Thursday, 23 November 2017


Hi all,
I promised you in my last post that I would show you a picture of my first attempt at carving a netsuke. It took quite along while to carve it, but I finally got it done.

The netsuke is carved from lime wood, which is used by carvers because it is relatively soft for a hardwood, has a close grain and no knots. It depicts a crane with poppy out eyes guarding its egg, which it is clutching in one of its claws.
I think it came out okay.
Here it is from the other side.
I tried to get a bit of detail into the feathers, but left the top plain to give it that smooth tactile feel.

Here it is from one end.
The eyes let it down a bit. Firstly, they aren't level but also they just aren't very good. I think I will call this netsuke, Clarence the cross eyed crane.
According to the excellent book from which I was taking my instructions, the whites should have been done with faux ivory and the black bit in the centre should have been done with a bit of ram's horn. Anyway, seeing has I'm fresh out of both of these commodities, I decided to use Milliput epoxy putty and, although the product is very good, I failed to execute the eye making operation with any decent level of skill.

Here is view from the neck end.
Yes. those eyes definitely spoil it.
On the plus side, it gave me a good opportunity to have a go at carving, which I've always wanted to do. Working small gives one a real insight into the skills that are required and by comparison something a tad bigger should be easier.
The last view is of the underside. I didn't bother putting in the holes that should be there for the toggles because it will never be used as a netsuke.
I've signed it Sam, because that is what my wife calls me and George would be too big.
I think my biggest disappointment with the outcome of the netsuke is the lack of weight. I expected it feel good in the hand but being so light it doesn't amount to much. I made one a couple of years ago out of polymer clay and that felt much better and was far quicker to do.

Would I do another?
Well the answer to that is yes, but just one. I am currently doing the next exercise in the book and I'm about 75% done. So far I guess I've invested about 15 hours in it and that is far too long. I will finish it and let you have a look but after that I'm moving on to slightly bigger things. Please check out my next post to see how I get on.

Just one last thing. I am giving away free downloads of one of my books at the moment. It's called "A Staffordshire Boy" and is available free on Amazon until the 24th of November. To get a copy just click on the "book's" tab at the top of the page and then onto the book's cover and it will take you straight to Amazon for your free copy. I hope you enjoy it.

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