Saturday, June 27, 2009


2009 Carvings
May and June
Click on each photo to enlarge it.

Bark Carvings
Wood Spirits

Wood Spirit with Leaves

Wood Spirit with Teeth

Wood Spirit
Two Tears Turquoise

Wood Spirit
Circle Turquoise

Wood Spirits

Wood Spirit

carved from


(Yes, he sells Santa's in June)

More Firecrackers

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Emporia is located between the Neosho and Cottonwood Rivers in eastern Kansas. The Flint Hills are to the west of us. Every creek and valley has cottonwood trees. The vast prairie lands of the Flint Hills that separate the rivers and streams are lush with tall grass prairie habitat. There is one huge tree just about a mile from my house that probably would supply many bark carvers with a life time of carving. I showed that tree to the guys, but we were going to the Flint Hills to find our bark.


Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's Off to Hunt We Go
to find a Cottonwood Tree that has been struck by lightening.

Oh! But wait.
We have to have breakfast first!
We have to have energy and strength to find our bark.
3Bryan Moody
6Gregg Thompson
Brian and Gregg are from Wichita

After breakfast, the three of us (Brian, Gregg and myself) loaded ourselves in the van and traveled to the Flint Hills to find "our pot of gold (a huge cottonwood tree).
I spent some time the week before looking for a tree in the Flint Hills. I wanted the drive to be a typical Flint Hills scenic view and at the same time, I did not want to spend too much time looking for a tree rather than viewing our beautiful Flint Hills. Also . . . we had some bark carving we needed to do.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A beautiful morning . . . beautiful scenery . . . finding our cottonwood tree.
Yes, the tree was still there just as huge as you can imagine.
Yes, it had been struck by lightening.

3Gregg seems to be overwhelmed at such a big tree with so much bark.

Bryan starts searching for bark on the ground. Bark that Mother Nature through the power of lightening stripped right off the tree for us. 4

We were able to pick up our bark off the ground. We wanted the tree to be preserved to its natural look, so the bark on the tree was not disturbed.
Our findings were plentiful right there in front of us.

We traveled back to Emporia on a different road, seeing more of our Flint Hills.

We found lots of nice pieces but decided to just clean up a couple so we could get to carving!
Bark is very dirty and after lying on the ground for quite some time, it was filled with bugs and crusty dirt.

Water and Elbow Grease - that is the secret for cleaning bark.

And . . . a brush is needed too!
Bryan and Gregg have their bark clean.
They are ready to carve.

With carving tools and knife sharpener in hand,
it is time to carve their bark.

I have a sharpener, but Bryan brought his sharpener in which he made and is so easy to travel with.

That is one amazing knife sharpener. 4

Note the high tech holding device!
Bryan holds the bark while Gregg smooths is out.

Preparation of the bark takes time, but makes carving a breeze.

It certainly helps when one person can hold the bark while the other one uses the mallat.

That done the fun of carving begins.

Carving can be very dangerous if you don't hold your knife correctly and use your hands and fingers to guide the knife.
Knives have to be very sharp to be able to carve.
One misguided cut can relieve a person from quite a bit of blood - quickly.

Bryan using the knife with his right hand
and guiding it with his left hand.

Gregg is using a thumb guard on his
right hand and guiding the knife with
his left thumb.

Another method of guiding the knife.

Bryan and Gregg were both very careful carvers - carving the safe way - to prevent accidents.

The eyes and nose are peeking out of the bark.
That is normal for a wood spirit.
They soon come to life for the woodcarver.

Bryan ran into a worm hole on his bark.
That happens often.
Now, what to do with it!

Oh! The wood spirit has a mouth and mustache too. Now for the hair.

Bryan worked with his worm hole.
It is in the middle of his wood spirits forehead, betwee the eyebrows.
Good thinking Bryan!

And . . . . Gregg's finished wood spirit.
Hair, face, mustache and beard - and even teeth showing.
Good job Gregg!

As they were getting ready to leave,
just one more photo of them in the grass.

Bryan had plans for finishing touches on his when he was at his home.