes, it’s about carving (habitat) and I am, as you might expect, drinking coffee!  We take our meager exhibit to “Artistry in Wood” Friday afternoon (3 1/2 days from now) to set it up for the weekend show. To freshen-up our table, we want to have a new bird-carving there. It’s status is that the Red-headed Woodpecker is finished except for a little more paint; the base is finished except for some foliage and a lot of paint (from scratch).  So, June will tackle the paint and me, the foliage.

Yesterday, I brought some snippings of Boston Ivy in from the yard and color-copied them on my PC-Printer. Today, I plan to trace them onto mylar (clear-plastic) sheets with a black sharpie and cut-them out for traceable-patterns of several sizes of the leaves.  We’ve done this process before and at the Habitat Seminar I conducted earlier this year.  Using the black-sharpie again, I’ll trace several sizes of leaves on to a sheet of thin brass and cut them out with scissors. Gotta be careful of not getting finger-cuts from the sharp edges.  Using a finger-nail file or, a small sand-paper drum on my micro-motor, , I’ll sand-to-dull those sharp edges.  Using brass or copper wire, cut to stem-length,  I’ll use my upholstery-tack-hammer & small anvil to flatten about 1/2″ of both ends of each piece of wire-stems. Then, I’ll clean each stem by sanding lightly with swiss-paper.  My design for this particular base is to cut approximately 1/8″ copper or brass wire into 2 1′ long vines, grinding a taper onto one end of each vine. Without quite so much detail, I’ll just explain that the stems are to be silver-soldered onto the leaves and then, on to the vines. Veins will be scribed onto the leaves and the  solder-joints all to be ground/sanded smooth and epoxied & sanded again.   These are all still flat and as such, to be painted. Next, all leaves should be fashioned/curled-slightly to resemble the live leaves out in the yard. On the vines, I expect to solder 1″ posts to be glued into holes drilled in the sides of the base.  Hopefully, this can all be accomplished by Friday afternoon.  If successful, I hope a few of you will see the results at the show or later, on this blog’s photo page.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

*Our Very Favorite Woodcarving Show!


Sauder Village 2010

Archbold, OH is over 3 hrs N. of here. We’ve just attended the Woodcarver’s Show & Sale there at the Sauder Village’s Founder’s Hall for our 6th year. We had the privilege to be honored again with their Award of Excellence which comes with prize money and more importantly a custom plate (dish) created by the Sauder Historic Village’s Potter to commemorate the Award and the Event.  last year, the Senior’s Group of the Centerville Church of Christ (about 20 of us) visited here, enjoyed a wonderful concert featuring the Barber Shop Quartet Singers of America en-masse on stage.  We were thrilled to encounter Jan Nofziger, retiring (nothing “retiring” about her!) Coordinator of Events for Sauder.  She has been the magic in that important role for years.  The new “magic” is her replacement, Dawn Hauter,  who has just reached her first aniversary employed in the Sauder Team and has certainly distinguished herself beautifully this year by orchestrating one of our best shows ever.  Our sincere appreciation and Kudos to the Sauder Family for their hospitality, hands-on involvement and for being “friends” to all of us carver’s; they are unique in the very best possible way.

Happy birding and carving,  Bill

Bald Eagle #3

Bald Eagle #3

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