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Here's My Woodcarving!

by Blair Swing
Fort Worth, TX

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

I started carving recently and my first project combined my lathe and carving skills to create everyone's favorite Martian, Marvin!


I was looking at an old cartoon one day, and thought to myself that I could turn almost every part of Marvin and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Even his hands started as the end parts of turned parts from his body, and I used dowels turned down on the lathe for his fingers. Transtint dyes, a lot of epoxy and a few steel pins to hold his shoulders in place and I was able to create Marvin the Martian. Altogether he stands about 12" tall from his sneakers to the tip of his brush.

Marvin combined all of my skills developed over the years into one sculpture, and I can tell you I have a much greater appreciation for carving after working on Marvin! With the lathe, everything is symmetrical and unless you offset, you're limited by what the machine gives you. Doing Marvin, with separate parts and pieces, was a challenge to maintain the perspective I wanted to present in a complete 360 degree view. While he makes me smile every time I look at him now, that wasn't always the case when I was building him!

He was also a very therapeutic project, as I had completed him shortly after my father passed away in December, right before Christmas.

Marvin the Martian will be on display, along with one of my turned bowls, at the Texas State Fair (started 9/25 ends 10/18) in the Creative Arts Building. Both entries were awarded an Honorable Mention Ribbon this year. Third year in a row and now 4 out of 4 of my entries have been honored with a ribbon!

Another project I have carved was in honor of my Father. I carved his hands one long December night, epoxying on digits, and revising the shape until I had the right look and feel, finally completing the hands around 4 am. The model for his hands was a picture of my parents holding hands. They were married for almost 63 years.

I have also been featured in the Show Us Your Woodturning section of the September 2012 issue of The Highland Woodturner .

You can email Blair at blairswing@yahoo.com .

Would you like to see your carvings in this column? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your favorite woodcarving projects along with captions and a brief history of your woodcarving. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store gift card if we show your carving work in a future issue!

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