Bas Relief Woodcarving (2002) by Phil Allin based on "Symmetry Drawing C" by M C Escher Gallery: Tessellations in Real Materials like wood, clay, and chalk Phil Allin's Woodcarving Reproduction of Escher's "Sun & Moon" Tessellation art

Real materials 11:
"Dolphins and Herons" by Seth (March, 2007)

basswood woodcarving, Sea and Sky (2007) by seth bareiss

This woodcarving is done in basswood (a.k.a. linden, tilia, lindenwood, and lime), a favorite for woodcarvers doing detailed art. It's a light sandy beige wood, nearly grainless and knotless. It's similar in weight, color and grain to balsa wood and poplar, though it's denser than balsa and lacks poplar's green portions. Given time, the portions exposed to air take on a light red blush.

In this piece, I used a variation of my "dolphins and herons" pattern, using the water surface as a barrier between sea and sky, and a reason for the below-surface pattern to be a reflected "flip" of the above-water pattern.
Here is each step in the creation of this piece:
  1. Sketch on paper
  2. Sketched on wood.
  3. Rough-drilled
  4. Mostly carved
  5. Partly painted
  6. The completed piece




Initial sketch for Seth's basswood woodcarving, Sea and Sky (2007)
The initial design I drew in late 2005 while fiddling with the idea of a rotating tessellation-- one that would show dolphins underwater, then jumping, then reeintering the water.
As shown at left, the bird was initially a spoon-billed heron. I later changed the bird to a cormorant (which truly dives underwater to catch fish), and finally settled on a generic crane-like bird.