Our woodcarvers typically carve into Jersey White Cedar, Bass Wood or Tupelo Gum. These woods all have the least amount of grain and are generally softer.
Each carver varies in their technique and designs. Some carvers begin by making a model of their design in clay, some sketch out their design and others will simply start carving figuring out the layout and arrangement as they work. Most all agree that the completed work will involve a combination of carving, wood burning and paint/stains. Handheld knives vary in the length and width of the blade; each carver has their own set of favorite knives and tools.
Resident carver Art Parkin carves shore birds and ducks; all native to the South Jersey area. He does work from photos and does a great deal of sketching to figure out the arrangements and habitats for each piece.
Observation of real birds and ducks inspires many of his pieces however commissioned work often challenges him to work on pieces he has not attempted previously. Art starts by making a pattern of the top and side view for the bird, pasting them onto a piece of wood and cutting the outlines for both views. He will then make a center line down the bird to assist him with keeping the design symmetrical. He carves the feathers and then uses the wood burner to add details to each feather and the features. Painting is the last step for Art and he prefers oil paint although he has used acrylic paints. The challenge and joy for Art is to make each piece as real as possible.