Tuesday, October 19, 2010
What's with all the Santa carving? They are everywhere these days. If you frequent the Woodcarving Illustrated message boards, you'll witness new Santa carvings popping up every day. Google "santa carvings" and you'll find dozens of sites loaded with a wide variety of Santa figures, caricatures and ornaments. I have Santa fever too. I've been carving them the last few months now. It's pretty all I've been carving. I bought several Santa carving books and some holiday issues of WCI from a few years back. Here's my theory why Santa is such a popular subjec. Whether or not we've been good or bad, we like to think Santa is forgiving. To a wood carver - he is! You can carve him short, tall, fall, slimmed down, as an Old World figure, as a woodsman, a golfer, a beach bum, a ski bum, a cowboy or some hybrid character - like the half-elf-half-santa guy. His form lends itself to all styles, be it low relief, flat-plane carving or caricature. And he's so vague as a character that our eyes see dear old St. Nick no matter how loosely he is represented. His nose can be almost any size. He can have big round eyes or little slits or eyes completely hidden up a cap. The cap itself can be a simple cone, a floppy cap with a pom pom or a study in carving folds. Like I said, he's VERY forgiving. I would say as a carving subject, he's about as popular as the proverbial Mountain Man. Both Santa and mountain man always seem to look good, even when we don't get the nose right or mess up the eyes. But the more I carve him, the better I get. So I keep on carving him. You'll notice my Santas all look different. I haven't decided what my Santas style is. I try to explore some new technique on each new one I do. You don't have to do that, of course. But keep on cranking out those Santas. Experiment. Try and give his face a little character, some expression - some attitude! Most important have fun with him. Santa is a fun guy!