Carving your own

Human Face Study Stick

Jim O'Dea - "Carving your own Human Face Study Stick" This class is an introduction to face carving for the beginning woodcarver with little or no experience doing human faces. It is also useful to those that are not satisfied with the faces they are currently doing and those just looking for a different way. Students will have the opportunity to follow a methodology in developing a human face using just a knife. The emphasis of the study stick class days will be on the process, not the artistic nature of the carving. Jim does not cover very much about expression, gender differences, racial differences or anything else during this time, he is trying to get the student to carve a face that looks human, practice and application can then develop the artistic nature of your carving. Attention will be paid to how you use the tools to get "clean" cuts, precise cuts, and how not to cut yourself.

1 of 4 sticks you will create - click for larger image

During the first 2 days of class, each student will carve there own step by step study stick, with each step numbered, which will lead them through the process of "blocking" out a human face on the corner of a 1 1/8 inch square block about 12 inches long. Jim spreads the steps out and includes as many steps as possible to provide clarity of the step. He uses 2 of these sticks to block out the face - completing the nose and an open mouth with teeth. You will also do eyes, step by step on another stick. Ears are done on a smaller stick especially prepared for doing ears. Four different sticks in all.

The 3rd day of class, the students will have their choice of several face silhouettes to carve such as a Pilot, Fisherman, Native American Indian, or Elderly couple. Other options include carving a bust off a 1.5 x 1.5 by 6 inch block of wood. Both basswood and butternut will be available to select from. This will give the student some practical experience applying what was learned during the making of the study stick, exploring how to achieve the artistic nature of the carving and provide expression.

The whole idea is to understand the process and have your very own numbered sequence of steps to follow when you next attempt a human face. Jim also provides a CD with pictures of his study stick's in high resolution so you can "zoom" in for detail looks. A set of notes to accompany the sticks is also provided.

Jim uses techniques which only require a knife so that the student need not purchase any special tools, however for those with V tools and gouges, Jim will demonstrate where these tools are quicker and easier than using the knife. Jim has plenty of loaner tools for those students lacking them and will provide sharpening lessons if needed. Any level of student carving experience is welcome.

Students will go home with their own set of study sticks and a CD of pictures and notes of Jim's study sticks. Cost is $140 which includes the CD and all materials. Click here for Jim's web site Contact Jim at jeodea@aol.com

Jim started carving in 1975 while in the US Navy serving on submarines and looking for a way to pass the time at sea. He has extensive experience carving human caricatures, carousel horses, realistic freshwater fish, whales and has done to some extent most every style of carving. He has taught woodcarving for 16 years, including classes at the New England Carousel Museum in Mystic, CT; the "Woodcarvers Retreat in New England" held in Rhode Island; The NorthEast Woodcarvers Roundup in Honesdale,PA; The Woodcarvers Roundup in Evart,MI; The Indiana Woodcarvers Summer Camp in Bremen,IN; The Florida Woodcarvers Roundup in Zephyrhills,FL; The NHK Woodcarvers roundup in Copetown, Ontario and for various clubs such as The Mystic Carvers Club in Mystic,CT; the Rainbow Woodcarvers Club in Niagara Falls, NY; the Southtowns Woodcarvers Club in Elma, NY; the Peace River Carvers Club in Arcadia, FL; and the Myakka River Carvers Club in El Jobean, FL,The North Port Woodcarvers club in North port,FL; The St Lawarence Woodcarvers Club in Morristown,NY, and the Burlington Sculptors & Woodcarvers Guild, Burlington, Ontario.

Email me at jeodea@aol.com to discuss details and schedule a class length appropriate for your club. This class can be either 1 day, 2 days or 3 days long. The 2 day class leaves out the application day doing silhouettes. The 1 day class leaves off ears and skips some material and is a long day.

Below are some pictures of the class at Morristown, NY in 2008.

To return to Jim O'Dea's web site click here.

To return to the Florida Woodcarvers Roundup web site click here.