'Yukon Seasons' (Beginning) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antlers and skull)

Yukon Seasons by Shane Wilson, in progress, beginning (carved moose antler and skull)

This commission will represent the four seasons of Yukon. The commissioner's request was that the commission be carved on a full moose skull with antlers.
(moose antler skull carving, moose antler skull sculpture)

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'Celtic Confusion' (Fix) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Celtic Confusion by Shane Wilson, fix (carved moose antler)

Celtic Confusion was damaged in shipment (October 1999). The stand, originally attached to the back, broke away from the sculpture.

Instead of re-attaching the stand, I decided to redesign the back without an attached stand. The carved portion, evident in the last image above, is new. The sculpture will now be displayed on a separate stand.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Dawson City Councilor Broaches' (Beginning) by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory tusk)

The City of Dawson has commissioned five mammoth ivory carvings to be set by a jeweler as broaches or pins.

Dawson City Councilor Broaches - start - by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory tusk)
The first mammoth ivory broach (above) will represent Beringia - the land mass that opened up during the last ice age accross the Bering Sea, allowing the passage of people, mammoths, and other ice age fauna. Dawson was located at the tip of Beringia and was not glaciated. That is why there are so many ice age remains in the Dawson area, including mammoth ivory, waiting to be discovered by the placer miners. The drawing I have chosen for this carving is by Renaldino, a talented Yukon artist who specializes in portraying Beringia.

Dawson City Councilor Broaches - start - by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory tusk)
The second mammoth ivory broach (above) will represent the Yukon First Nation (Han) located in the Dawson area. Council chose to represent their relationship with the First Nation through the portrayal of a wolf and raven, symbols of the clan or family structure. Since I am not a FN artist, I will not use their symbology in my representation of the wolf and raven, but will carve something in my own style.

Dawson City Councilor Broaches - start - by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory tusk)
The third mammoth ivory broach (above) will represent the new park formed just north of Dawson on the Dempster Highway, Tombstone Park. The formation of the park is a first in the Yukon and is an effort to begin to preserve for all time key bioregions in the Yukon. Kudos to the Yukon Government for concluding an historic and farsighted arrangement! Within the park, the Porqupine Caribou Herd has part of its wintering grounds, so I will try to carve a caribou in the foreground.

Dawson City Councilor Broaches - start - by Shane Wilson (carved mammoth ivory tusk)
The fourth mammoth ivory broach (above) will represent the midnight sun as viewed from the "Dome", a mountain viewpoint above Dawson City. The midnight sun is a remarkable phenomenon in the north. Many travel to the area around June 21 each year to witness the sun that does not set. It approaches the horizon then climbs again into the sky. The carving will include something of the vista from the Dome, looking north, and a time-lapsed view of the sun in its course.


The fifth and final mammoth ivory broach (above) will represent the raison d'etre of Dawson City. Gold! The carving will be of a gold pan from which will flow a river of gold. Inside the centre of the pan are the hills of Dawson, from which the gold bearing rivers flow. I may even add a few flecks of the yellow ore for interest!
(mammoth ivory tusk carving, mammoth ivory tusk sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Finished) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice, 1999 by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

The shapes are finished, refined and smoothed on both sides. It is done!

LINKS: In Progress Slide Show
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 10) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 10 (carved moose antler)

I have redesigned the front face of Candle Ice.

The lines are simplified and a little cleaner than before. The tines have been reduced in size in order to focus attention on the palm of the antler. The upper portion of the antler has been completely redone and the section close to the base has also been changed.

Completing this carving has been a little like running a race, where the finish line recedes every time it comes into view! Because the front has been redesigned, the back will need to be redone as well, then the final sanding and polishing.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 9) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 9 (carved moose antler)

The back is now roughed out and I am on to the task of refining then finishing the entire piece.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 8) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 8 (carved moose antler)

The last few days have been very intense. Now that I have resolved the technical difficulties associated with this aspect of the carving, the work has progressed non-stop.

I have also made some decisions with regard to the front of the carving, because I like how the back is turning out. The front is too busy, so I will simplify the design on the upper portion of the antler. However, I'll wait on this until the back is completed, then assess it again.

I think I will change the tine length too, so that the tips touch a line along an arc. Also, the second tine from the bottom, huge and impressive as it is, may need to be reduced a little bit to center the design on the main portion of the antler.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 7) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 7 (carved moose antler)

This phase has been the most difficult technically. Working to create a second relief that appears to be the back of the design blending seamlessly with the front, is not easy. If the piece were to be view directly from either front or back, then the illusion would be complete. However, from the sides, it is a different matter. Such are the challenges of the media!
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 6) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 6 (carved moose antler)

I am now almost finished roughing out the main face.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 5) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 5 (carved moose antler)

I've just progressed down the antler. The carving techniques and tools are the same.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Candle Ice' (Phase 4) by Shane Wilson (Moose Antler Carving)

Candle Ice by Shane Wilson, in progress - phase 4 (carved moose antler)

This phase, I roughed out some of the basic shapes, planes and lines on the upper portion of the antler. Though it is slow going at this point, with plenty of decisions to be made, I am pleased with the results.

As I carve the triangles they appear more delicate and do seem to resemble ice crystals from a spring lake or giant window pane.

At this point I am using 1/4" straight and rounded cone bits on the Foredom, a 1/8" straight bit on the NSK Electer GX, and small dental bits on the Dremel. It is nice to have a few different tools on hand to minimize the need for changing bits. I can switch between roughing out the larger areas and cleaning the tiny angles in seconds. It is easier on the tools too, allowing them time to cool down between uses.

Lee Valley/Veritas, has designed and produced a new Carver's Bench, and is it a dream! I am using some of the larger hold down clamps with it and can now work hands free, changing the angle and rotation of the piece with ease. If you are a carver or sculptor and need to secure work, it is a must have item. It will work well with any kind of material (even stone) and can handle substantial weight.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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