I was inspired by Alex Jones’(www.alexjones.co.uk) carvings of giant insects to attempt a carving of a wasp, albeit on a much smaller scale. Even so, my carving was to be ten times life size.
The legs and wings were always going to be the limiting factor as they needed to be realistic, strong and delicate. Until I had solved these problems there was no point in starting. One solution came when I discovered that you can get plywood just 0.08mm thick and I could cut the wings out with scissors! The veins were drawn in with a marker pen. I still haven’t got the hang of pyrography!
Next the legs.
I’d been scouring the woods, looking for twigs that were just the right shape for the legs of my wasp, but to no avail. Then I found a pile of yew trimmings in the churchyard. Not the right shape, but perhaps I could joint them. Not easy when you are working with a diameters of only 0.5cm! I drilled the ends of the pieces to be joined and used piano wire and epoxy glue to fix the joint. They looked OK and, in the end, they turned out to be remarkably robust. Getting all six feet to touch the ground was an issue but a simple jig gave access to the underside whilst keeping all the feet on the same plane.
The wasp’s head took three attempts! It took me some time to understand the structure and I made the mistake of concentrating too much on one side and, consequently, lost symmetry. It did, however, give me a chance to experiment with finishes and colour. I sealed the wood with Danish oil and used acrylic paint for the detail, finishing with a final coat of oil.
The antennas were fashioned from wire dipped in epoxy resin and the final assembly was quite straightforward.
This was a very satisfying project with plenty of problems to overcome and it certainly helped me get through lockdown.