Found at the WWMSF: Diane Irvin, Wood Carver

The Warkworth Maple Syrup Festival had a number of great finds at the in town shows. Shhh, don’t tell the kids but you could have a great time at the Antiques, Arts and Crafts shows alone. I certainly did and made some great finds. For example, at the Crafts show in the City Hall building, Diane Irvine from Napanee Ontario was showing her various wood carvings. They are done in a style like a wood carver I knew back in my Boy Scout days and Woodsmanship Merit badge, Enos Smithern.

Like Enos, Diane knows her woods. Which are soft, which are dry and long fibered, and which are, most important, knot free. We chatted about hardwoods like Maples and Oaks. And the softer carving woods like Basswood and Buttonwood. Softer woods allow for bolder stokes and cuts like so:

For example, shaping in the face follows the wood rings but also builds for nice sculpted curves. But really bold strokes like in the beard to the left are much easier to do in the softwoods.

There are two things I really liked about Diane'[s carvings. First, she was not afraid to use coloring and wood tints. Some carvers consider the wood’s natural colorings as paramount – and in some pieces that is rightfully so. But at other times, staining with colors can add emphasis and styling that just works:

Here the colorings add a distinctive style and a sense of humor. And that is the second attribute in Diane’s wood works – a simple wry humor perfect for on the cottage or along the garden walkway as so:

One can find out more at Diane’s website, the Workshop Wizards, located in Napanee where the Wizards offer classes in wood working and stained glass including summer camp outings and birthday parties. Such a pleasant find at the Maple Syrup Festival.

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