Personal Work: Crosses & Gifts


Being that I was in college studying my life away (big white lie?), I didn't have much time to spend sitting alone in my dorm room carving for hours on end. After all, I was having too much fun and would've hated to gain a reputation as a loner.

I did however find time when special occasions arose. My next piece was a carving of a cross for my father. Big Gordon has worn a very unique cross ever since I can remember. It is a beautifully intricate silver cross filled with intertwining religious symbols. Years ago, he had a replica of the cross made which I now wear (infrequently for fear of losing it). I liked the texture and color of bare carving so I decided not to paint it.

After my gift for my father, I carved two smaller crosses, one for Nancy, my mother, and another for Lindsay, one of my sisters. These were Christmas gifts that I made, both uniquely geared towards their styles.



By senior year I had only done pieces for myself and my family (sans one sister, but hers is in the works). My roommate Hank was getting married after graduation, and I wanted to make him and his fiance something special. I decided to carve them a Celtic heart. It came out just as I had hoped.



Leo, a friend of mine from college and fraternity brother, somewhat commissioned me for this piece. He was getting married in the summer of 2007 to his fiance Adelaide. He requested that I make a gift for his soon-to-be bride that he could present to her at the wedding. I was pretty honored at such a request. It is a great experience to create something that signifies a transition in life, such as a gift for a birth or a wedding. The subject of Leo's idea is a really neat story in itself.

As the story goes (let's hope I get all the details right), Adelaide spent many of her summers at a girls camp called Camp Sequoya, first just attending and eventually as a counselor. Many of the bridesmaids as well as some of her relatives also attended the camp. Unfortunately, within the past few years the camp was sold and closed down. Leo and Adelaide tried to visit the camp when they were dating but weren't let in by the new owners. The closest they got to it was the sign that was still standing at the entrance. This was truly unfortunate, especially since Leo had the engagement ring in his pocket and was planning on proposing at the camp. Luckily Leo just rolled with the changes, and asked her anyways. She said YES. And the rest as they say is history. (LEO: Tell me if I screwed any of that up)

Leo's idea was for me to make a replica of the sign so that she could forever remember the camp. Leo sent me a few photos to go by for the design. I'm very surprised at how close I came to the original. In fact, the former camp director was at the wedding and she thought that I had stolen the original sign.

The original
My version
The presentation of the sign was the best part of it all. All of the ladies at the wedding that had ever attended or worked at the camp gathered for a group picture. At this point Leo presented Adelaide with the sign in front of all of them. Normally I'd say making the bride cry is a bad thing, but in this case it was perfect. Everyone loved it, especially Adelaide. Another successful project, and even more rewarding since it was a gift for two good friends. I have kept all of my cigar work, so sharing my passion for carving through a gift is such a great experience.



This work is the beginning of a slightly long term hiatus I have taken from cigar related work. Don't worry...I'll be returning to it shortly.

My sister Jamie was due to have a baby in January of 2007, so as a Christmas gift for her and her husband Brian, I created a carving for her soon-to-be-born daughter. Luckily Jamie and Bri picked her name beforehand, which gave me a chance to use it for the gift. Her initials were going to be KEB (I think the spelling of Kaelyn was still up for debate, but I knew the initials thank the lord).
The design didn't take too long to come up with, but the sizing and placement of the letters did take a while. I usually forget to take pictures in the midst of drawing and carving, this is a rarity.
The carving wasn't too difficult, however the beading on the "B" did take a while. All in all I was very happy with the outcome of this piece.


Here's the final product of the gift I made for my neice. She is now over a year old and already making her mark in the modelling world (crazy I tell one I was sitting in a wet diaper trying not to drool and she is on magazine covers).


SBI Special Agent Academy:

Though it may shock you people, I actually have a real job. I know you'd all like to picture me in workshop whittling all day long, so I am sorry to disappoint. I am employed as a forensic chemist by the state of North Carolina (CSI: Asheville if you prefer). I recently attended the 35th Special Agent Academy for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The whole training period took 31 weeks of nearly round the clock training in the less than exciting town known as Salemburg, NC. Traditionally a plaque is given to the training staff from the graduating class. Since I was a part of the graduating class, I felt obliged to share my hobby instead of paying a ridiculous amount for a plastic plaque! We did wind up paying for an engraved plaque, while I provided the insignia: the SBI logo with a 35 carved into it to designate our class number.


No comments: