Solo A simple relief

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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A simple relief

Postby Ruth Wavedancer on January 5th, 2019, 1:05 pm

Image

11th Winter 518 A.V

It was very late, probably. Krill had gone to bed some time ago, but he always tended to rise and fall with the sun. The Lhavit timekeeping system played havoc on both their schedules, but in Ruth's case she had never paid much attention to the comings and goings of others, or based her waking hours by that. Especially when she had a project to do.

She had been to see Tain's Studio the week before, and had a pleasant time being shown round and meeting Tain. He had warned her that commissions suitable for her didn't arrive often, but promised to have one by the end of the season, and so he did. It was a fairly simple piece, a wood carving of a bear in front of a mountainous forest. She had discussed it briefly with Tain when he had told her about it earlier that day, and they had agreed that a simple scene relief was the most appropriate design.

"Bring a design in tomorrow and you're welcome to use the tools we have here - although materials will cost you," he had said, and before leaving she had availed herself of ink and paper. The rest of the day had passed in a blur, and she had retired early, her mind to wrapped up with the coming project to pay attention to anything else.

So far, a dozen design ideas lay scrapped in front of her. The first step to any carvery project was figuring out what exactly she wanted to carve, and knowing that there would be a bear in the foreground and mountains in the back didn't stop her from having a thousand options. On some of the paper she had gone into great detail, drawing bears as realistic as she could as practice, fumbling over countless re-imaginings of what a bear's face looked like, until she got one resembling a semi-accurate account. Others were more vague - quick triangles for the mountains, a number of rough shapes for the beast.

On her next, she simply drew a large circle and labelled it 'bear', then drew a larger rectangle around it to show the size of the wood. She squinted suspiciously; already it didn't seem right. The sizing proportions were wrong, perhaps, but that should only really come to light when she added the background. She drew in a few thick lines under ovals to show the trees, then the rough triangles of the mountainous background.

And she examined it. It wasn't right. She had reduced the amount of trees before until she felt they emphasised the bear instead of undermining it. The mountains were likewise kept minimal - designed to offer the bear a specific aesthetic, instead of overshadowing it. But it still seemed wrong, cramped. She picked up another page and drew again, this time moving the trees to the background, so the bear was standing in a field with a forest and mountains in the distance behind.

Ruth liked it more immediately. It was more open, the bear given more presence. She could make it larger too, balanced out by larger mountains...and that was going to be a little trickier, to get the perspective right. Large bear in the foreground, trees at the base of huge mountains making up the background. She drew it again, and the bear was oddly large compared to the mountains. Again, and the trees were too small. Then abnormally long. She reduced them to something smaller, a hint of a blur against the mountains, then in her next attempt made them more distinct and sparsely populated.

She tried again, drawing them just on the sides, and immediately liked the effect better. The rough shape of the leaves above the bear’s body had given it an odd look, and it would be even more difficult to make them distinct and separate in her medium of choice without the use of paint or some other colourant.
She turned that piece of paper over and slip it into sections, writing what should appear in each carefully as she went. Conscious that she was down to her last piece, she took a few moments to map out in her mind exactly what she wanted to draw, and did so.

Dawn was breaking by the time she had finished, but it didn’t matter because she had completed the first stage of her project.

Now I just have to make the thing, she thought with an excited thrill, already looking forwards to the rest of the process.
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Ruth Wavedancer
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A simple relief

Postby Ruth Wavedancer on January 8th, 2019, 11:46 am

Her plans to work were delayed a little by Krill's rising. At dawn, as usual she thought with fond amusement, just as he looked at her work with the affectionate exasperation of a man used to his wife's ways.

"Were you up the whole night?" he asked, but his tone made it clear he already knew the answer. She accepted his morning kiss, and returned it, then watched him strip, change and leave in quick succession, likely for a jog or swim depending on his mood and the weather. Ruth turned back to the drawing and scanned it one last time before nodding in satisfaction - it was more than adequate. She rolled it up and tucked it and the leftover ink neatly into her bag. She slipped her coat on over clothes, safe in the knowledge that as long as she wore it nobody would likely notice she hadn't changed since the day before, and spent a quick moment letting her hair loose then twisting it back up into a tighter bun: it was all very well having springy loose strands when she was drawing, when she was working less so. Everyone had heard the horror stories of hair getting in someone's eyes and saws getting in someone's fingers.

Once correctly dressed she headed back out, retracing her steps from the day before to reach first Zintia's Peak, and then, near its edge, the now-familiar Tain's Studio. It was quiet, likely due to the hour, but the door was open as it always was, and she had spoken to Tain before enough to be comfortable knowing what she was doing without needing a second tour.

One wooden block should do, given their size. Ruth collected one and arranged a work bench at the back of the crafting room with all the tools she would need laid down neatly before her before she started. She secured the block to the bench and measured it out, drawing a thick ink line where she needed to cut, then went through her usual safety behaviours, drilled into her from her old Vantha mentor so many years ago.

Hair: tied back. Hands: protected by heavy, grippy gloves. Wood: not even wiggling in the clamp. Clothes: not loose or wispy or in the way - her coat was folded over a chair, tucked under another part of the table. The saw moved swiftly through the wood - the blade clearly well cared for, or perhaps just under-used. It made quick work off that side, and she put the saw down, unclamped the block and turned it on its side so she could cut it too.

Measuring, again. Drawing the black line, again. Safety check, again. Hair, hands, wood, clothes. Her motions were as easy as before, and it didn't take long before she had a piece of wood the correct size in front of her. Ruth put the saw down carefully and unclamped the wood again. She dusted it and checked it against her measurements, it was just a little shy of the black line on each side, just as she'd planned.

Sanding the edges was, technically, the next step, but Ruth put that off momentarily. As eager as she was to get started properly, there were other tasks that came first to ensure she didn't make an awful mistake and have to start again. She put the wooden block back down face up and placed the piece of paper next to it. The paper was not the tracing sort she had used back home - she hadn't been sure where to get it, so it was with great care that she drew in pencil the image she had designed.

She made a mistake. She rubbed it out and tried again. The bear's head was too large - she rubbed it out and did it again. She wasn't happy with the trees - she did it again. The repetitiveness was soothing instead of frustrating as she waited patiently for reality to take the shape her mind's eye had already created. When it was done she methodically sanded down each side of the piece of wood, until it was smooth and straight, each corner sharply pointed and the bear perfectly centred in the piece.

With that done, Ruth cleaned her station. The saw was wiped of wood shavings and put back where it belonged, the dust scraped up and put with the other waste, and the spare pieces of wood she had cut off went into her bag - there wasn't much, but no woodcarver worth their salt wasted what could be later used. Her old mentor had ruled that any 'useless' piece of wood be given to her first, then bring it back at some point over the next few days as a masterpiece.

Ruth picked up her pencil and turned the wood on its side. She marked out the different levels for the relief in vertical lines down the wood's thickness, then numbered the parts of the picture accordingly. The bear would be the forefront, so it would be left as it was for this step, while the sky behind the mountains was to be taken back the most, with the mountains in between the two. Three levels, then - fairly straight forward. When done successfully, the bear would have a three dimensional appearance, standing out figuratively as well as literally from the piece.
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Ruth Wavedancer
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Posts: 12
Words: 6083
Joined roleplay: December 28th, 2018, 9:35 am
Race: Human, Mixed
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