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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Soapstone + Other Stuff!
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Soapstone + Other Stuff!
Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 03:43 am   Permalink

Greetings TCers!

I've taken the advice of a master-carver* and changed the title of this thread. It used to be called "Tipua's advice for the lazy carver", but I think on reflection, considering some of the subsequent feedback, that title was a little misleading as my intention was to bring to the attention of any would-be carvers out there the merits of starting out on soapstone, not the fact of my laziness.

Instead the focus shall be on the stone itself, and not the carver. My aim is to show anyone who wants to carve hard stone eventually (as I do some day) soapstone would be a good beginners' option. It's quite easy to carve (no expensive tools), it looks quite beautiful when finely sanded, oiled, and polished, and it's CHEAP - perfect for newbies starting out carving (like myself).

Also upon doing a wee bit of research, it appears that carving in soapstone is not just for beginners, but has been used (and still is used) as a carving medium by some very accomplished artists in the present as well as throughout history and in many different cultures.



Ancient Egyptian soapstone scarab

Native American soapstone pipe


Now, I have to mention that I am no way an expert (on anything), so any technical questions may go unanswered, but I'll try my best.

So, what is soapstone some of you may ask?

"Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) is a metamorphic rock, a talc-schist. It is largely composed of the mineral talc and is rich in magnesium. It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting. It has been a medium for carving for thousands of years."
- Wikipedia

Here are a few pieces I've carved quite recently... Well, VERY recently. I only started carving last month!





*many thanks Tama!














[ This Message was edited by: Tipua 2007-04-25 02:47 ]


 
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Tamapoutini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2007-03-30 04:18 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-30 03:43, Tipua wrote:
It is produced by dynamothermal metamorphism, which occurs at the areas where tectonic plates are subducted, changing rocks by heat and pressure, with influx of fluids, but without melting."




Great stuff Tipua - love those last two; the matau & the Marq(?) ring(?)
Pounamu is created in very much the same way only is made up of different minerals etc; we get a fair amount of soapstone around some of the areas where jade occurs only the quality is usually pretty low (lots of hard blebs & fairly uninspiring colours). The odd nice piece can be found though and your right, very cheap! The only drawback is that finished work is easily scratched and must be looked after carefully.

Great to see some of your creations. Keep it up!!

Tama



 
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Benzart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10363
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2007-03-30 04:40 am   Permalink

Great stuff Tipua, Now that you have let my secret out, I'll share it: Lazy peeps make great carvers because they are Always looking for easier, faster ways to get the wood removed so they can take their time and be lazy about it! There, I Said it too, Now everyone knows that I AM LaZy and I Love it.
Soap stone can be loads of fun to carve and you can basically carve it with a screw driver and a file and sandpaper!
Great Stuff Tipua.
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Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 04:59 am   Permalink

Thanks heaps Tama! Your encouragement means a lot. I'm only just starting, so hopefully I may get a little better. Probably not to your standard, but given time...

Between soapstone and pounamu, pounamu wins hands down for both beauty and durability. But for a lot less money, and a lot less time (especially if one owns no expensive equipment) soapstone is not such a bad medium. But yes, it does scratch fairly easily and is quite unforgiving if dropped on a hard surface (my first matau is now in a million pieces when it met the bathroom tiles rather quickly ).
This is especially true in my case as I (being new) bought a block absolutely riddled with cracks. everything I have since worked from it had to be small because of the cracks! I've bought some better soapstone since then. A nice greeny block and an interesting black. I can't wait to start on that, although I'll have to. I have to carve outside as my girlfriend doesn't appretiate rock dust over the kitchen table (and anything surrounding), and it's dark outside now .
All in all though, ol' soapy ain't all that bad.

The last carving I think you mentioned:

It was meant to be a wee tiki head, but ended up more monkey-like. I shall name him Makimaki because of this!




 
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Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 05:05 am   Permalink

Thanks heaps to you too Big Ben!
I don't know if it makes me feel good or otherwise to know that someone of your carving calibre is lazy too... That has always been my excuse for doing inferior work!
If you're lazy too, and yet can produce such masterpieces where does that leave the rest of us lazy-bones?



 
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Benzart
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Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10363
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2007-03-30 05:16 am   Permalink

It leaves you knowing that you Can use your lazy ways to do great things. Find the easiest way to make your carving look better.
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Tiki Duddy
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Joined: Jun 04, 2006
Posts: 759
From: Manitoba, Canada
Posted: 2007-03-30 06:42 am   Permalink

hey, soapstone really looks like its fun to work with. turns out looking real good too. i like that last one of yours.
lets see some more
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Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 07:28 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-30 05:16, Benzart wrote:
It leaves you knowing that you Can use your lazy ways to do great things. Find the easiest way to make your carving look better.




