Rope and Tire Swing bone carvings

Rope and Tire Swing bone carvings for MCASD. Still trying to figure out how to make the swing work as a necklace. It doesn’t have much weight so I might work some kind of straight wire into the ‘ropes’. The tire makes more sense to me as a necklace and seems to set a different tone. More of a by the lake kind of vibe. the idea behind the rope and tire swing is just building off the ladder concept. Things we kind of take for granted but are very familiar. Swings don’t necessarily elevate you but they support you while you glide through the air. I think seeing this kind of imagery conjures up memories of being young.

Panther Carving in Progress (with black rendering)

This is the piece we did the dye tests for. I like the texture that came out of the surface so I’m hesitant to attempt to dye it black but whatever the patron chooses will be ok. This design took much longer than In anticipated even though I tried to keep it very simple. It feels like I carved it several times over before I was happy with the proportions. I learned a lot especially using the graver tools and carving in relief. If we try to dye it I am not sure how the piece will turn out but I am eager to see.

Bone Carving Resources – The Studio Tapu Book List

From time to time people contact me through my website asking how to go about making their own bone carving. Unfortunately unless you come from New Zealand or a Pacific Island there just are not that many resources available. So going forward I will post any and all bone carving related resources I come across and here are a few I have already found. Some of the books are hard to find but not impossible.

Bone Carving – A Skillbase of Techniques and Concepts by Stephen Myhre

This book is essentially the Bone Carving Bible. It sets a precedent for quality of craftsmanship and it will walk you through step by step how to prepare the bone, what tools to use and how to approach traditional Maori motifs without offending anyone. It is the kind of book you keep on hand when carving as a reference if you ever get stuck or forget what cleaning agent to use and so on. I recommend this book to anyone interested in bone carving be they beginner or advanced.

Scrimshaw Techniques by Jim Stevens

Not essentially a bone carving book but it does cover some bone preparation techniques relevant to bone carving. For anyone interested in scrimshaw it is a great resource. I enjoyed reading about the history of this art form and I hope to incorporate some scrimshaw into my own work at some point.

Manawa Pacific Heartbeat – A Celebration of Contemporary Maori and Northwest Coast Art by Nigel Reading and Gary Wyatt

This book covers the art of contemporary artists from Maori, Inuit and native American backgrounds. The unique cultures actually have a lot in common through their artwork which is commonly carved wood and bone amongst other mediums. Its great to see these artists getting some recognition for their skills.

Bone Carving Gravers by Ian Thorne – Master Bone Carver

I have known for some time that gravers are a very handy tool in bone carving and some might say crucial for detailing but I have always gotten by working with files and power-tools. Lately I haven become more ambitious in my designs and also a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to do some things I would have liked to have been able to do so I started looking into gravers. First, I tried some old chisels I had and didn’t get very far although I am certain I have seen a guy carve huge chunks of bone using a chisel like it was no big deal! Next I ordered some micro-wood gravers from a model-making company and it didn’t take too long to blunt the points on those. Finally, I found a set of bone carving specific gravers on Master Bone Carver Ian Thorne’s website

I had a little play around with them the other day and I was pleased to find they worked really well. It was slow going at first as I have no idea how to use them properly but after a bit I started getting into the rhythm and I was able to make several deep cuts into a piece of sample bone. I pulled out an old piece I had been working on of a antique key that I had become frustrated with because I couldn’t get the corners straight and I was able to use the gravers to get all those details worked out within minutes. The potential uses for gravers seems infinite right now and I am very excited to come up with some new designs that challenge my current approach to carving.

The gravers cost around a $100 NZ and they are well worth the money as the metal itself is quite expensive. They have a nice weight to them compared to the wood-gravers I was using and Ian has put them together really well with nice wooden handles. Suffice to say, I’m stoked!

Thanks Ian, your the best!!!

Unicorn Horn – Bone Carving 2013

This is only the second Unicorn Horn bone carving I have made so far but I like it a lot. Both of the Unicorn Horns are for sale at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in the Gift Store along with a few other designs I have in there or you can buy them on the website

The horn is about 2 inches long and 1/3 of an inch wide. Two lines spiral down towards the tip and I try to show a little grain/texture in these. We have them on sterling silver chains at either 18 or 24 inches.