Back in April, I told you a bit about a creative block that I experienced during the winter months and how making little wooden monster heads saved me. My idea was to get into the workshop, use my tools, maintain my tools as needed, and produce something in during each short session. I promised to show you more of these studies. This post is about the second monster head I made.
I would often start with a small hardwood sphere, commonly found at craft stores. These 1 inch unfinished wood balls come in packages of 12 and are a light, clear-grained wood -- probably birch. These seemed like a good place to start since they are already somewhat head-shaped. What I didn't fully realize is how hard these balls are! Power carving with a Dremel tool worked fairly well, though I had to be careful about burning the wood. Working with a carving knife proved to be very difficult -- not only because the wood was far harder that the basswood (lime) I usually carve, but also because they were difficult to hold. The latter problem was solved by drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the ball and inserting a length of dowel. This provided a handle so I could hold the piece while working on it.
Once I had nearly finished this guy, I thought it had a somewhat bat-like appearance. So, I found some round red glass beads I had, drilled eye sockets, and glued the beads in place. The pupils are actually the holes used to string the beads. I did a little bit of wood-burning to create those angry eyebrows. Like Monster No. 1, this one has that under-bite of which I am so fond. The two small upturned canines are made of tagua nut -- a hard white material often used as a convincing ivory substitute. The ears (horns?) are made from some scraps of Baltic birch plywood I had sitting in the scrap pile.
As with the first, this monster has no name other than "Monster Head Study No. 2". Taking photos of these monsters is not easy! The wood is so light, they tend to wash out under the lens. They probably need some type of finish to tone them down and give them some depth. I may also need to spend some time learning how to photograph such things.
I liked this one when I made it, but having made many more monster heads since that time, this one has slipped down the list. Still, it served a valuable purpose: I was creating, exploring, and -- most importantly -- getting out of that rut. Hopefully, there are a few useful ideas, tools, techniques, and materials mentioned in this post. There are more monsters to come, so stay tuned.