Hey! Didn't Mr Miyagi say something similar in Karate Kid? Or was it Yoda?
Either way, your wise-words are duly noted Master Ben. Thanks. I shall try to follow your advice and turn my laziness from a set-back into an asset.

Tiki Duddy, thank you very much for your compliments! Yes ol' soapy is fun to work with as you can get fast results with little effort. It helps that it's cheap too, so if you stuff a piece up just pick up another and try again!

Here's another of mine. Not really in the whole tiki theme, but perhaps passable given the eye-inserts?
Buddhatiki:



 
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Basement Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3591
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2007-03-30 12:20 pm   Permalink

My advice for the lazy carver: Don't carve. Same goes for the impatient carver.

 
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Tamapoutini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2007-03-30 3:23 pm   Permalink

You can add me to the 'lazy-carver' camp; what else can you call a bloke who sits on his bum all day? Dont get me wrong, I work VERY hard but still consider myself a lazy bugger
BK: I dont think he/we mean lazy in the sence of producing crappy work but more like Ben says; its about finding the best tool/process (and in this case, material) to do the job (of expressing an idea)efficiantly and effectively. *Take my writing-style for example; I try to succinctly cram as much information into each sentence out of sheer laziness! For a newbie I think your work rocks (pun intended) & offer all encouragement to carry on! (Buddhas are really difficult. Ive tried -once.)

Do I spy a traditional Hei-tiki in the backgroud too..?

Rock on brah!
Tama



 
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Tiki Kaimuki
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 821
From: OAKLAND, baby
Posted: 2007-03-30 6:12 pm   Permalink

Really dig the Makimaki. Mug fiend that I am,I would love to see that as a large tiki mug. Maybe ceramics can be your next thing...
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Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 7:09 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-30 12:20, Basement Kahuna wrote:
My advice for the lazy carver: Don't carve. Same goes for the impatient carver.


BK: Yeah, I agree with Ben and Tama's definition of the lazy carver - Lazy by nature, but really quite motivated once one gets going. In fact I think lazy people should really be applauded as we find more and more ingenious ways of cutting corners and getting out of work. Hopefully the results don't look too bad.

Quote:

On 2007-03-30 15:23, Tamapoutini wrote:
For a newbie I think your work rocks (pun intended) & offer all encouragement to carry on! (Buddhas are really difficult. Ive tried -once.)

Do I spy a traditional Hei-tiki in the backgroud too..?




Thanks very much again Tama for your kind words. It is very encouraging to newbies like myself when brilliant carvers like you and Benzart find the time to motivate those on the lower rungs. Very much appretiated!

And yes. Your eyes do not decieve you. That is a hei-tiki you spy. It is merely a specimen made for the tourist industry, but it is probably one of the finest of the many cheapo examples I could find when I last visited your beautiful Aotearoa. I admit that I've made a few adjustments, such as sanding off that shine they give souvenir pounamu (that is if it IS pounamu, could be from anywhere!), widening her arm holes (they were just soooo fat!), colouring the eyes with car paint (not so traditional) and making her female (influenced by you of course!). I might try to improve her in the future (like do something to her nose perhaps?) or just leave her be... any advice from a tohunga whakairo like yourself?
Here's a picture of her. It's not the best to show off her colour (I can appretiate how hard it must be to really show off great pounamu in a photo), but her detail is pretty good:






 
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Tipua
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 114
From: Canberra, Australia
Posted: 2007-03-30 7:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-03-30 18:12, theded1 wrote:
Really dig the Makimaki. Mug fiend that I am,I would love to see that as a large tiki mug. Maybe ceramics can be your next thing...




Thanks theded1! I'm not so into ceramics - probably because it was a subject in high school, and nothing good ever came from my high school - but I do appretiate a good mug. Anyone wanting to take up the Makimaki mug challenge is welcome!


 
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Tamapoutini
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 30, 2006
Posts: 1530
From: Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Posted: 2007-03-30 10:13 pm   Permalink

Thanks for posting that picture. It reminds me of mine own work from a year or two back, especially that nose! It doesnt look too bad; certainly within the top half of what you will find domestically (there's a lot of really bad ones out there eh?) Good on you for making the necessary alterations; Ive considered buying the odd cheap/nasty one & cleaning them up for resale in the past as a money-spinner, but have never gotten around to it.

Getting decent photos of jade is pretty difficult. Through necessity I have taught myself how to chase the sun around the house & capture a passable 'studio' shot (cant get my head around controlled lighting, heehee). From the photo you have it looks to be genuine nephrite & reasonable quality. Can you get a pic of it backlit? That would/should reveal its origins (if you want to know: ignorance can be bliss...)

Tama


 
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Lake Surfer
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3379
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2007-03-30 10:28 pm   Permalink



[ This Message was edited by: Lake Surfer 2007-04-02 22:41 ]


 
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