Layers of stains and textures

A batch of experimental spoons.

I’m starting to understand the process of using layers in subtle ways to create a complex patina on these simple (spoon) shapes. Initial carving pushes boundaries by creating fragility in the thin bowl and narrow stem. The surface retains the marks of different tools – gouges, knives, rifflers, rasps, files, wire wool and fine sand papers. In places gouge marks are left following the form and it’s making, in other places a smooth shiny surface suggests wear and use over time.

I am experimenting with neutral wood stains to build and refine the surface patina. Sometimes I just use flame, although this softens the carving. Otherwise I am experimenting with a walnut and a dark oak stain (small spoons on the left). One is a rich brown applied and lightly rubbed back possibly several times. On top of this a deep dark charcoal stain is used to create a sense of aging in the deepest and more inaccessible parts of the form, again this is rubbed back.

Finally walnut oil is used to fix the piece with a soft honey glaze.