Jim Wilsford, a self-taught master wood carver nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, has been carving for more the 30 years. He got his start in this art form when he bought a gift and souvenir store in Townsend, Tennessee and when looking for carvings to stock his store, he was under whelmed with quality of woodcarving in the area. So he started dabbling in carving himself and selling them in his Nawger Nob gift shop.
Soon, Jim Wilsford became so proficient with this newfound art form, he found that he loved sharing and teaching others as much as creating his art. And, so Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers was born. Now, Jim and a few other master woodcarvers hold classes and workshops on everything from hand carving, to power sculpting, to carving with chainsaw at the Smoky Mountain Woodcarvers studio in Townsend.
Excelling in very intricate and realistic animal figure carvings, Jim demonstrates how to carve a head of a bear out of a 2-inch block of basswood - using some unconventional tools. Also in this episode, learn how to determine and trace the facial features of a carnivore and how to paint the depth of color on a bear.
Bud Ellis is a master wood sculptor with a fine arts background. After graduating with an art degree from Indiana University, Bud decided to try his hand at carving a carousel horse. Some twenty years later, he is now founder and owner of Horsin Around Carousel Carving School. His students have carved over 500 carousel animals that live on in restored carousels across the country.
For DIY Woodsculpting, Bud Ellis demonstrates that with just a few basic tools, almost anyone can learn how to carve a carousel horse. Bud also shows the painting technique behind carousel animals that gives them the depth of color and shading.
Deep in the heart of logging country a chain saw isnt all that unusual, but how they are used at this festival certainly is. The annual Ridgway Rendezvous is the largest chainsaw carving festival in the world. These artists come together and share their passion and techniques for chainsaw carving.
Behind this event are Rick and Liz Boni, shown right, who first invited a few friends over for a weekend of chain saw carving and a backyard barbequing. With about 200 hundred artists making the pilgrimage and hundreds more gathering to watch, this event has become wildly popular. At the end of the weekend, each artist donates a piece to be auctioned off with the proceeds going to local charities.
Two Ridgeway Rendezvous artists share their carving expertise. One demonstrating relief carving a rose, and the other showing carving a hound dog in the round.
In this episode of DIY's Woodsculpting, we meet a carver who is passionate about the human form. Jim Wright loves to carve faces in two different styles - in the round, or three-dimensional, and two dimensional relief carvings. What makes this wood sculptor unique is the type of wood he chooses to work with most often - pieces of driftwood found along the banks of lakes and riverbanks of his middle Tennessee home.
"The great thing about carving driftwood," says Jim, "is that no two pieces are the same." Not only does Jim carve driftwood, he also carves logs in-the-round, or 3 dimensional like with the bust carving of an American Indian pictured right . A retired school teacher, Jim found that carving after work was a great stress reliever - as he carved all the burdens from the day seem to fall to the floor with his wood shavings.
For this project, Jim demonstrates how to carve an American Indian face from a piece of driftwood.
Using high-powered tools normally reserved for dentists, this son of a cabinet-maker creates super fine detail in relief carving gunstocks. What once was a hobby for Bill Janney has become a lifelong passion that he takes very seriously. "I guess it's just the sawdust in my veins," says Bill, "and life's too short to hunt with an ugly gun." This wood sculptor from central Ohio who is highly regarded as one of the premiere gun stock carvers, with collectors from all over the world commissioning his original carvings and paying as much as $5,000.00 for his works of art.
Bill Janney's carvings include everything from intricate patterns, to detailed scrollwork, to majestic wildlife, to poetic vistas as seen in the images to the right. Much of Bill's inspiration for design comes from the interests of the client and what that gun collector likes to hunt. But, the inspiration doesn't stop there. Bill pulls ideas and design elements from books, photographs, and the internet.
For DIY Woodsculpting, Bill Janney demonstrates carving scrollwork framing two mule deers into a client's gunstock. Bill also gives you all of the ammunition you need to begin and create beautiful gunstock relief carvings.
Dont be fooled by those thick glasses and mild manners... behind the disguise of an ordinary Atlanta flower delivery guy lies a super artist whos developing a style all his own. His secret weapon? An electric jigsaw!
James Stanley, better known as "Jigsaw James," makes incredible works by cutting a sheet of plywood into hundreds of little pieces - only to put them all back together again... Its dangerous and delicate at the same time. One wrong slip of the saw can mean starting over from scratch.
A master of the portrait, James's subjects are primarily heroes - guys with a lot of heart - in bold colors as seen in the photos to the left. This young wood sculptor likes the challenges presented in the complexity of the human face. "I like to pay homage to those that are great." James admits, "Im inspired by Superman. I know hes fictitious but for me to wear a superman shirt makes me work a little harder to be as strong as I can possibly be."
James might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he can show us how to create works ready to burst through the next piece of plywood! Alternate egos, a special power, and a bold determination to make the world a more beautiful place - James is certainly well on his way to becoming a superhero.
Born and raised out west, Lori Corbett has always been a naturalist, though birds have always had a particularly strong pull. And living in the stunning foothills of the Grand Tetons, shes had plenty of opportunity to see some spectacular birds!
Shes dabbled in art most of her life, but it wasnt until she discovered working in wood that she settled on a medium. Today, Lori Corbett is considered to be among the very best at capturing the natural wonders of birds in wood. On this episode, Lori demonstrates her techniques in carving a blue bird thats so realistic, its almost impossible to tell from the real thing.
Who says chainsaws are just for chopping down trees? Meet an artist who uses this powerful tool to turn ordinary logs into magnificent works of art. Lisa Foster of Hamilton, Montana is a former model and single Mom who proves that chainsaws are not just meant for lumberjacks.
The moment Lisa saw her first chain saw sculpture, she knew she had to try it. So she tracked down the artist. It turns out she was a quick study. She took to the art naturally and is now one of the country's top talents.
Lisa's first big break into this unique art form came from a commission from a nearby resort to carve monumental works into some disease-infested trees. The Lost Trail Hot Springs Resort got it's name from being on the ridge where the explorers, Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea, briefly lost their way on their trek through the northwest.
The resort decided they'd rather not cut down the trees damaged by the pine beetle infestation but use them as artful memorials to the brave explorers. So, Lisa set to work carving large statues into these sad pines. Her crowning achievement to this commision is a 3-story carving of the American Indian, Chief Josef, who played a role in the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The sculptures are "looking out towards the mountains where they walked by." Lisa explains, "You start wondering a lot about what they went through."
For this project, she's returning to the chainsaw sculpture that sparked her interest in the art - a sturdy bench made from Ponderosa Pine Logs.