Friday, 25 December 2009


The Inuit people are known for their simple small carving made out of ivory or stone. Sometimes these small figurines were worn as amulets for good luck when hunting or used in shamanic rituals. The polar-bear is a particularly popular motif and there is a whole strain of carvings referred to as 'dancing bears' where the animal is depicted in an animated or playful state.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Cut of the week

Just a small red drop

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


This monkey was whittled out of lime tree. I later burned it over a flame to give it a black, velvety surface. I´v had a hard time to decide weather to paint or not to paint my whittlings so this seemed like a good compromise. It was inspired by a part from Gustave Flaubert's 'Salammbo' where some drunken soldiers put trees on fire and try to cut off the trunks of elephants and eat their ivory:

"The trees behind them were still smoking; from their blackened branches the half-burned corpses of monkeys fell from time to time into the middle of the dishes. The drunken soldiers snored open-mouthed beside the dead bodies; and those who were not asleep hung their heads, dazzled by the light. The trampled earth was covered with pools of red. The elephants swung their bleeding trunks between the stakes of their pens."


...out there...he is whittling away...

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A letter to BTWC...


Thought I'd send you a photo of a whittling knife which is now in my possession - As you can see it has been well used and I suspect that it is at least 30-40 years old - Its a "Laguiole" - top of the range for whittling - they are still made by hand in the factory in Lozere, France.

The knife was owned by Jacky, the father of a friend in the South of France - Jacky was "very French".... When I knew him, he had retired and spent every day in a local bar drinking pastis, holding forth on any pretty much any topic and smoking many, many cigarettes. Jacky has an interesting if slightly macabre history - He married young, worked as a mason and was a talented footballer - In his 19th summer, he was offered a position to play for the Marseille football team - starting at the beginning of the coming season - during that summer whilst on the job, fell from some scaffolding and broke both of his legs - Having destroyed his impending football career - Jacky took a shotgun, put it to his stomach and pulled the trigger on both barrels....... He lived, wasn't seriously disabled by the shotgun blasts and I therefore had the pleasure of meeting the quick tempered and forthright Jacky many times - I had a penchant for wearing heavy boots at the time - he used to call them my "pantoufles"

His son gave me the knife when Jacky died.....These days I whittle cheese with his knife and open the occasional letter......


Monday, 7 December 2009


Recently some members of the whittling-club went on a road-trip to the mysterious shell-grotto in Margate. A detour on the way home led the company into a cleft between white chalk-cliffs just as twilight was setting in. The water had cut a grotto into the white cliff and it was filled with carved scribbles; a remainder of the soft constitution of chalk. There was plenty of round chalk pebbles of various sizes to be collected for a test-go with the knife.
The conclusion is that chalk is really easy to cut but it gives you uncomfortably dry hands and is rather brittle. Instantly gratifying, but transient.

The feet of the man broke off so he got a pair of clay-boots

Cut of the week

Maeve had the cut of the week as she tried to whittle Cheburashka (pictured above).

At first, the second meeting of the BTWC seemed to get by without any incidents, but towards the end the cuts became frequent with some people cutting themselves in the exactly same spot twice. Tiredness combined with a slight frustration over the slow progress of whittling, can tempt one too use force on the blade in an incorrect way. The action steps might then proceed something like this:

bad grip
grain split
knife slip
skin rip
blood drip

Beside Maeve´s, most of the cuts were not very deep and a clean cut with a sharp knife heals fast. Luckily BTWC always keeps its knifes sharp.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Work in Progress

Some finished & unfinished work by the honorable members of the BTWC....

Bird with feathers by Amy

Skull, Bart & psychedelic-Bart by Jack

Sharpened sticks with decorative bark by various members.

Beetroot stained seal by Ben T.

Unfinished figures by Gwennan, Jacob and Amy.

Spoons by Hugh & Mark.

Unfinished Cheburachka by Maeve and Paloma by Ben T.

Little man and big man by Jack.

A medieval monster by Gery.

Owl-man by Jana.

Naked woman legs with stockings by Ben B.

Butter-knife by Ksenia.