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DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

13 Mar
DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!
An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

Some years ago, following my urge to cut, carve and gouge, I became one of a group of apprentices participating in a Community Center Carving Project. The group project was led by George Norris, a celebrated artist, sculptor and wood carver. I longed to learn carving from a master and our task was to carve intricate details in broad wooden lintels that would be placed throughout the Community Center. George shared many insights, from his rich career of carving with the group, among which was an important lesson: Don’t bleed on the wood as it penetrates the grain and unfortunately there is only one way to remove blood stains from wood and that is by removing the blood stained area, hence the wood itself.

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

I learned this important lesson by experience while blood spurted wildly from a hand wound, caused by my ineptness with a lethal weapon aka the number seven carving tool. I mention that it was a number seven so that anyone who is aware of carving tools can appreciate how hazardous this tool can be in the hands of a beginner. Anyone who can’t imagine the damage that it can cause may want to check out my scar, a rather large one, to validate this.

Carving Exercise Block

As you might imagine I yelped a little when I stabbed my own hand, drawing the attention of the master carver who quickly came to my side to observe, not my wound, but the lintel where I had unknowingly leaked some blood. While I stanched the flow of blood as best I could, George quickly drew up a plan to remove the bloodied wood and in haste created an altered carving design to accommodate the removal of the bloodstain. There was no denying that my bloody wound came second to the importance of the lintel being carved.

Artists and artisans often recall with fondness the words of wisdom from a mentor and for me the words I remember most fondly as my first words of professional advice were

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

What words of wisdom do you recall from a mentor?

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4 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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4 responses to “DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

  1. Crackerberries

    March 25, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    The only way to be a writer is to write. I suppose this would stand true with anything just change the verb. The only way to be a __________ is to ________.

     
  2. Milorne

    March 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Great article!

     
  3. dorian

    March 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    “Just sayin’ “…added after a positive & uplifting remark or added after a gentle but unmistakable correction…this phrase tends to ” soften” the perceived intenseness of the remark.A friend of mine uses it all the time..works wonders!

     
    • Anonymous

      March 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      thanks Dorian!
      just saying…

       

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