WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Emotions In Wood

Emotions In Wood
by Ann Brouwers

Linden Publishing: 2007
Paperback, 128 pp., $21.95
ISBN 978-193350216-8

     Ms. Brouwers is excellent at teaching new carvers how to think through a process, from a pencil drawing to the roughing out, and from the overall balance of a figure, to minute attention to detail. She discusses wood selection and the sharpening of gouges, hand positions when cutting, and the anatomy of a face. Her samples of emotion are all carved on spheres by cutting a square-post base below the head form, and clamping the whole unit in a bench vise. If the base is squared, the workpiece can be turned often for easier access to carved features.
     The author begins with a loud, laughing face, and works through photos and text in a step by step process of wood removal to bring personality to an eight-inch sphere of hardwood. She discusses sanding and final detailing. She then shows how to photograph a model and work up a drawing for a sad face, step by step. Then she moves on to a soft smile, and finally a gallery of faces with varying emotions. A final chapter is an essay on creativity and design, with a few exercises in using one's imagination.
     These sample faces would be a good lesson in approaching realism with the carved human form. Adding emotion to a woodcarving could lift it from banality and give it true character. The book is an interesting study.

. . . Barb Siddiqui