Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 2: Wood Carving with Dan DiCaprio

After Caroline's lecture, everyone dispersed into the workshops. For the workshops, we have three people present on Saturday, and they teach the same workshop twice. Students choose ahead of time which two workshops they would like to attend. We do the same thing for Sunday's workshops, with three new presenters. So, students get to attend 4 out of 6 total workshops. Not too shabby.Dan demonstrating at the bandsaw.

My first workshop of the day was Dan DiCaprio's Woodcarving for Jewelry. Dan started off with a brief power point on his work and the work of some other artists who carve wood on a jewelry scale. I really enjoyed his process images, which documented each step he takes in creating a piece, from layout, to final finishing. It was also really great to see the work of other jewelry artists using wood, and helped me understand the context of Dan's work a lot better.Pieces in Progress

Dan took us through his entire process, starting with glueing his basic shape to a piece of wood. Next is cutting out the shape with the bandsaw. He gave a lot of tips on how to get into tight curves and how to safely cut something small and/or curved on the bandsaw. I always viewed the bandsaw as a tool for just roughing things out, so it was really cool to see just how well Dan thinks out his final product at this stage in the process, and how detailed he can get at this early in the process.Carving with a bur.

Dan then demonstrated carving and finishing the wood with burs and a flex shaft. I never realized that most of his forms are actually hollow, and he talked a little bit about at what point in the process he slices the form in half in order to carve the interior, then glue it back together. He talked about an easy method of repairing cracks in the wood, and shared resources for materials and tools. Last, he showed us how he inlays silver into the surface of the wood, and talked about adding pin mechanisms.

Dan Dicaprio, Wrap, Ebony and Silver, 2" x 3" x 1.5", Courtesy of Charon Kransen Arts

I found Dan's workshop fascinating. Even though our time in grad school at ECU overlapped by one semester and we still keep in touch, I guess I never realized how little I actually knew about Dan's work, other than I love it. I'm always impressed by people that can carve like this, since I have such a hard time thinking subtractively. I'm very much an additive person. But the methodical detail Dan puts into each piece, how considered every aspect is from the very beginning, amazes me, since I have a completely different way of working. All that care and thought into making something that looks so simple, elegant, and effortless.

But I guess that's what it's all about.

Dan Dicaprio, Curl, Ebony and Silver, 2" x 3" x 1.5", Courtesy of Charon Kransen Arts

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