The Dragestil wood carving that I featured in my previous blog post was started in November of 2015 and I worked on it over time between other carving projects, completing it at the end of July this year. I like to keep a visual record of the process while working on a carving, posting pictures to my NWD Facebook and Instagram accounts, but the pace of this project resulted in pictures being spread out over the course of many months. I gathered the best of the images together in the gallery/slideshow below to provide a cohesive representation of the process of creating this carving.
As with most of my carvings, the idea for this design came from an historical source. I am fascinated by the Norwegian Stave church woodcarvings, as well as the idea that the elaborately carved portals in these churches provide a liminal space – dividing the outside world of daily life from the interior world of spiritual life. The symbols and themes of these church carvings are interestingly and undeniably pagan, and include warriors fighting dragons, stylized serpents and beasts, all wrapped in and around the swirling tendrils of plant life.
I began my design by looking at a plant motif from one of the Borgund Stave Church portals, and adapting it from plant to beast – transforming the spirals with the addition of stylized dragon heads. I designed this carving to accent a fireplace mantel – to guard the hearth and add a sense of warmth and protection to the home. You can follow the carving process from beginning design to final finished carving in the photographs gathered below.