A corbel is a piece of architecture that supports a beam or some such structure above it. Corbels are almost always decorated and often quite extensively. One of my very best clients has contracted me to carve two of these pieces which will sit at the top of a staircase and balcony overlooking the foyer and entrance of the home. They will support a gorgeous oak beam with some traditional Georgian elements to them.
This corbel is designed to look like a large scroll with acanthus leaves growing up the front and sides. The acanthus leaves are extensive and richly designed.
My first task was to carve a curve along the top left and right sides which allows the acanthus leaves to wrap over the front of the corbel like fingers of a large hand gripping the architectural piece. Then I carved the scroll and leaves on the side.
Then I turned my attention to carving the top face of the corbel and those large finger-like leaves curving across.
Then my job was to continue to the other side and do the same work.
On one side, the leaves curve down to the background, but the other side will curve up and away from the background at the tips of the leaves.
Next, i will turn my attention to the heavy bottom of the scroll. These leaves will be easier to carve because I don’t have to blend them into the side of the corbel. However, the grain of the wood shifts from side grain to end grain as the scroll wraps around, which adds some complexity. The main problem is trying to ensure the carved leaves have enough structural strength to not have little bits vulnerable to being knocked off during the carving process or afterwards when cleaners will be dusting the work.
Check back soon to see the progress on the lower half of the corbels.