Monday, November 2, 2009

Manly Soap Review

I've posted up the first installment of my Etsy Manly Soap Review on my other blog:

Why is it on the other blog???

Because the other blog get's more smelly readers, and this info is probably more applicable to them than it is to my Mom, who is likely responsible for half of the views this blog has gotten so far.... :D It keeps this blog about the carving, and frankly, it doesn't matter what I smell like when I'm carving. The other blog is all about everything else in my life.

What is the "Manly Soap Review"???

I ordered a bunch of different soaps from different vendors on Etsy, after researching the available options to the best of my ability. I specifically looked, and asked, for Manly scents and strengths, because I tend to have strong, manly smells to do battle with. I'll be posting only reviews of the specific soaps I like, and only positive reviews. I'm not here to slam anyone on something they put their heart into. So if I find one I don't like, you'll hear nothing of it.

What is "manly Soap"???

In my own personal, highly subjective definition: A strong soap that get's the stink and dirt off and replaces it with a manly scent. Duh. I went with mostly 'woodsy' type scents, plus a few others. I really have very little experience with colognes or designer 'odors', so I'm fairly new to this whole game. A dirty slate waiting to be cleaned.

Again, the First installment is here:, and I'll post a notification of future installments here on this blog.

Thanks, -Sean

New Carving and some Fresh Photos

I've uploaded new photos for Willy and Huck to my etsy. They're previous photo(s) were decidedly lacking in depth and information. The new pics can be seen by clicking on the photos below:

I've also uploaded a brand new, just finished today carving called Scarcrow. Relax, Mom, it's not as creepy as it sounds. Scarcrow is a somewhat cute little birdhead carved out of cottonwood bark. I like to leave some of the original surface of the bark intact, to add texture and retain some of the chunk of bark's original character.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Sale comes to an end.

Back to business as usual. Expect more carvings in the shop this week. I spent most of last week working on some custom orders. Yesterday was spent on a fantastic bike ride in Hatcher Pass, photos of which can be seen on my other blog here:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enchanted Woods

I've been featured in a TREASURY on Etsy!!! Woot. Check out the Enchanted Woods treasury here:

My Santa Wood Spirit driftwood carving is among the twelve selected.

Loads of talented Etsians in there, I'm quite honored to be in such company. Treasuries are a venue for Etsy members to select several products within a certain theme, out of the hundreds of thousands of products on Etsy, that they really love and show them off to everyone.

The treasury was created by Snippetfairy, who has some really cool stuff in her shop,
like this little felted monster:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hallowee SALE!!

Zombies, Skulls and Monsters have been drastically reduced in price! $9 alone and as low as $4 with automatic combined discounts...§ion_id=6521233

Included are the ENTIRE zombie family, all priced at either $9, $10 or $11, os $4, $5 and $6 when purchased with ANY other carving.

Free Shipping as always.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alex Jones

I have a set of links over there -> to the websites of artists/woodcarvers I admire. I'll be gone for the next few days, so, while you're all holding your breath awaiting my return(....), you should check 'em out. They're REEEEAAALLLY good.

This is a new one I just put over there tonight. I am kinda disappointed that I haven't seen or heard of his work before I got about 10 pages back through the archives of a blog about Octopuses this evening....

Here's his link:

I'm sitting here completely blown away by his work, just as I was when I initially saw the work of the other artists over there. ->

Cailleach na SiĆ³g

That's the title of my new Burl carving. "Cailleach na Siog" means "Old woman of the fairy mounds". A Banshee(bean si). Ancient and wise, foreseers of, among other things, death. Superstitious people in Ireland would dread the mourning wail of the Bean Si, for it foretold the death of someone nearby. This one's not wailing though, so don't worry. :D The Bean Si wail only happened to be one of the more popularized myths surrounding the Si, or 'fairies'. Their lore spans the realms of emotions and intuitions.

