As every wood carver knows, each carving has meaning and a purpose for creating a specific piece for a specific individual. There in lies the fun and the very reason for making a carving in the first place. With 78 carvings since 2009 under this carvers belt "Buzz Lightyear" is only the second piece that was a request for a most emotional reason.
Normally, my motivation for carving a piece for someone comes from a few ideas that best match the recipients "favorite things." I tend to shy away from "requests," however once I heard Chris' story behind the request I just had to grant it.
Chris is a fellow Cast Member. Over a year ago Chris' brother, Brian, died suddenly at a young age.
His brother Brian left behind a massive collection of everything and anything connected to Buzz Lightyear. Chris asked if he could have one of my carvings to add to Brian's legacy.
I am both humbled and proud to be able to be part of the memory of Brian's life.
Here is "Buzz Lightyear".....
"Buzz" started out as a block of tupelo wood with an "add-on" for his left arm.
I chose to add the piece on rather than make a much smaller carving.
(Besides, in this case, is was easier to carve a larger figure.)
I liked "Buzz" in this pose. He's "welcoming and friendly."
The carving "blank."
"Buzz" was really tricky to rough out.
He has so many protruding features, reference lines needed constant re-application as the piece progressed
A great deal of patience was needed through out the entire "roughing" stage of this piece.
At some point "Buzz" is refined enough to begin to shape his feature definition.
Trying to keep this piece symmetrical,
I had to use calipers more on this piece than any other.
As you progress toward the definition stage you've "roughed out" the basic size of all it's features.
You hope you haven't removed too much wood leading to a "deformed" arm, leg, etc.
The best part of every carvers project!
This is the time when you pick out certain details you want to add to truly personalize the carving.
(You'll see one such detail I was determined to include after "Buzz" is painted below.)
"Buzz" is "polished" with a 400g burr and smoothed out as much as possible.
At last, "Buzz" is ready for painting.
I fastened "Buzz" to the base by reducing the wood under his boots and inlaid him into the base.
(His feet will be inserted into the two bright spots (routered holes) in the center of the base below.)
Chris was extremely close to Brian.
I hope "Buzz Lightyear" will have a special place in "Brian's" collection and
a special place in the hearts of his family members he left behind.
The tiny detail on "Buzz's" chin was most perplexing. My painting skills have a lot to be desired but I was more than determined to get this tiny mark on his chin one way or another!
I ended up using a mechanical thin lead pencil and voila!
To "Infinity and Beyond" Brian.