H is for Hawk by Bruce Edmundson
This carving is an homage to the book, “H is for Hawk”, and a thank you, if you will, to the author for writing such an exquisite memorial to her father, and a demonstration, through her voyage while training her hawk, of her love and respect for the natural world, something I hope I have mined and mimicked through this carving.
I love to read, and while I use to focus on fiction, non-fiction is now my primary subject. I get my reading material through “Best of…” compilations on various web sites. The Booker Prize and the Giller Prize long lists are great sources, and a whole variety of web sites put out annual “Best of “lists. As the piece evolved, I slowly began to understand that it was taking on the image of a bird. This happened in two ways, at first the head and beak began to take their form, and then the body evolved. Once I began seeing it as a bird, I then began to see it as a bird of prey and it became a hawk. It was synchronicity that at the same time I found “H is for Hawk”, which no doubt will be on numerous 2016 “best of” lists.
The piece was challenging due to the original burl (see my other pieces for more detailed descriptions of burls) being more platter than ball shaped, thus it didn’t have the same amount of options. So once I had pressure washed the bark off, I realized how thin it was, with several “holes” where the bark went completely though the piece, each gap creating a sculptural challenge. The holes are both weak spots and opportunities as they provide visual interest and give the piece depth and nuance.
For the finishing, I used Tung oil, knowing it would to a small degree darken or brown the grain in a manner that would mimic the brown of a hawk. I hope you can the beak and the talons, and especially if you’ve read this wonderful book, I hope this piece speaks to you about the beauty of nature.