"Sympathy for the Devil"

Received a nice message this morning, informing me that my carving Red Devil has been featured in a spotlight at


Monday, October 19, 2009

Re-Supply day

Spent the majority of the day today down on the gravel bars of the Matanuska river looking for burls and interesting driftwood to carve. Most of my driftwood over the years has come from the sea. The Bering Sea and the Sea of Cortez/Gulfo de California, specifically. Turns out powerful glacial rivers have a very similar effect on wood to oceans. Main difference is that salt has been exchanged for silt.

Most of what I found was rotted out too much to make it worth carving. There weren't any big, solid burls like I was hoping either. But there were alot of great root burl shapes and assorted other interesting pieces of wood that should give me some interesting 'canvases' to work on.

The views weren't bad...

Beaver carving:

My tool for the day with the first piece of root burl I cut.

The first load.

The final cut.

Not a bad 'day at the office', eh?

Monster Etsy!

I'm now a member of the Monster Etsy Team! Check out the team profile at:

The Team blog: trying to figure out how I post to that blog. It's not shoing up on my dashboard yet.

Lots of cool stuff to be had from all the other team members.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hurl, step by step

Here's a quick trip through the creation of a carving.

For this piece, we're starting with a piece of black spruce burl that i collected on the shore of the Bering Sea this summer. Once I actually decided to carve it, the first step was to trim off the two protruding branch ends with a hand saw. Then it was hand shaved with rasps into a workable shape, removing nearly all of the weathered, grey exterior.


After that, I started cutting into it with my gouges in what felt like the right place to start. I almost never plan out my carvings, I just start cutting into the wood and try to help whatever wants to emerge do so. Before long, I had the basic shape of some kind of face.


Then it was a matter of refining and adding a little detail. This burl has grain running in 15 different directions, sometimes in the same place...


Refine further, file, sand; repeat.


Add Danish Oil, let it soak in.


Last but not least, put it out there for everyone to see and hope they like it.

I've gotten some feedback that it's difficult to make out the shape in the photos on Etsy, can anyone back that up or add any input? please?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bog Wolf

A brand new carving.

description from Etsy:

A monster, a mythical beast, part wolf, part crocodile. From the swamps and bogs of Alaska rises this regal creature, ready to protect you and your home from evil spirits, nosy neighbors, pushy salesmen and whatever else you would rather be rid of. Hand carved out of Alaskan cottonwood bark by me with three coats of acrylic lacquer to keep his hide tough.

Hanging dimensions:

H: @ 4 " High
W: @ 8 " Wide
T: @ 2 " Thick

Mount him by the door, inside or out, to help ward off unwanted company and keep you safe. He would also be equally at home in a living room, den, bedroom, kitchen or office.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghastly family photo and something different.

I finished and uploaded to Etsy the last of the mini zombie/skulls I'll be doing for a little while. They're really fun to make, and I certainly intend to make more. Might also branch out into other subjects as well. Here's their 'family photo' on the kitchen counter.


They've been hanging out with all the Halloween decorations on the breakfast bar for the past few days. It's kinda nice being able to offer something in the <$15 price range. They range in size from smaller than to about as big as, my thumb.

Also, last night, among other things, I started cutting into a chunk of bark with the intention of carving a little outhouse... Cottonwood bark is a really finicky material to work with. You only have a certain amount of say in what you're going to carve out of it and the shape, and arrangement, there of. This very unfinished piece is a prime example of how you can have every intention making one thing and end up with something very completely different.

The face needs a drastic make-over. Eyes are too close together and the face overall is too long for it's width. I'm tentatively calling it 'The Secret of Creation', depicting the Raven, revered by western Eskimo cultures as creator and trickster, sharing the secret of creation with Woman. It's a small carving, about the size of my hand.

As i said, nowhere near finished...
secret of creation1

Monday, October 12, 2009

Long weekend with no updates...

Sorry 'bout that folks. Didn't go anywhere terribly exciting, but I did get quite a bit done, as you've surely noticed if you follow my Etsy shop.

