Carving a tiger in iron.

Carving a tiger in iron.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:24 am

A step by step photo essay following yet another tsuba with a tiger and bamboo on it. :-)

I'm really enjoying exploring the way artists of old designed and carved this theme and finding out how my own evolving aesthetic intersects with that.
The sequence starts with the reverse being tackled first. The material is some beautifully finely forged 120 year old wrought iron.
This time I chose not to upset the edge of the tsuba until all the carving has been completed. I wanted to have the finished composition fully rendered before I decided just how I wanted the rim to look and feel.

I hope the images are self explanatory and I've included images of all the chisels I used as the work proceeded.

Double click on the images to see an enlarged view.

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:27 am

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:29 am

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:31 am

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:41 am

This is the original Sekibun tsuba I'm working from. Obviously mine is in iron and I've chosen to use a more varied ground. I was drawn to the undulating outline of both the bamboo truck and the tiger itself. Those strong graphic lines are, to my eye anyway, what the whole composition is really based. The lightness, almost brush like, feel of the leaves was also very appealing but whereas the original is on a smooth polished ground I wanted my leaves to be more a part of the stone-like ground I've forged. I'm hoping that once it's all patinated the play of light on the leaves will create a realistic lively effect, as though a breeze was causing the leaves to gently rustle.

I didn't raise the rim before doing the carving because, this time, I wanted to be able to create that'frame' in response to the finished sculture rather than it already having been imposed.

I've been drawing the tiger a bit and working on his face. I want to give him a more cocky attitude.

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Mac » Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:21 am

Mr. Ford,
What was your prep for the iron ground ? Straight, 'As forged' or did you work it over cold with a hand hammer ?
Something strangely anthropomorphic about that bamboo. The segments have a very lip-like appearance.
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:51 am

Hi Mac

it was hot forged into p[late from bar stock and then pickled clean. I then cold worked the plate to develop the present texture.
It's 120 year old wrought iron.
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby cam_hardiman » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:31 pm

Great images Ford. I'm glad you took the time to share them.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

Cam

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby cam_hardiman » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:37 pm

Mac wrote:Something strangely anthropomorphic about that bamboo.


I agree Mac. Almost an exaggerated, or caricature like human bones and joints.

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Fri Jun 02, 2017 2:20 pm

The Sekibun, father and son, we're probably two of the most eccentric metal artists of their time.
Eccentricity was admired in artists and a very good way to get your work noticed in the late Edo period.

It's exactly their willingness to take liberties with line and form in the expression of their own aesthetic is what really attracts me to their work and style. Their signatures say it all. :biggrin:
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby cam_hardiman » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:48 am

The signature and the term eccentric explains a lot.

I really like the thick line work in the tiger, and that sneaky snarled look it has. There a lot of character in the face and eyes.
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Chris A » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:29 am

Ford thank you for showing the process and progress of this tsuba. The tiger has great movement and rhythm; and unusually on a tsuba, looks the viewer straight in the eye, a look that says "you're lunch mate!".
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:19 am

further progress.

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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby Ford » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:29 am

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This image shows most of the ground work carving completed. Now I start to blend the curves and planes in and recarve to emphasise depth and seperation where it becomes clear it's needed.
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The scraping was carried out with one tool. These are called hisage in Japanese and this is one end.
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This is the other end of the hisage.
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The scraping to refine the forms is now almost complete.
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Even though the tiger will be covered in a fur texture and then have deep stripes cut in all over the body it is still important that the underlying structure be properly formed and neatly defined. Texture will never hide poor foundation work, in fact nothing can.
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When carrying out this sort of very low and sunken relief it's essential to continually asses the progress in different lighting set ups. This side on view shows how effective this technique of shishiai-bori (intaglio) can be in creating the illusion of real depth and volume.
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Re: Jamming with a funky Sekibun tiger.

Postby cam_hardiman » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:03 am

Thanks for taking the time to add the progress photographs Ford. Those eyes are going to follow the viewer around the room.
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