Just a quick item this month as I’m sure you all have plenty to do without spending too much time reading this, even with the COVID lockdowns in many parts of the world.
The question is: is it the best work you can do? Can you improve on the piece you have in your hand? You need to look from the whole piece to the tiniest aspect of it. And if yes (and you always can), how?
Why do I raise this question? Because if it’s not your best possible work then it’s second-rate. We all need to strive for perfection! Mind you, it’s often only you who can see the shortcomings!
Maybe you had to modify the design early-on because of a slip with a tool or there was a fracture in the rock which became apparent only once you started grinding? In the production process, irregularities in the stone or just slight differences in the time spent grinding can cause curves which should be mirror images of each other to have different radii. They affect the harmony of the piece.
Maybe you’re okay with that, maybe not. If not, act! These things happen to everybody. So it’s about how well you disguise or clean them up that marks the expert carver!
So you think you have almost finished a piece? And bear in mind that many of the minor problems only become apparent as the piece nears completion. Life’s hard like that! Pick it up and roll it around in your hand. Really look at it! At the one time you need to be looking at the macroscopic aspects of the piece with your eyes/glasses, and also the microscopic aspects with your loupe/hand-lens.
I gain much satisfaction from handling a piece at this stage and from cleaning it up and improving it. It might take 10 minutes or an hour, but at the end it will be better. The merging of two curves can be beautiful or it can look harsh. The relationship between a number of faces is important. So set-to if the piece doesn’t look right! Generally, you have the scope to grind things back a little to achieve this.
So here’s to perfection! Keep on carving!! And keep safe in these uncertain times.
On this page I intend to add monthly updates on aspects of jade carving. I also plan to invite more experienced carvers to offer a "master-class" on a particular subject of their choice. With this I hope to enthuse both the novice and the expert in this ancient and beautiful art-form/craft. And comments are welcome!