'Male Seahorse', 2007 by Shane Wilson - Stand (moose antler carving)

The commissioner of the Seahorses decided not to mount them in a shadow box, as I had anticipated. Instead, he created elegantly simple metal bases to allow the sculptures to present as freestanding.

Male Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)
While I initially preferred that the backs of the sculptures not be exposed (since they are unfinished), the stands do compliment the Seahorses quite well.

I have been told that visitors to the commissioner's house have remarked with amazement about the contrast between the rough antler and the finished carving. Check out the video clip (link below).

Male Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)
The Seahorses can be removed from the stands for closer examination due to the use of rare earth magnets, embedded in the wood backing, which otherwise secure the sculptures to the stands.

Male Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)

LINKS: YouTube - One visitor's reaction to the Seahorses
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Female Seahorse', 2007 by Shane Wilson - Stand (moose antler carving)

The commissioner of the Seahorses decided not to mount them in a shadow box, as I had anticipated. Instead, he created elegantly simple metal bases to allow the sculptures to present as freestanding.

Female Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)
While I initially preferred that the backs of the sculptures not be exposed (since they are unfinished), the stands do compliment the Seahorses quite well.

I have been told that visitors to the commissioner's house have remarked with amazement about the contrast between the rough antler and the finished carving. Check out the video clip (link below).

Female Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)
The Seahorses can be removed from the stands for closer examination due to the use of rare earth magnets, embedded in the wood backing, which otherwise secure the sculptures to the stands.

Female Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson, stand (carved moose antler)

LINKS: YouTube - One visitor's reaction to the Seahorses
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses', 2007 (Finished) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

Seahorses, 2007 by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

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

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'Seahorses' (Female - Finished) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

After a serious amount of further refining and polishing , both carvings are done! A 1" thick block of oak has been added to the back of each carving, joined with Liquid Nails, to avoid long term damage from screws in antler. The carvings will be fastened onto a back board by these wooden blocks.

Female Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

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

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'Seahorses' (Male - Finished) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

After a serious amount of further refining and polishing , both carvings are done! A 1" thick block of oak has been added to the back of each carving, joined with Liquid Nails, to avoid long term damage from screws in antler. The carvings will be fastened onto a back board by these wooden blocks.

Male Seahorse, 2007 by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

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

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 12) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, the carving has been cleaned up, and by this I mean, attention has been paid to the corners and small areas, to make the overall impression crisper and sharper. I have added the lines, indicating the plates or divisions on the seahorse's body.

All that remains now is to sand and polish, then apply a backing, which will enable the carving to be mounted in a shadow box.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 12 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 11) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, the tail is finished and more attention has been paid to the face, particularly the eye and forehead. I will now spend a little time cleaning up the entire carving and add the lines indicated in red.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 11 (carved moose antler)

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 11 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 10) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

The level of detail in this carving may be a little over the top, to be sure, but the overall effect seems to be working. Each tiny section takes several hours to complete. I have been using dental burrs to create the fine detail.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 10 (carved moose antler)
The design evolves, becoming concrete in the carving process.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 9) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

After quite an haitus, I have begun again on the Female Seahorse, roughing and refining the body details. It is good to be working in antler again.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 9 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 8) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

I have begun to rough out the carving's basic shapes, beginning with the nose and part of the face, as well as the belly and chest areas.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 8 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 7) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have transferred the pattern from the original concept drawing to the antler. I have made a few changes to reflect the 3D surface of the antler. I will now begin the process of roughing out the shapes, making decisions about high and low points and the way in which the 2D concept will be realized in high relief.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 7 (carved moose antler)

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 7 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 12) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, the detail has been worked out for the remainder of this seahorse. All that remains now is to refine the lines, sand and polish!

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 12 (carved moose antler)

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 12 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 11) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have sketched in the remainder of the design on the main portion of the body and head.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 11 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 10) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have used a variety of precise carbide burrs, with a 1/8" shank or less, to rough out the designs on the raised oval areas.

While carving the design into the antler over the last few days, I have wondered about the meaning of the squiggles beneath my tools. All of the squiggles emerged from the texture evident in the photograph of the seahorse. Some of the squiggles have taken on the appearance of familiar things. But what do they mean? I then wondered if there was any meaning at all in what I do.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 10 (carved moose antler)
It occured to me that, in isolation, the sqiggles and shapes meant nothing. It is only when they are taken together that something happens within the observer - just as the individual notes of a symphony mean nothing and yet something happens, within the listener, when they are played together. The meaning is not so much rational, or something that can be reduced to words and phrases, but , what? Emotional? Spiritual? I'm not really sure these overused categories are able to describe the kind of effect I am talking about. The experience of the overall design can generate an altered state within the observer, one of warmth, pleasure, or excitement. It takes one to a different place within oneself, from which one returns a little richer ...
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 9) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase the face has been roughed out.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 9 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 8) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, the larger design elements on the body have been carved out in rough. I will leave the head for a bit to insure that its design will integrate with the final design of the body. The next step will be to place within and between the ovals the detailed design structure.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 8 (carved moose antler)

