Adventures with linishing

I spent this weekend at a two-day workshop with the amazing carver Owen Mapp – learning to make small tools suitable for bone carving.  He bought a selection of tools to show us, mostly examples that he’d made, but also some neolithic bone tools (I don’t think I’ve ever held a ‘made thing’ so old before).  He also showed us some fabulous carved objects, most with great stories behind either their creation or discovery.

My own humble tool making efforts are pictured below; two small knives and three gravers of different sizes.   I tried out a variety of woods for handles and for the blades used a mix of new commercial blanks, and (for the two on the left) an old rusty file I found in the shed.  I particularly enjoyed shaping finger holds on the linisher, and making something that will fit my puny hand perfectly.

Next month, another workshop with Owen, this one a whole weekend of bone carving.  Although, I suspect I won’t be able to resist trying out my new tools before then . . .

Bone carving tools

Nearly netsuke – working in bone

I spent last week trying a new medium (bone), working with mostly new tools (dremel with dental bits,  jewellery files and a broken scalpel blade) and at a different scale (tiny).  Sculpting by ‘carving out’ rather than building up as I do in wax or clay was definitely a challenge to how I see, think and work.  And a challenge to the senses; bone smells very … distinctive.

ivory and wood carving

recycled ivory from old piano keys and upcycled mahogany from an old fruit platter

Netsuke-style carving in the shape of an old-man mask