Creative Woodworks & crafts 2000-11, страница 44

Creative Woodworks & crafts 2000-11, страница 44


by Ivan Whillock

feW:/I Dave Stetson's caricatures seem to show I a bit of bcfuddlement, as if the world were just a liule too confusing for them. Even the cowhand's horse seems to be looking back puzzled, as if to ask, "What in the world is going on here?"

A professional carver Irom Scottsdale, Arizona, Dave specializes in carving the American cowboy whom he admires as a "vanishing breed." The old-time tiddler and the cowpolcc sitting with his rifle across his knee arc expressions of amusement yet show an abiding respect for the Old West.

Dave believes thai a good caricature must be based on realism. A knowledge of anatomy, understanding how the body moves and where the joints bend, helps to keep the caricature from merely being a distortion that loses touch with reality". Dave works to help the general public and the carving community recognize that caricature is an ait form. He does not believe that if you "miss the mark with a realistic figure, you can just call it a caricature!"

Dave began carving in high school when his grandfather gave him a pocketknife. He says that he felt the need to "pcrfcct his art on any surface close at hand" and so he "deep relief carved" his name into his high school desk. Soon, Dave recalls, "1 also received my first lesson in furniture restoration from the principal." The desk was moved into the hallway in front of the principal's office. Dave was handed a single sheet of 400 grit sandpaper, and during every recess, lunch break and other free period Old-Time

he sanded—and then sanded

some more. After about two weeks, the desk had a smooth finish, and Dave says, "1 haven't done a relief carving since."

Most of Dave's ideas come from observing people who he meets in daily contact. Tie is a keen observer of his surroundings and does not subscribe to the notion that "staring at

someone for nine seconds or more is a leer."

Dave's process developed through the years. Early on, he drew on the block and developed his idea in wood. "1 did it backwards," he said. "I would do the carving and then do a drawing from that." In observing other artists, he learned that it was helpful to develop his ideas in clay, sketch out a pal-tern, and then carve it in wood. "You can move the clay

around and try different poses— mostly to develop a clear mental picture of what you want to carve." Dave says that carving is 80 to 90 percent in the mind. You have to be able to visualize what you want to carve.

Like most caricature carvers, Dave's main tool is a carving knife, though he also uses palm tools for specific cuts. Ilis carvings are usually painted with acrylics. He then finishes them off with a clear coat of saiin wax and antiques them with a colored wax finish.

For aspiring carvers, Dave says, "Learn your subject matter. Your hands are tools of the mind and you can't carve what your conscious mind doesn't know. Observe your friends, read books and magazines (Mad magazine was the inspiration for more than one caricature). Take an arl class. Learn about form and shape and apply them to your carvings. Form and shape are the basis for good carving, while details are secondary."

A co-creator and founding member of the Caricature Carvers of America, Dave served as its first vice-president Fiddler and second president. Besides

teaching classes in his studio in Scottsdale, Dave travels throughout North Ameriea giving classes and seminars. For more information, he may be reached at 5629 E. Sylvia Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85254; (480) 367-9630; e-mail

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