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 8
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 7) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, the primary elements (ovals) have been redesigned to take into consideration the actual edge elements and structure of the antler. I hope to preserve much of the original paper design, but we'll have to see after roughing out this phase.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 7 (carved moose antler)

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 7 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 6) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

I have begun to round down the edges of the seahorse body and define the planes of the spines. Also the tail is begining to take shape with an evident curl on the end.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 6) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

This phase has included the roughing out of the major contours and the definition of the outer bumpy elements. Note that the tail is beginning to take shape, using the natural curve and bulk of the original antler.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 6 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 5) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have refined the outline on both seahorses and added a grid for the initial roughing out of the planes. The edging might look like a simple task, but it is a challenge to refine the shapes down through the material, keeping the edges straight despite the curving plane of the antler and the varying thicknesses of the material.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 5 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 5) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have refined the outline on both seahorses and added a grid for the initial roughing out of the planes. The edging might look like a simple task, but it is a challenge to refine the shapes down through the material, keeping the edges straight despite the curving plane of the antler and the varying thicknesses of the material.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 5 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 4) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have designed the edges of the female seahorse to repeat the interior pattern and then reduced the antler to this outline.


Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 4 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 3) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have created a preliminary design for the carving on the photocopied template images of the seahorse.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 3 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 4) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have designed the edges of the male seahorse to repeat the interior pattern and then reduced the antler to this outline.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 4 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 3) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

In this phase, I have created a preliminary design for the carving on the photocopied template images of the seahorse.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 3 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 2) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

The image has been cut from the antler using a band saw. I changed the blade prior to making the cuts and found the new blade cut well and held a line. It seems that after a while a band saw blade will start to stray, making precise cuts impossible.

In this case, both seahorses were roughed out, leaving room on the edges for later developments and design considerations. Since the blade used was 3/8" in depth, the cuts were not contoured exactly to the design.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
As you can see from the side shots, the antler is quite thick at the tip of the tail, which should allow for an effect that will emulate the seahorse if it were realized 'in the round.'

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
The next step will be to determine the actual borders of the design and to reduce the antler to that border with the band saw and burrs.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 2) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

The image has been cut from the antler using a band saw. I changed the blade prior to making the cuts and found the new blade cut well and held a line. It seems that after a while a band saw blade will start to stray, making precise cuts impossible.

In this case, both seahorses were roughed out, leaving room on the edges for later developments and design considerations. Since the blade used was 3/8" in depth, the cuts were not contoured exactly to the design.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
As you can see from the side shots, the antler is quite thick at the tip of the tail, which should allow for an effect that will emulate the seahorse if it were realized 'in the round.'

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
The next step will be to determine the actual borders of the design and to reduce the antler to that border with the band saw and burrs.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 2 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Female - Phase 1) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

I have chosen the antler that best suits the image and the carving. The thick areas of the antler are aligned with the tail section, to allow for a deeper curl.

Female Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 1 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Male - Phase 1) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

I have chosen the antler that best suits the image and the carving. The thick areas of the antler are aligned with the tail section, to allow for a deeper curl.

Male Seahorse by Shane Wilson, in progress, phase 1 (carved moose antler)
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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'Seahorses' (Beginning) by Shane Wilson (carved moose antler)

I have been commissioned to carve two seahorses in antler, with the proviso that they be realized in an abstract fashion, with the duality theme (angles and curves).

After considerable research into the seahorse, I have settled on two seahorses of the barbouri type. They have interesting protrusions, or barbs (though their names come from the fact that they are found in the Sea of Barbour) and a very nice shape. As with all seahorses, the male caries the young, and this fellow is no exception. He is 'pregnant' as evidenced by his pouch, just above the tail.

Seahorses by Shane Wilson, in progress, beginning<br /><br />Jason (my brother) and his partner Kerrin have commissioned me to carve two seahorses in antler, with the proviso that they be realized in an abstract fashion, with the duality theme (angles and curves).<br /><br />After considerable research into the seahorse, I have settled on two seahorses of the barbouri type. They have interesting protrusions, or barbs (though their names come from the fact that they are found in the Sea of Barbour) and a very nice shape. As with all seahorses, the male caries the young, and this fellow is no exception. He is 'pregnant' as evidenced by his pouch, just above the tail.<br /><br />I am not certain how I will realize the abstract theme within the shapes of the seahorses, but the male will likely be predominantly curvy (using ovals, circles and cones) and the female will be realized using angular shapes (rectangle, square, pyramid).<br /><br />They will be carved from separate antlers, due to their size, and be mounted together in a shadow-box frame
I am not certain how I will realize the abstract theme within the shapes of the seahorses, but the male will likely be predominantly curvy (using ovals, circles and cones) and the female will be realized using angular shapes (rectangle, square, pyramid).

They will be carved from separate antlers, due to their size, and be mounted together in a shadow-box frame.
(moose antler carving, moose antler sculpture)

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