Tag Archives: balsa wood

Full House

16 Jun

It’s been a busy and stressful week for me. I have been working late the past few nights on a super duper urgent design project. As the deadline looms without negotiation for an extension, it doesn’t help when the client gives the material to me late. I have a responsibility then to do my part.

Because of this, the carving has stop for the time being but last night, I managed to squeeze one in as a stress reliever. The new balsa wood was extremely soft and it was easy to carve.

Citizen #23 was born and now Gigglesville is just so crowded! Pretty soon, the ‘O’mobile cannot be parked in there anymore. When the house is full (I have space for one more), maybe there will be a migration. Some citizens of Gigglesville will leave for adoption and spread their giggles elsewhere on earth.

As for me, working on this project, I draw the giggles and positiveness from the citizens of Gigglesville to stay sane and cool. I can do it.

Gigglesville Has a Mayor!

2 Jun

I am so in the thick of carving, I bought a new piece of balsa to carve besides some new canvases as I have promised a few pieces for friends. A promise is a promise regardless of the tennis elbow. I just need to find the inspiration to get that going.

In the meantime, I have given much thought to the township of Gigglesville. But before the town blooms, I think it needs a mayor, hence this character.

Now in my world, mayors in general are usually short and stout, so naturally the mayor of Gigglesville is shorter and wider than the usual citizens. But he has to also be different, therefore the cool shades instead of big round eyes.

Nemesis of Gigglesville

29 May

It’s inevitable for every storyline that has happy giggling citizens living harmoniously and superheroes maintaining peace to have a nemesis who does nothing but wreck havoc and create fear. Hence, Gigglesville has EB to content with. EB as in Evil Buster.

So who is EB? He’s obviously an evil one with a name as such and he brings glum to the citizens, taking away their giggles and happiness.

Now all I need is to create the whole township! Carving has never been this fun!

Citizens of Gigglesville

23 May

Lately I resurrected the carving hobby because I ran out of canvases to paint. Although I enjoy painting, in truth, I find the sweeping motion of the palette knife across a two feet canvas to be quite an arduous task. And I paint only once a week. It looks like the tennis elbow right arm is never recovering anytime soon and taking a long time to get well. Sigh…

But carving is okay. The arm doesn’t move that much and the balsa wood is not that hard to tackle.

The last batch of creatures created was back in July last year and recently, I labelled them ‘Citizens of Gigglesville’ and painted them all up. I must say proudly these creations of mine, all about an inch tall or thereabouts are rather cute little critters that bring a smile or giggle to whoever looks at them, hence aptly named citizens of this imaginary township.

Each and every character has a serial number instead of a name. With this, I see an interesting story developing.

Feeling Restless

17 Oct

For several weekends I have been feeling very restless. It became more pronounced when I had to sit out from golf. And days that we don’t go out and do something, I become an unhealthy couch potato.

There were times I channeled my energy to art. So I painted and carved. But I don’t enjoy it when I am interrupted (mostly by official pet number one’s insistent barking for attention) or be at it for long periods of time. It’s very hard to find a balance. 

The stain glass activity on the whiskey bottles have stopped because I find it very time consuming and tedious. And it hurts my back if I bend over too long. As for the balsa wood carving, it’s very messy because with the ceiling fan on, the light wood chips fly everywhere!

I am torn on what to do next. Should I carve the remaining balsa wood, paint on canvas instead of whiskey bottles or try my hands at something new?

So much creative energy, so little activities…

What Next?

19 Jul

I have another foot long balsa wood and am contemplating carving something else other than owls. Not that I don’t like owls, I think having choices would be challenging. 

It has to be something round without limbs sticking out and easy to recognize. Hmm. Life choices…

It’s a Zoo!

18 Jul

So I carved. And carved and carved over the weekend and created a mini zoo of sorts with my effort. In the process, I made a mess in the house with the wood flakes and dust flying everywhere. Can’t help it with the fan on at full blast as it was hot and humid.

The comments given were hilarious. I had a mention of a penguin, a frog and a Yoda for my owl carving attempts. I finally had some good results after the earlier efforts. It was literally five owls/hours later that I got it right.

I must say I had fun doing all these. In total I carved 11 pieces, four on the totem pole. Amazing where the burst of energy (and creativity) came from! Next step would be to stain them to look more complete. 


My little zoo


The first two: The Yoda and the penguin wannabes


Saturday’s troop looking more like owls


The last two. Gave ‘Elvis’ a tad of front hair. Heheh…


My New Tools!

15 Jul

I couldn’t wait for the weekend and left the office early yesterday to go back to the art store and bought the carving set, along with more balsa wood.

Debating between the cheap Made in China set and the expensive Sakura brand, I opted for the Japanese set which cost five times more but I think it’s a good investment. Last night, the carving has begun!

I think when the weekend is over, I should have a brood of owls and other animals done up. So exciting!


A Sketch and a Plan, Part 3

14 Jul

Art has always been my passion. Carving the balsa wood reminds me of the time when I tried carving wax dinosaur years ago. It was basically a do-it-yourself technique.

Back then it was hard to find the perfect block of wax. And to buy a big (and expensive) candle to carve, I think Mom and Dad would have balked at the idea. So I improvised. I made a mold using cardboard and then melted regular house candles into it to have that perfect block. It was more important to have the correct size rather than the right color. Burnt wax ended up looking black. Oh well.

Then the mess began. It was exhilarating. I must say wax carving is so much easier because the substance is soft and easy to manipulate or shape. If a mistake is made, I could just melt some wax to patch the mistake and redo the area without problems, unlike wood when once carved away, you cannot undo.

I carved several Smurf characters because I had those little blue figurine collectibles and they were an easy reference to start off. It worked out well and I still have the wax figurines after all these years. Although the trio collectively has a missing ear, half a foot gone and two limbs broken off, they still look good. I should fix them though.

Now balsa wood is different for obvious reasons. Harder than wax yet soft to carve, you cannot use too much strength else you’d end up cutting out parts unintentionally. I carved a pig several years back and after that one time, I did not pursue further. I don’t know why. I think I went on to painting.

But now, here I am, carving again. What more, did a totem pole of owls and contemplating more little single figurines to work on. This is much more satisfying than painting owls on the whiskey bottles that I did a while back. That was just time consuming whereas this, thinking in 3-D and seeing what the mind sees in all angles come true to life is much more satisfying. And therapeutic.

So the sketch and the plan will continue.


A Sketch and a Plan, Part 2

12 Jul

It wasn’t difficult. I guess I am comfortable using the mini penknife to work on my totem pole of owls. I actually brought back my X-acto knife from the office just in case I needed an alternative tool. The nasal congestion is still there but in the quiet of things, I worked on the pole for almost three hours. It was rather therapeutic.

I can’t decide which owl looks cuter, the top, the middle two or the last one. Somehow upon close scrutiny, the bottom fella looks like a penguin! So does the top one!!! Hahahaha… 

The finishing is not as fine as I had hope for but then again, with a penknife instead of carving tools, I should not expect much. But for a first attempt, I must say it’s a good effort. Definitely different from the original sketch but the gist of the plan is there.

I have decided I will go buy more balsa wood over the weekend and perhaps a set of carving tools too since I cannot find my old set. And will continue this streak of carving while the mood lasts. But I won’t get another long strip but little blocks and carve single owls. It should be fun.