Today it was so nice out that I sat on the patio and worked. I did get distracted by steampunkery. I’m starting a gun mod. But the major part of the work I did today was dragon dental work. I am presently carving a fire staff for a client and it called for a dragon’s head on the top. It was a challenge, but I think I’m done now except for the scales. The teeth, though! Oiy! Who knew?
Dragon’s teeth are notoriously magical items. But carving them is tricky. This is partly because I have not done a lot of figural carving. I would like to do more, actually, but when one is carving a statuette, one has the chance to carve out of linden or some wood that is more amicable. This wand is walnut, which is a hard wood in the first place. The trouble was compounded by the fact that I was carving this dragon’s head in the end of a large branch. Endgrain is very difficult to carve. You can hollow it out for a stone, sure. But carving a dragon’s mouth. Not so much.
I think I shall paint the teeth white (or off-white, tooth colored) and paint in the gaps between the teeth black to give at least an impression that the whole mouth is hollowed. I have a Balinesian eboy dragon staff that I was using as a model. However, the process only gave me an even greater appreciation of the carving of that culture. Ebony will take much finer work, of course, even though it is hard to carve. It is such a close-grained wood that there is not so much flaking as the walnut. Still, if the ebony carvers in Bali are using traditional hand tools, I am agog.
Which is why I would like to travel to Bali and spend some time learning their traditional carving methods at the feet of a master. I mean, apart from Bali being a marvelous island to vacation in! Recently, I also read about a wood carving village in Thailand where one can stay in a bed and breakfast and study wood carving. A whole town of wood carvers! Wow!
Well, that won’t be for awhile, I’m afraid. I do wish I could de-age by about 30 years. Seems like there is too much to do. I still think I will just have my tombstone carved with my last to-do list. Why do we suppose we can finish things up before our bodies wear out? I mean the retirees playing golf in Phoenix or Florida seem to have nothing left to do. I’m sure that’s not really true. Well, anyway, I digress. My birthday is coming up in a week, but just before that I am going in for nasal surgery. Not a nose job, but sort of a rearrangement on the inside. As usual I am trusting that the surgeon knows what he is doing, and have my fingers crossed that it will help me breahte better, especially at night.
June is then going to be a lot of pacing waiting for July 8th when my book officially comes out ont he market. Wandlore is not really my life work, but it is a part of my wandmaking and that is one of my callings. Frankly, I sometimes wish it wasn’t because I want to devote myself more to my novel at the moment. But, don’t let me sound like I am not excited. It is very exciting to get a book in the book stores. I don’t expect it to sell like hotcakes. It’s a bit esoteric, even for the esoterically inclined. However, my hope is that many will buy it and read it and put it in practice. It is intended to be a complete treatment of the craft of wandmaking and sets a new standard. It would be nice if other wandmakers would jump in on my Amazon Author page to discuss the book. My methods are certainly not the only ones or even the best. I have sought the best practices, but there is always room for development, especially in a field like wandmaking which has not really solidified into any sort of profession. Wandmakers are hand-crafters for the most part. Oh, there are the big wandries like Alivan’s that make Harry Potter style wands by farming them out to woodcrafters with lathes. I admire their ability to put out a consistent quality piece with many designs. I just ordered an Alivan’s wand myself — walnut. I have already improved it significantly. Added a coat of cherry Danish oil finish and then gave it a good polishing and a coat of shellac. Really makes it much more lustrous. Haven’t had time to enchant it yet.
Tomorrow it is back to the dragon teeth and carving scales. Then some fiery salamanders…