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

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