After seeing a TV programme about bats I was so taken with the creature that I decided that it would form the subject of my next carving. Clearly a bat hanging upside down on a cave wall would not fit the bill. It had to be in flight and I considered a relief carving but then I remembered a wonderful carving of a sea eagle by Mick Stidever. His eagle was supported on a circular wall plaque in a contrasting wood. He has published three volumes of his “Diary of a Woodcarver” (Available on Amazon).
My carving bears no comparison with his but it did give me a way forward. A Fellow carver and fantastic wood turner, Pat Flynn, turned the plaque in sycamore and a matching insert in walnut from which to carve the tree. He also drilled the hole that would take the moon. I was very fortunate in the figuring of the sycamore which suited the subject extremely well.
Another piece of walnut, from which to carve the bat, was then shaped to fit the plaque.
I couldn’t find any wood light enough for the moon but then had the idea of using mother of pearl.
This was shaped to fit the hole and glued in.
Now I could roughly cut out the shape of the tree and glue it to the plaque. The “bat” was glued to a holding piece and I could begin carving.
Carving the tree was quite tricky. I wanted a delicate effect but any slip near the edge could remove a branch or damage the background. Also the PVA glue did not stick to the mother of pearl.
After many close calls I managed a reasonable result and added a piece of birch to indicate the foreground.
The bat was quite a challenge. The wings are very delicate in life but can be quite chunky in the carving, provided that the edges are thin and you can only see one surface at a time. Eventually the bat was finished and could be glued to the plaque.
All that was left was to carve the moth from box wood.
This was the only part of the carving with which I received no help from my teacher, Mike Painter.
When I pointed this out to him his response was short and to the point.
“I thought it was a duck!”
On reflection I am a little disappointed with this carving. Most of the detail is on the underside of the bat and is only seen when viewed from below.