Emotions in Wood
Carving the Expressive Face
by Ann Brouwers

215 x 280mm

Published by Linden Publishing, CA USA


ISBN 978-193350216-8

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 143

Did you ever lie on your back, look up at the sky and see faces in the clouds? Our senses are so attuned to the human face we can see one even when there is really no face to be seen.

We can also see minute differences in the shapes of lips and eyes, the tension or relaxation in facial muscles - all those tiny changes that show human emotion.

Yet ask us exactly what those changes are, precisely how a face alters when it moves from showing anger to fear, from love to frustration... we are unable to answer.

It's little wonder that when we try to carve a face that we have difficulty infusing the emotion that we want it to exhibit.

Many experienced woodcarvers have learned how to do this, but very few have taken the time and trouble to write about it so that they can teach others.

Ann Brouwers has tackled the subject head on - or should that be 'face on'.

The method she employs is to describe the carving of various faces on a spherical rather than a realistic head. As she comments: 'You don't have to be able to carve a human face before you carve a spherical head'. This means that the student can concentrate on the facial expression and ignore other parts of the realistic head such as the ears, hair and neck.

The book begins with the simple mechanics of the craft - the choice of wood, how to work safely, how to sharpen tools, how to hold your hands - before examining the difference between a real head and a spherical head.

It then discusses the anatomy of the face, making a plan and preparing the wood.

At this point, the author embarks on a series of training exercises that begin with Step by Step to a Laughing Face. The sad face is considered and the softly smiling face, along with discussions on sanding and finishing.

The book ends with an Overview of faces with emotions and a short treatment of Design.

The book will appeal more to beginning and intermediate woodcarvers than to those who are very experienced though even they may find inspiration from the way in Ann Brouwers treats her subject.

Illustrations: Colour



Chapter 1: Choosing your wood

Chapter 2: How to work safely

Chapter 3: Sharpening

Chapter 4: Hand positions

Chapter 5: Differences between a realistic and a spherical head

Chapter 6: The antaomy of the face

Chapter 7: Make a plan

Chapter 8: Preparing the wood

Chapter 9: Step by step to a loudly laughing face

Chapter 10: Sanding your carving

Chapter 11: Finishing

Chapter 12: What happens in a sad face?

Chapter 13: Make a drawing

Chapter 14: Step by step to sadness

Chapter 15: Step by step to a softly smiling face

Chapter 16: Overview of faces with emotions

Chapter 17: Design: what is it?