This tiny craft comes to us from Steve, an artist of 15 years who has recently moved to Germany from the midwest. He carves miniature animals from wood, paints them in a fun and colorful way, and poses them in photos that shows off their playful side!
I moved to Germany last year.
I have always worked in miniature.
I wrote a book on how to carve this year called "Tiny Whittling."
I enjoy making stop motion animations with my carvings.
I like fishing, travel, camping and snorkeling.
What got you started crafting?
As a child I dabbled in many art forms. I grew up the youngest of seven kids most of whom were engaged in crafts of one sort or another. My dad built a workshop in our basement filled with all sorts of tools. He painted both acrylics and watercolors, built furniture and carved decoys and still makes stainless steel sculpture in his retirement. I always looked at my eldest brother as "the artist" so while I was always creative I didn't think much of it. It was nothing out of the ordinary in our household.
What is your source of inspiration?
Many of my carvings have stories behind them. There is the purple frog formerly known as prince and an airstream pulled by a bison: my fanciful dream. Many on them come from interactions with others; pulled from the mystery of meeting someone for the first time and finding a cherished bond there.
What have you made recently?
I just got done with a panther chameleon; a commission from someone I've never met on the other side of the world. They wanted it small so I cut out a piece of boxwood no more than 1 inch long. I looked on the internet for multiple pictures and did a couple drawings in my drawing book then went to work with a tiny knife. Four hours later the carving was done and sanded. I painted tiny dots on it representing the intricate color pattern of the scales with a very tiny brush while wearing a magnification loupe. In all the carving took about 10 hours. Everything I make is recognizable as my style--a cartoonish naturalism that I've been refining for many years of daily practice. While I have made many species over (raccoons for instance) this is the first panther chameleon I've made.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I've been in outdoor art fairs in the midwest US for the past 15 years. I've also sold through a few galleries and gift shops where I continue to show my work. I've sold my work on ebay and from my website. Now I split my time between shows in Germany and the US. I've been surviving solely from money I earn as an artist for over 15 years now.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
I try to make my carvings with as rudimentary tools as are available. I avoid using power tools or labor saving devices when I can. The reason is that though these devices may be more efficient, they remove me one more step from the actual carving. If I'd use a grinder, for instance, the electric power and not the strength of my hand would be removing the material. If I want to go this far I might as well go further; there are robots today that could do all the work--I'd just have to punch in the coordinates. In this way I am a purist for my craft. I like carving. I like the connection that happens between my brain, the wood, the knife and my hand. It is for the advancement of the skill and the furtherance of my vision for it that I continue.
Based in Germany, Summer in Minnesota.