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Wood Sculpting and Carving Techniques of Martin Conley

Meet artist Martin Conley Wood Sculptor
Creating art at home offers endless possibilities to explore different styles, processes and materials. Wood sculpting is one of the fun art styles that children will enjoy experimenting with. Presented here by Martin Conley, wood sculpting is certainly a hands-on art form that allows children to enhance their imagination, fine motor skills and spatial awareness in an enjoyable way.

Local Oregon artist, Martin Conley. Martin shares his passion for woodworking as he explains how he chooses his piece of wood and begins the process of sculping his artwork and the tools he uses on each piece.

Learn Wood Sculpting Techniques from Artist Martin Conley Video

In this video, Martin shares how the colors and even the flaws in each unique piece of wood direct his design and final sculpture. Martin was also featured in a news story for a rendention he created for Reedville Elementary.

The Art and Techniques of Martin Conley – Sculptor

Follow along using the video transcription below to learn more about artist Martin Conley and his wood sculptures.

Well the joy is that wood comes in so many different forms, so many different kinds and you can do so much with it. The pitfalls are that you have to deal with the grain, which sometimes creates a problem in what you’re trying to do while you’re working.

Also, I do like to the wood to somewhat deteriorate so that it gives me a chance to maybe hollow out the pieces or do something that is already there that I can work with. So, the other kind of work that I like to do is where I pre plan everything and it’s all a construction project so I know exactly what I’m going to end up with. Before I even start, so it’s a little bit different way of working, but I do prefer the abstract pieces where I can just play with the piece of wood.

Usually when I see it, I have an idea of whether I want to play with it or not. Since I do that kind of work, I don’t usually know what I’m going to do until I get into it and then the wood kind of lets you know what it wants and how you can create it to make it look really nice and work for whatever you’re doing.

Well, hopefully I’m creating something that is actually enjoyable to look at – and in my case I like people to touch and feel because wood has a nice feeling. And it needs to be touched, and so there’s a lot more to it than just creating a piece and having a sit there. I had a little tiff with the painting instructor in my third year of school and he wanted to change what I was doing and what I was painting at that time and I really had been doing it for about a dozen years and I didn’t want to change. I’d kind of gone to what he thought I needed to go through.

So I had a sculpture class at the time and just got really interested in the three dimensional work and so from there I just kept doing that. I still paint, but I still like going back and doing the three dimensional work. It is just more satisfying. Actually. It worked out really well because I ended up working in wood, or with wood, and ended up being a finish carpenter for 35 years. So I did a lot of design and work and made stuff that nobody else was doing. I created and built a lot of staircases – curved and straight.

I use a lot of really sharp and dangerous tools and even I, that use them all the time, tend to get hurt now and then. So that is kind of a problem. But there is on a smaller scale that we can at least introduce people to woodworking and then they can go on their own and eventually go further than just using a knife or a couple of small tools.

My inspiration for this kind of work came on a trip to Ireland – where I saw another artist over there who was creating these small vessels. Now when I got back – since I couldn’t do the face piece in one piece because my saw wasn’t big enough – I got into laminating pieces together to make the face of it, which made it way more interesting, because I could use different kinds of wood to do different things.

This particular piece has Douglas Fir on it, but this piece of wood I had loved the grain and I’d probably saved it for at least 20 years. Before I ever found a use for it, but now it looks really great on this vessel.

Watch more of our artists at work today.

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