Carving Course with Mary May

I spent the past week in a carving class taught by Mary May at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.  Although I have incorporated simple relief carvings into several pieces over the past several years–some doves and petunias, a grape vine with a cardinal, a stylized tulip, the odd sunburst or daisy–I had never had any formal instruction in carving.  What finally moved me to sign up for Mary’s class was the frustration I experienced on carving a decorative edge for “Corona Plumosa,”** the 1920s Spanish Renaissance Revival-inspired piece I built for an Indiana University Arts Week grant-funded project. The decorative edge effect, which Mary informed me is called “gadrooning,”*  seemed flatter than the antique examples on which I had based it. 

I was ready to learn some official carving techniques.

Mary is a great teacher. She explains principles and processes clearly and will demonstrate techniques as many times as necessary. Having her minute paring cuts magnified on a pair of large screens was invaluable; in fact, her movements became so deeply etched (or carved? ouch) in my mind that I literally dreamed about them last night.

I can’t wait to put some of those techniques into practice.

In case you missed this class, Mary also teaches at other schools. For $10 a month, you can gain access to her online carving school. She also has several videos. See her website for further information.

**The name is misspelled on my website. It should be Corona, not Corono. (I’ll ask Jim to fix this as soon as he returns from sailing.)

*According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word, which is sometimes spelled “godroon,” is likely related to the French goder, to crease or pucker

One response to “Carving Course with Mary May

  1. “godroon” is my new favorite word, and that piece, Corona Plumosa, is stunning!

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