I had been racking my brain lately trying to come up with something I could offer for a much lower price than what I had on offer up until this weekend. It would have to be something I could carve relatively quickly. Filing and sanding would be out of the question. It would have to be smaller than my less inexpensive carvings. It would have to be something i could do over and over again, yet still be unique and different every time. Up until Friday, the lowest full price carving I was offering was $45. I was getting lot's of compliments on them, but $50 - $100 + is understandably a big leap of faith on the customers part.

With Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos/Samhain approaching, I've had monsters and skeletons and zombies on my mind as of late. So, naturally, my solution to my pricing dilemma currently comes in the form of..... Monsters, Skulls and Zombies. Little ones to be more specific.

Here's a quick preview of the little creepies that have been sneaking and creeping around my shop the past few days. they can be seen in much more detail here:

Photos will link to my flickr account, via the rules. Click on the description below to go to the items Etsy page.

Pretty Pink, a cute little, freckle faced, one horned, smiling monster for only $25

A Dia De Los Muertes skull for only $25


A horde of tiny skulls, a ghost and a zombie, priced $12 - $15.




Nobody seems to love Spinky the Shocklops as much as I do....

And just to make my Mom happy, I finished and uploaded another Santa.

I appreciate any and all feedback on these and any of my carvings. Good is great, but I would especially like to hear some honest constructive and even negative criticism beyond my wonderful Mother telling me I should stop this nonsense and only carve Santas... If you don't tell me what you want to see, it'll take me a lot longer to figure it out through trial and error.

Oh but that's not all! I know, you were really hoping this was over, but bear with me...

My painted carving Huck got a little recognition this weekend when he was selected as a Moderators Choice on the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Art website Elfwood. It's nice to get some recognition on that piece considering how much time went into the carving and especially the painting of him.

ok, you're free to go!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An Interview.

I received a message today on Etsy asking for an little interview and offering the opportunity to be featured on the new Etsy Loud and Wacky Street Team blog. I was surprised and honored that they chose to premiere their blog with a feature on me. I have had no previous contact with the blog team, and it appears they found me serendipitously among the tens of thousands of sellers on Etsy and liked my stuff. Thanks LAWST and Susan, who contacted me about doing the interview.

Susan makes some pretty cool jewelry made from, among other items, guitar picks. check her shop out.

I've got a couple of items with fresh coats of lacquer drying in the garage right now, and a freshly painted Santa sitting right next to me. I'll get photo updates together tomorrow. Expect some functional carvings to be showing up here and on my Etsy soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Shocklops and a mini.

Spent part of the morning stippling the hell out of this creature, which I'm calling Spinky the Shocklops. I originally intended to do a few swirls and highlights via pointillism, ended up with about a dozen layers of a dozen colors over the entire carved portion. Some progress photos of the process can be seen on my flickr account. This will go onto my ETSY account once it's been sealed and finished and prepped for hanging.

I've been trying to figure out ways to provide low price mini carvings as a way to get 'em out there to people who can't necessarily justify spending $50 - $100+ on one. So last night I went through some of the thumb sized scraps i have from a piece i'm currently working on, and quick knocked out a little mini ghost skull(halloween is approaching). It'll probably get a hole through the top, a piece of hemp twine, and run in the $5 range. I'll be doing more here and there, and different themes. Some will end up on ETSY, others will go with me to festivals and fairs.


Monday, October 5, 2009

monster, unnamed


Alaskan cottonwood bark. Entirely hand carved, hand sanded and hand painted. Finished with a coat of polycrylic before and after painting.


H: @ 11" high
W: @ 4" wide
T: @ 3" thick

Available at


I put a pre-paint, post-carve photo of this guy up here a few days ago, scroll down to see it. Still in need of a few finishing touches, but no major appearance changes. It'll be on by midnight Alaska time tonight.


photos from the weekend

Vendors setting up. I was on the upper lever, in the SE corner. Lot's of traffic, but next year I think I want to be on the main floor.


One of my table-mates, Aggie from Chevak Village.


