Mountain Man with Raven
Fireplace mantle and pierced cherry relief of hiking mountain man and raven. In 1991 I was asked to make a wall piece for the chimney wall in this Linville, NC home. My first impression when seeing the beautiful stone work was that sure didn’t want to cover it up. I gazed at it for a while and began to see an appropriate picture in the stone work. I made a full sized rubbing of the wall to map the grout lines in the masonry. Back in the studio, I overlaid it with a grid and reduced it to an 8.5″ x 14″ piece of paper on which I could do my design. After approval, I scoured the woods and fields along the mountain roads near our home in the Banner Elk, NC area and found a standing dead cherry tree. I cut it up preserving the forked branches. With a homemade chainsaw lumbering jig, I cut it into forked boards and had them planed and kiln dried.
I drew the design on the original rubbing, marked the joints and cut out patterns which were glued to the forked boards and cut out with a jigsaw. The joints were mitered and spline grooves cut. Parts were then clamped end to end, drilled and pegged to lock the splines in place. All the edges were then sanded to a refined shape and oiled before fastening to the masonry. This was the project that inspired the first version of my Sawing Curved Logs.
Mountain Man with Raven
I met Jeff at Art in the Park in Blowing Rock. He had an impressive portfolio, and as I'd recently built a new home in Linville, I asked him to design a wall sculpture for the tall stone fireplace. He came by the house, and after discussing themes and commenting on the beautiful masonry job, he came up with a design that complimented the stone work rather than hiding it. It is a beautiful piece and was a special part of the house. I enjoyed it for many years, and now, 20 plus years later, the family that currently owns the house comments on it often.John Blackburn
Copyright 2015 Jeffrey H. Dean and Ranja van de Werken Dean
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