Some things are just meant to be…peanut butter and jelly; meeting my wife at a carving event; or seeing, in person, the carving that first peaked your interest in the art.
This last example occurred with my Sea Captain carving. I designed and carved the Sea Captain for the summer 2017 issue of Woodcarving Illustrated and to use as a class project.
With multiple deadlines fast approaching, I completed the Sea Captain project to the point that it appeared in the article, where the figure was casually leaning on several old dock posts. I had always intended to add a base, in the form of a dock, to make the captain part of a complete scene, but I had to put him aside temporarily to complete other projects.
Fast forward to several weeks ago when I was preparing for the Artistry in Wood show in Wilmington, OH. Two days prior to leaving for Ohio, I decided to set my other projects aside and transform the Sea Captain carving into the complete scene it was meant to be. After many hours of work, the Sea Captain stood upon a weathered dock complete with twisted boards and rusty bolts. Below the dock featured water worn posts and the bow of a wrecked boat at low tide.
The completed Sea Captain did very well in the competition, winning best of the human figures under 15″ group. Better than the success in competition, the Sea Captain found a new home.
Within hours of Artistry in Wood opening, a gentleman from Iowa approached our booth and immediately focused on the Sea Captain. He asked if it was the carving in the magazine and I confirmed it was. He told us that he’d been in the grocery store and started glancing through a copy of Woodcarving Illustrated. His interest immediately peaked by the projects and carvings inside, he bought his first issue of Woodcarving Illustrated, the issue featuring the Sea Captain.
So impressed with the world of Woodcarving, he drove from Iowa to Ohio to experience Artistry in Wood and to support artists who chose wood as their medium of choice.
This experience taught me not to settle when completing a project, especially if you have a greater vision for what the carving is meant to be. Initially I took the carving to a temporary stopping point, as time allowed. But the Sea Captain carving was meant to be more and I’m glad that my vision for the project was realized, even if not immediately.
In closing, don’t finish a project just because you’re short on time, frustrated, or life just has other plans for you. Rather see your carvings through until you achieve your vision. After all, each piece of wood is meant to be something and someone is meant to be fascinated by your work.