A few months ago I was commissioned to carve a large 4 foot diameter circular sign for the Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley, British Columbia.
I seriously considered carving it in Ultra High Density Urethane Foam sign board because I would only have to cut out the circle and start carving.
However, the developer, Eric Woodward, and the local contractor built the building with the goal of gaining the LEED Gold certification for environmentally friendly construction. As a result, I decided to carve the sign celebrating environmental construction out of certified sustainably harvested Aspen wood.
Making the sign in wood meant a lot more work cutting the wood to length, jointing, planing, gluing, clamping, cutting the circle and sanding before carving the letters and design. But it is in keeping with the purpose of the sign, so I felt it was worth it.
After some adventures with the design (bonus prize if you can find it in the picture below), I worked with a good friend who is an old pro at sign painting who helped me with the lettering and layout.
Then I talked with Michelle, the manager of the North Langley Paint & Decorating Benjamin Moore store in Walnut Grove, who made some great suggestions about what sort of finishes to use with the colours I was given by the designer. As you can see below, it turned out very nicely.
I’ve never carved a sign larger than me, until now!
The Fraser Valley Antique Farm Machinery Association had a huge slab of fir they wanted to turn into a sign.
I had to flatten the slab, and remove the bark from the live edge. After that it was a matter of transferring the letters to the wood and carve away!
It has been quiet on this site but not because it has been quiet in my carving studio! It had been crazy busy with carving work such that I have neglected you, my loyal readers!
The Christmas season always sneaks up on me and I have to be careful not to overcommit. Must leave time to sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and other Christmas carols.
Some projects I am working on include a blanket ladder with dovetail joinery.
It isn’t really carving work, per se, but I wanted to show old Roubo that his rants about carvers being imprecise are misplaced. I was building furniture and doing complex joinery long before I picked up a carving tool.
I carved two other pieces that I have done before: a lettercarving piece (the first photo above) and a stylized acanthus leaf in relief.
And on the heraldry front, I am working on a large family crest that is getting close to being finished. The short video below shows some progress.
Stay tuned for more updates. I have a very large lettercarving project that I am on the verge of starting. In the new year I am picking up the wood for an ornately carved lintel over a front door in a large foyer. And I have another family crest in the works. It’s nice to have work, but I am feeling the pressure to get things completed!
The TWU Torch sculpture was installed by the Township of Langley this morning at about 10:00 am. My friend Dale asked me, “Grant, what is the history behind this? Why is there a TWU insignia up in Fort Langley?”
Trinity Western University has obtained a lease for a building in Fort Langley and opened it up to students and community members as a place to hang out, get some great coffee (thanks Republica Roasters), free wifi, and free nightly entertainment. Fort Langley is a favourite place for students, and it seemed like a natural fit to open up what is essentially a collegium there.
The Facebook page for Trinity Western House says, “We are a place for TWU students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the public to study, work, and hang out in the heart of beautiful Fort Langley.” Here is a short video showing the space. Inside Trinity Western House
The Torch sculpture is finally complete. I have a meeting on Wednesday with a few people on location in Fort Langley to discuss the installation. This is going on the outside of Trinity Western House, a new collegium for students and the general public in Fort Langley in the old Bedford House Restaurant on Glover Road, across from the Fort Pub. The wood is Western Red Cedar, the frame is steel, painted to match the siding of the building. In spite of its size (the cedar is 3 inches thick!) as you can see by my lack of grimace or bulging veins, this is surprisingly light.
Huge thanks go out to the fine people in the TWU Maintenance department. They volunteered to print the design, provide the steel, weld it up, and provide working space as well as tools and supplie. Paul Johnston and his great staff, people like Matt, Brad, Jan, Brenda, Maureen, Graham and others all helped me in some way. I kinda invaded their space and they made me feel welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed working with them and they made this project possible!
My friends and loyal readers, please accept my invitation to an art show this weekend in Abbotsford. The Central Fraser Valley Woodcarvers club is hosting our annual Art of the Carver show and sale at the Matsqui Community Hall on Saturday, October 22, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Admission is by donation of $3.
There will be carving demonstrations by our club members all day. I will be demonstrating how to carve with a mallet and full size gouges on two different carvings. I will demonstrate a beginner’s relief carving of an acanthus leaf, and I will also work on an advanced carving which incorporates a more complex version of the acanthus leaf. Other members will demonstrate different styles of carving. It’s a very relaxed and casual atmosphere in a very nice space.
Please come – there will be some excellent carvings on display, and who knows but you may be able to pick up a unique Christmas gift or a piece of fine art for your own home.