This piece turned out to be the best "carving to recipient" matched piece I've had the pleasure of carving. With an idea from one of the recipient's friend, Marvin, this carving became a carving story I'll tell for years to come.
I like my carvings to be "connected" to the person I make the carving for. I knew I wanted to carve something for Julie but I needed help with an idea. I asked Marvin to give some thought to my request. In short order, Marvin sent me an email suggesting carving the "tiny Church" Julie and her husband were married in. Marvin's suggestion was perfect! An old Church (built in 1883), it's interior and exterior as it was when it was first built (except for exterior paint) and
just right for an intimate wedding. Julie and Larry, through a friendly priest, were introduced to the "All Saints Episcopal Church" and immediately fell in love with this little Church. It became a cornerstone of their lives as well as a major emotional connection for each of them. The little Church's character, charm and quaintness is forever etched into their hearts and minds.
I was on a mission. I studied the Church's web site and grew even more attached to the task at hand. Each person I carve a piece for is also given a PowerPoint Program of the progress of the piece. The song/music I select for each program is sought out with the same gusto as each carving and must closely match the theme or idea behind the piece.
Everything came together as no other carving for me. The end result confirmed "The Little Church on the Corner of Clark Street" is a highlight of my carvings over the years. Julie was deeply touched by both the presentation and the carving. It will have a special place in Julie and Larry's home and hearts.
This is the carving story of "The Little Church on the Corner of Clark Street."
The little Church as photographed in 1883.
In a most recent photo the little Church appears nearly unchanged except for the exterior paint and walk ways. Its interior is just as it was when it was built. The little Church proudly displays its turn of the century interior exposed ceiling beams, trusses and wall studs. Adding to that, the wood has a rich golden patina that is aged to perfection.
I started with a 4" X 4" X 12" piece of Tupelo wood.
After "mapping out" the piece the roughing-out stage can begin.
Given the building's exterior design, much of the roughing-out was performed with a large rough burr rather than a band saw.
Along the way, reference lines needed to be redrawn to keep me from cutting too deep into "exterior walls," etc.
There's always the expectation that a piece can be completed from a single piece of wood. However, this piece needed an "extension" to carve out the stairs and ramp.
Guess work and "eye-balling" the details goes hand in hand with many of my pieces.
When trying to work out the details, it helps me to skip around and work in small areas to minimize frustration and also keep the details in perspective.
I carve nearly every bit of a piece with a rotary tool using various burrs. I basically use a blade to help square corners and trimming rough burr edges.
Windows are left for the very end.
The window trim moldings are thin and it would be too easy to cut into one with the burr used to flatten the exterior walls.
Each carving needs to be "personalized" with one or more "add-on's." In this case a sign was added with the wedding couple's names on it.
When the piece is ready for sealing and color its all I can do to stop working on it. The finished product is in site.
The Church is 10" long and 5" wide. The base is 16" long and 6" wide.
The finished piece.
The All Saint's Episcopal Church
of Enterprise, Florida
as it is today.