My Cousin Mark was getting married to his long term missus Laura and both Dave and I had been invited. Unfortnatulty we were unable to attend and so I decided to put extra effort into their wedding present. My Aunt had passed on details of what they would like which was a “fat heart” with the details on such as names and the date of the wedding. I felt that this was a bit too simple for me and had already done one for Dave the year before. So I took the excetetive desision and redesigned the whole thing.
I did design after design with just a heart in the middle and then eventually decided to add a few symbolic images to it to create a more interesting image. Doves to symbolise love, the bells to symbolis the wedding day, the horse shoe for luck and the rings for union. Oak leaves were also going to be included as oak is to me a symbol of endurance and wisedom. Eventually I came up with this design.
Dave meanwhile had salvaged a piece of oak from his wood stores for me to use, a piece of 6×1 oak and he busied himself with planing it flat and square so I could begin marking out the outlines onto the wood. In the meantime I took a piece of scrap sapele wood and had a practice at relief carving onto it one of the doves. This is the final result. I should add that this is my second attempt at relief carving.
I felt that this piece was too good to burn but at the same time didn’t know what to do with it after I had finished with it as a reference piece. Eventually it was sold to one of my fellow volunteers I work with for a couple of quid and I believe it now sits in his garden.
Back to the final carving. The image had to be stretched to accomadate the image and the leaf work moved from the bottom of the work to the top to create a sweeping effect. The oak leaves were dropped too as these were too intricate for me to carve and I had a deadline to meet too, so replaced these with simpler leaves.
The design was then transferred onto the wood (A big thank you to my Dad for giving me some carbon paper to help out with this part as I couldn’t find it locally anywhere) and then the background was then lowered by about 2 thirds.
Next the sections inbetween were then removed.
Then the whole carving was slowly carved. The image was divided up into 4 levels with the bells begin in the background (although I regret this decision now as they should have stuck out more than they do)
The whole carving was then sanded and sanded and sanded mostly using my dremel to get into the tight corners. I then knocked out a small amount from under the carving outlines to create more depth and shadows then detailing was added. At this point I decided to remove the eyes from te doves and leave the whole thing a bit faceless to add empathsis on the details I was going to add to the carving.
The carving was then oiled and the two rings were added. These had been machined by Dave on his lathe out of a piece of brass rod he had knocking around his workshop. Unfortunatly I don’t have any pictures of this process.
The tricky bit was now to put the names onto the carving. I had decided it would be much easier to add them using a pryrography pen and it took a few days to work out the font to use. In the end I chose a lose gaelic font and burned the happy couple’s names onto the horse shoe and then the date of the wedding day underneath. Thiis was originally going to be put onto the heart but felt that this would detract away from the carving too much and so it was moved.
A deadication was then added onto the back to make it look even more personal along with my signature. “May your union grow, blossom and bare the fruits of love” “Carved By Grace in May/June 2014”
The carving was going to have a frame built around it but in the end didn’t. It was then packed up ready to be presented to the happy couple but as yet it still isn’t in their possesion so I have no idea if they like it or not.
The Happy Couple
Total man hours it took me to do was nearing 20 hours and I am quite pleased with the results considering it was my third attempt at relief carving.