Friday, February 24, 2012

Dala Horse

The Dala horse from Sweden has a great story and tradition. In the winter of 1716, while King Charles XII of Sweden waged war throughout most of Europe, many soldiers were quartered in private homes in the Mora area of Sweden. Because of the severe winter and the war, all suffered from the lack of food and warmth. Tradition has it that one soldier, in his spare time, carved a Dala horse from some scrap wood in the home he was staying. Before presenting it to the child of the home for a gift, he painted it bright red. This was the available color in this area, being a bi product of a copper mine. He decorated the horse with a kurbit painting for the harness and saddle. The use of kurbits as a decorative motifs on the horse came from the soldier's deep religious background. Today they are manufactured in Sweden in different colors and the saddles are painted by double loading the brush for the saddle. I carved two different sizes. The one 3 inches tall and 1 inch thick looked better to me. The other one was 4 inches tall and 1 1/2 inch thick. I wanted them to look more like the older Dala horses so they are not sanded and the paint job is simpler.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts for Valentines Day

I have three different hearts for this Valentines Day. The first one is a simple heart carved and painted with bright colors. The second picture is two hearts carved out of a lilac branch. It is cut at an angle to show the growth rings. It is also a hardwood. The last picture is two hearts that are linked, carved from one piece of basswood.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


This carving is from a Edward Curtis portrait of a young indian woman in 1910. She is a Chinookan from Washington state. The tribes were along the Colombia River and along the coast. She is from the Wishham tribe. The choker around her neck is shell disks and earrings are abalone. These were used as barter and they were good at trade. It takes me some time to carve portraits as I don't measure the different layers. I go by if it looks right to me, so I carve it a little at a time. The dark brown area is a pitch mark that goes all the way through the wood.