My initial table setups. As bare bones and basic as it gets when I put it together during pre-setup. On opening day I managed to bring a small shelf with me to spread them out and add some depth. I sold nothing on the first day.



Erin scrambled that night and the next morning to get me some signs and business cards printed. By the third day i had signs everywhere. Throughout the show I experimented with arrangement of the carvings to see how people reacted. This was the final setup before take down, but doesn't represent any mathematical arrangement of the pieces. In general, I found that aside from visibility issues with certain shapes, it didn't matter what order they were in.

(yes, those are sale signs i have blacked out. no, i'm not telling you what they said...)

Make It Alaskan aftermath...

On Wednesday, a friend of mine mentioned an add he saw on craigslist looking for someone to share a tablespace at the Make It Alaskan festival at the Egan Center in Anchorage. I had never set up at a festival before, but figured why not? I corresponded with the person in questions, and we ended up as three seperate people in a single "booth space", which was essentially a table agains a wall. I had very little prep time, and it showed in my display. I made lots of mistakes, as one should their first time out, and a few sales. Nearly everyone who stopped by complimented the work, so while it wasn't necessarilly a succesful show as far as my wallet is concerned, it was in regards to my ego/confidence in the quality of my work. I'll certainly be setting up at other shows, better prepared, with a larger variety of work and a bit more experience. For future shows i'll likely be having prints of some of my photography and drawings for sale, as well as some smaller, simpler carvings to satisfy those who can't justify spending more than $50 on a carving. The show was definitely worthwhile for, if nothing else, a market research experiment.

I've also begun the move of my carvings for sale to with appropriately adjusted pricing. I recommend checking out etsy if not just for my carvings, but for all of the other hand made items available from other artists and craftspeople there.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Make It Alaskan!

Via very last minute invitation, I will be sharing booth space at the Make It Alaskan Festival at the Sullivan arena in downtown Anchorage this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All of my carvings currently available will be on display, as well as thousands of handmade goods from other Alaskan artists and craftspeople, so head on over, stop by and say hello! I'll be in location M-4, which isn't on the map, but is right next to S-6. Maps can be found on the website below. Cruise the perimiter, you'll find me.

*Bring a printout of this post and i'll give you 10% off web pricing on any carving I have on display.

Thanks! -sean

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a reminder.

There wont be many updates on this blog this week, as I'm carving some custom pieces that wont be documented publicly.

I've recieved quite a bit of interest in the currently available carvings as Christmas gifts, and just wanted to make sure people understand that these are all one of a kind, hand carved pieces. If you see one that you like below, and someone else buys it before you do, then 'POOF' it's gone, and there wont be another one just like it, ever. There may be others in a similar style or genre, but never the same. If you can't afford one right now, or don't want it sitting around the house for three months before Christmas arrives, email me about layaway or holding the carving with a deposit.

a carving in progress from yesterday. this one will be getting painted.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


click on image for more and larger photos. you will be taken to my flickr account.

Bering Sea driftwood root, possibly black spruce. Aside from the hole for the twine, from the face up was entirely formed and shaped by earth, wind and water. Otherwise entirely hand carved, hand sanded and finished with Danish Oil. Hangs via hemp twine. For decorative purposes only.

H = @ 9 1/4" high
T = @ 1 1/2" thick

SOLD!! at the Make It Alaskan Festival

email for more info or to purchase:


IMG_2533_edited-1click on image for a larger photo. you will be taken to my flickr account.

Alaskan cottonwood bark. Hanging. Entirely hand carved, hand sanded and painted with acrylic. Finished with a coat of polycrylic.

H = @ 14" high
W = @ 2" wide
T = @ 1 1/2" thick

SOLD!!! Make It Alaskan Festival

email for more info or to purchase:


click on image for a larger photo. you will be taken to my flickr account.

Alaskan cottonwood bark. Hanging. Entirely hand carved, hand sanded and painted with acrylic. Finished with a coat of polycrylic.

H = @ 9 1/4" high
W = @ 4" wide
T = @ 2" thick

available at

email for more info or to purchase: