James River Day School

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Wood Artist Visits

On Tuesday, October 30, Robert Smith demonstrated his carving technique for some of James River's middle school art students. He began with a four foot piece of a poplar log. Carving the stem comes first. To do this, he cuts a grid into the top two inches of the log. He removes the top two inches of the log taking one quadrant of the grid off at a time, while leaving the center portion for the pumpkin stem. Robert then removes the bark from the part of the log that will become the pumpkin itself. He rounds and shapes the pumpkin a bit at a time. He uses 3D visualization to "see" the pumpkin within the log and remove the excess wood. It was fascinating to watch the pumpkin take shape. Take a look at the photos at right to see the progression from log to pumpkin.
 
Students wanted to know how long it took him to learn how to do this, to which Mr. Smith replied, "I'm still learning."
 
Robert had seen a similar pumpkin and thought he could create one, so he tried it. After a try or two, he was able to produce a beautiful pumpkin. And now, he also makes fantastic evergreen trees as well. Mr. Smith encouraged the kids to try new things and learn new techniques. You never know when you'll find a style or project you really enjoy.