by Chris Pye
A few years ago I saw a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that featured the work of the 15th century carver Tilman Riemenschneider. I was staggered by the artistry and expressiveness of his limewood statues, which had soulful eyes and fluid clothing. Such graceful work could only come from a master carver. Riemenschneider is one of two woodcarvers highlighted in Chris Pye’s Elements of Wood Carving; the other is Gino Mastero, a friend and teacher of Pye’s who died in 1995. Readers who are familiar with Pye’s works know that he is very thorough in his approach, and this book is no exception. The ten carving projects featured are shown from the initial idea to the finished work. Along the way, Pye shows how the three key elements of woodcarving - design, material and technique- are intimately related, and addresses the concerns that his students have raised over the years: how to cut cleanly, where to get ideas, preparatory steps to carving, etc. The chance to see Pye’s own work (my favorite is the sycamore shirt on a hanger) is an added treat. 8" x 10 ". Color photographs, sketches. Soft cover.