Finding the form – Lilly Pilly

Another lucky accident. There are lots of different sorts of lilly pilly ranging from small flowering shrubs to large fast growing trees. Some of these are good to carve. We had to get the tree loppers to trim some large ones at the bottom of our garden as their shade was making it difficult to grow anything else down there. One of the logs had bark that looked a bit reptilian, a sinuous curve,  and a couple of branches that would do as the legs ended up as a crocodile, – maybe one that had been in a fight to account for the low leg count. A couple of v-groves with small glass beads gave him a beady pair of eyes.

I carved this one from green wood which was easy –  some lilly pillies, including this one dry out to be very hard and unnpleasant to carve. I learned an important lesson however that is  well-known to experienced carvers and turners – greenwood shrinks and usually cracks as it dries. The way around this is to either do a rough over-size first cut and then let it dry and shrink before the final shaping,  and/or keep the piece covered in plastic between carving sessions. Fortunately the cracks on this piece were not too catastrophic

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