When Christiane came over to visit me this week I told her she could have a fan bird like the one’s I’ve been showing her via skype. The only catch was that she had to make it herself. Christiane’s made a few spoons and she’s got good knife skills so I knew that a fan bird would be no trouble for her and we’d enjoy making them together. It’s good for me to see how Christiane manages with the techniques and the best way to show and teach them. It’s a good way to refine my own skills in preparation for teaching a fan bird carving course next year.
First off, we prepared the blank from a small larch log. I use the wood green and find I don’t need to boil it as some makers do. You can see one of our other finished fan birds in the photo.
The feathers and hinge are carved using simple knives, chisels and gouges.
Then the feathers are split out to approximately 1mm thick. This is a time to concentrate but with the right technique it’s surprisingly easy.
We used a Frost knife to carve a body and head then it’s just a matter of carefully open out and interlock the feathers to make the wings and tail. During this process, I showed Christiane how to weave in a thread to hang the finished fan bird.
And I made one too.