Wolf Head - Carved in Cottonwood Bark

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Project by Druid posted 1148 days ago 2766 views 4 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is another “first” for my carvings. I had never tried carving Cottonwood Bark, but had seen and admired many beautiful pieces that had been done by other carvers, so when one of our club members offered to do a workshop, I was in!!
The lady giving the workshop is a wonderful instructor, Found-Wood Artist Anna Bradley (Profiled in Carving Magazine, Issue 28), and she included not only the carving guidance, but also the colouring and dry-brush techniques.
Here’s my Wolf (it’s actually my wife’s Wolf now), but I must admit that there was another “carver” who worked on it before I got the piece of bark. As I was doing the rough-out stage, I came across the bore hole (photos 2 and 3) from an occupant that had left his mark. I could have filled in the hole, but decided to leave the insect’s carving as it was. Oddly enough, there was no evidence of the tunnel anywhere on the exterior, and the tunnel was empty. ??
I did find that the bark is easy to carve, but you MUST have well honed tools if you want to prevent tearout in this fibrous material. The chance of breakage from the existing checks was also an interesting point to deal with, so I left the tips of the ears attached to the overhang (photo 5) until all of the area behind the head was done, then I separated and finished the ears (photo 6). This was a really enjoyable workshop.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

25 comments so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7552 posts in 1544 days

#1 posted 1148 days ago

Wow! That is really beautiful!

:) Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View shipwright's profile


4896 posts in 1422 days

#2 posted 1148 days ago

Every day you learn something new is a good day John, and you have been having lots of them. Good for you and I know you’re enjoying every minute.

That’s a fine wolf that you and your little friend have created. Do you think it was his / her first as well ?

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View moment's profile


2116 posts in 1305 days

#3 posted 1148 days ago

That wolf is the sweetest looking wolf . She looks so happy.

I’m going to try your ’ Firsts ’ technique , because clearly it’s

proven to work well for you , Druid . Beautiful work . Now excuse me,

I’m going to round up a bar of soap and a steak knife and start practicing .

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 1537 days

#4 posted 1148 days ago

That is so beautiful! Great work!
I love it! Thanks for sharing it and for telling a great story with it.
I just added it to my favorites!

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View WayneC's profile


12260 posts in 2721 days

#5 posted 1148 days ago

Very nice. I’m a novice carver and this gives me something to think about. There are lots of cottonwood trees around here.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Dustmite97's profile


430 posts in 1844 days

#6 posted 1148 days ago

Truly amazing work!

View skips's profile


223 posts in 1185 days

#7 posted 1148 days ago

Very nice

-- skip I'm a maine maniac

View peteg's profile


2855 posts in 1447 days

#8 posted 1148 days ago

Wow I like this one John, thoese eyes are looking right at you. Great job :))

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Druid's profile


602 posts in 1419 days

#9 posted 1148 days ago

Thank you all for the kind comments.
WayneC – Try looking for the stumps of Cottonwood trees that have been cut. Most of the time, the bark is still there, and removing it will not do any further harm. Of course, you might have some LJ members contacting you for pieces . . . ;-)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View WayneC's profile


12260 posts in 2721 days

#10 posted 1148 days ago

I will have to make it one of my first items when I take a trip out (currently dealing with a broken leg). It is too bad I did not know about this sooner. About 3 years ago the guy across the street took a big cottonwood tree down.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jorge Velez's profile

Jorge Velez

340 posts in 1210 days

#11 posted 1148 days ago

this is a very nice work!

-- Jorge Velez, Guadalajara, Mexico.

View prompt's profile


304 posts in 1217 days

#12 posted 1148 days ago

Beautiful work.

-- Elhan, Azerbaijan

View Druid's profile


602 posts in 1419 days

#13 posted 1148 days ago

peteg – You just reminded me that I did miss a bit of information. To get the “wet” look for the eyes and the nose, I used a coat of clear nail polish over the final colours.
WayneC – Ok, that explains your comment about the wheelchair in one of your blogs. Hope that you’re all healed and back to normal real soon.
Jorge and prompt – Glad you like it. It was a lot of fun to learn about the Cottonwood carving.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 2151 days

#14 posted 1147 days ago


Love the chip marks and your subject matter. Kind of get tired of the old man thing…...Wild…........

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View newfie2's profile


11 posts in 1151 days

#15 posted 1147 days ago

wow that’s amazing

-- Todd

showing 1 through 15 of 25 comments

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