The laurel wreath is a sign of victory, eternal youth.
In Greek mythology Apollo is in love with Daphne. Daphne's father transforms her into a Laurel tree to avoid Apollo. The laurel becomes his sacred tree and a reminder of Daphne's eternal beauty.
I have been concentrating on the form of mirrors for over 3 years now and love the concept of interaction between the viewer and piece. I wanted to create a work that would entangle the viewer with the carving.
I spent a good amount of time at the Philadelphia Art Museum over the cold winter studying art in great depth, especially the frames around the art as well as older carved works from the masters. The original sketch for this piece was actually done in the museum around March. I turned my attentions away from more abstract/experimental works to concentrate on more pure natural mirrors creating delicate hand carved works that pushed my tools/wood to the limit.
I only use hand tools in my carvings which is the pace I like to work at. It allows for more thoughtful improvisation. A majority of this piece was carved at a beautiful park at 25th/spruce in Philadelphia. It is a super calm peaceful place to work. I generally try to only carve outside. The ability to use natural light to create as flawless of a look as possible is very important to my carvings.
The wood was from the same board used to create the lobster claw tap handles for the release of Dogfish Head Choc Lobster Stout.
After the board was glued up, I removed about 1 1/4" from the back of the leaves to have the wreath appear free floating. The piece started out with more leaves as I wasn't sure how much support/ strength I would need due to how delicate I wanted to make this piece. As a sculptor I always want to push the limits of my tools and wood. Nature is delicate and the eye recognizes this, my goal was to faithfully reproduce this on the mirror.
I carve on my lap which worked out great in this situation as I was able to support the delicate carving on my thigh until they became too flexible and was in fear of breaking as the piece. As the piece became more fragile I would support the portion I was working on with my left hand and carve with right hand
The back side of the wreath had to be carved as well to create a realistic look in the reflection of the mirror. By the end of creating this piece the work was so fragile that I had to support the carving in the left hand while carving with the right. It felt like I was carving a piece of paper in my hand.
Pfeil carving gouges
6mm 5 sweep fish tail
3mm,8mm,6mm fishtail ,16m straights
3 sweep 12 mm
5 sweep 5 mm