Sculpture garden 2022

Gradually sorting out the sculpture garden

I’ve just reworked the crumbling erratic border at the back of the garden. The new simple straight line is calm and clean. The sculptures are starting to feel at home here.

Just a scrap

I found this little scrap on the floor and, to avoid having to go and do some gardening, I started to whittle. Of course I would, I was curious to see if anything could come of it. After a while this little miniature scoop turned up. I really like it, it takes up the stem from the previous small shallow spoon I carved (last post). But I have no more excuses, so a bit of walnut oil and back to the garden.

Old tables

I was recently given an old, broken, black victorian side table. I guess the wood was teak or similar. I thought it would be interesting to see if it would be any good for small spoons even though it is really quite thin. However, I’m rather pleased with the shallow scoops that seem to be emerging. It’s unusual for me to make such shallow spoons and I think I will be making more. I have experimented with burning the surface which is interesting but the natural cut surface give a pleasing deep red once it is oiled (walnut oil).

More bits of wood

I think these should be called ‘interesting bits of wood that could be used as dibbers’. So far I’ve done 17. I have found some old seasoned branches on the marshes which carve well and have a really good colour when treated with oil. So these will keep me going for a while. Ostensibly I’m making them to be sold to raise money for a charity, but actually it’s just enjoyable whittling.

Shaping up

three spoons

These three were made consecutively, the first one is on the left, the last is on the right. It was interesting to experiment with different proportions in the first two and then come to the final shape, which is probably just about right. I will probably take a template and make more of these.

The soft, squared shape of the end of the handle was inspired by shape of an Apple Mac mouse. The wood comes from trees in my garden. The first two came from the same piece of crab apple. The third is a piece of spalted maple cut two years ago and left outside. Spalting occurs when a fungus works its way into the grain to give interesting grain patterns.

Lost this argument

I tried to explain what a dibber is used for, but my granddaughter would have nothing of that. They were obviously wands for magic and she wanted one. But she was quite adamant that she didn’t want any of the curvy bits. She was so concerned that I would be tempted to add some discreet ‘curvy bits’ that she drew me a picture of the design and the pattern. So much for my artistic pretensions.

The magic dibber, I mean wand
A quick design by Lara to make sure I got it right

Starting point

I have been an art educator all my professional life, as a teacher, senior examiner, lecturer, senior advisor, inspector and consultant. I had set up a website for art teachers even before Bucks County Council (my employer at the time) had a website of it’s own. I abandoned this when I retired from Bucks, though there are traces of my work scattered around the Internet.

But occasionally it is useful to share what I am doing now with friends and colleagues, so I have once again set up a ‘danchina’ website. It is really just an opportunity to gather a few creative strands together in one place and note how they evolve.

I am not a fan of hyperventilated, over sharing social media, so I’ll just keep to a simple website and blog that I can manage from my phone.

Perhaps I will gather up some of the earlier professional stuff, more as a reminiscence than a publishing programme. However, as teachers are now being required to reinvent the wheels that we reinvented some years ago, there may be stuff which stimulates ideas. I’ll see.

Dan China