Winter Wonderland 2014

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This Christmas will be my first attempt at selling my crafts at a Christmas Market. I would be using the same glass cabinet that I had used for the Mucking Marvels exhibition in September and so decided to really push the boat out with my display. I wanted to make it visually appealing rather than just a glass cabinet full of carvings. I have two shelves to fill up with my creations and so decided to divide this into two scenes. One shelf would contain my nativity carvings (click here to see my Nativity Carvings) and the other would contain a winter wonderland scene.

I began by drawing up a list of what I thought would be appropriate for a winter wonderland scene and then pushed my imagination a bit too far perhaps and crossed over the boundaries of reality into fantasy, but who cares, it is Christmas after all.

Reindeer

The first items to carve on my list were Reindeer. You can’t have a north pole without them, otherwise how would St Nick be able to deliver his presents? These were carved out of oak off cuts I had knocking around. I decided to revert away from cutting these out in two profiles like I had previously done and instead carved these using one profile. This was mainly because of the lack of thickness I had in the oak this time round and also I would have to carve 4 legs and felt this would be quite unstable on a mounting block. I found working in a 2d profile worked much better for my needs and as a result could carve them much more easily and quickly.

I found at first holding them in place onto the bench quite hard but in the end found this adjustable dog that Dave made very useful. (I have now asked for a couple as a Christmas present) also in the picture below the reindeer is being held in place by a static bench dog and a hold down.

IMG_20141015_142928574 The outline cut out and ready to be carved.

IMG_20141111_155003749Mid Carving on one side

IMG_20141112_121258995 Post Rasping and with the legs cut down

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 Post Sanding just before a coat of linseed oil is added

IMG_20141112_123745023Post Oiling and just before the shellac, antlers and nose are added.

 Here are the finished reindeer. With copper antlers and wooden beads for noses (dremel’d to fit snugly onto their heads). A person I showed them to suggested hanging bells onto them and so went out and bought some. I think they finish them off quite nicely.

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Group shot.

Polar Bears

After these were done I then went on to the next job on my list which was polar bears. I love polar bears and so was really looking forward to making these. I then also decided to make these from a softer wood as it seemed to me to be a waste of hardwood as these would have to be painted white in the end. The same method’s applied to carving these as with the reindeers. These actually took even less time to do as I was working with a softer wood, but also had to be very careful as the grain was a lot wider and didn’t want to have any major tear out as a result. Polar bears are also quite bulky compared to Reindeer so I these took even less time to do as a result. that The wood I should add were offcuts from our bookcase shelves in our bookcases which Dave is currently building. (These will hopefully have a Work In Progress page once they are completed)

IMG_20141112_150843620A shot of some of the polar bears mid way through. The one at the front has just been carved and the one behind has just been rasped. The legs needed cutting down on both still.

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These were then painted and I painted features onto them. Some of the wood has been unpainted (this was actually because I ran out of white paint) as polar bears have a slightly cream tinge to their coats.

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By an amazing coincidence the polar bears looking up just so happen to rest their heads on the ones looking down, so they look like they are keeping warm together.

Penguins

Yes I know, polar bears and penguins should never be seen together but I thought in my imagination and what I felt would be a winter wonderland scene they should be. It was either that or I carved a load of seals, which again were not very festive. I think I must have lost count how many penguins and polar bears I have seen on Christmas cards throughout the years and so felt that this decision was justified. I am however preparing myself for people to come up to me and say this a lot.

These penguins were carved from the same soft wood as the polar bears, most were carved from the waste of the polars bears as I cut them out on the bandsaw. They were then carved in the same 2d profile as the other creatures on this page and then rasped to shape, then painted.

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Background

I felt I couldn’t just fill the cabinet with objects and that I needed to dress it up a bit, so I started the work of now adding backgrounds and features just to make the who cabinet into a scene rather than a display.

The first thing I felt I needed to add was a back drop. I decided to go for a row for trees. I could have just added a a few plywood triangles cut on on my bandsaw, but instead wanted to try something a bit different. So I found some long strips of softwood that had been left over from the bookcases construction and created a jig to cut the lengths at a certain angle. These were then rebated, with a little plough plane and then pieces of perspex were installed. The perspex were also offcuts from the nativity scene background and these were all painted with glass paint and left to dry. The trees were then glued to a mounting and left to dry. This is the only picture I have of it in mid construction. I’ve taken quite a shine to these and hope that it won’t sell so I can have it on my mantle in the dining room. But then again if it does sell I can always make another one.

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The then focussed on making a north pole sign. This was made out of an offcut of broom handle I had lying around, with a rubber ball (which suddenly appeared in the garden, when I was racking my brains on what to use as a finale) attached to the top. Two grooves were cut downwards into the handle and the signs (more offcuts) were slotted into place and then glued. The signs were then shaped with my dremmel and then the whole thing was painted. Icicles were then added to the sign, made from melted airfix sprue and writing was then painted on to this.

The finished cabinet (a little too full for my liking but I suppose it’s better to have too much than too little)

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