Martin is my interpretation of a character originally done by master carver Fred Cogelow and is featured on the cover of his book “ Sculptor in Wood”. Although Fred ’s version was frontal only, it was full length and about 36” high. My version is about 12” high and is a full head only so I did have to imagine what Martin might have looked like beyond his face. I tried to capture that distant contemplative look of a tired but wise man...hopefully, you will see it
I planned this project carefully as it was going to be a fair investment of time and effort so it needed to be done right. I decided on a scale that would be almost lifesize, limited more by availability of wood than anything else. I found a woodsupplier who had a large piece of Ontario walnut about 4’x3’ x 4” and was willing to laminate a block 12”x10”x10” for me. Fortunately, this gentleman knew what he was doing and recommended the center lamination be reversed to ensure cracking would be minimized. I was concerned about grain matching but as you can see, he knew his trade well and this is certainly not a issue. In fact, you have to look very closely to notice the laminations at all.
Gunstock grade walnut is not a wood that lends itself to quick carving. It is tough, hard and somewhat brittle but the end result is well worth the time spent. Over 100 hours were invested with the toughest decision being to know when the project is done. I decided after spending an entire day placing the eyes and detailing ear hair, nose hairs were not going to happen.... and it was finished.
Martin won “Best of Show” in the Northern Alberta WoodCarver’s Assn. Show in 1997.