“My latest challenge? Carving hairy armpits,” Royston relief woodcarver Jim Atkin says with a twinkle in his eye.
A quick glance at the working drawing for his next piece confirms the truth. Several shirtless hairy hobbity leprechauns dancing gleefully require some super fine detailing to bring them to life.
Working from a solid block of laminated hardwood, Atkin carves incredibly detailed three-dimensional scenes of nature and whimsy.
The depth of the carving, the detail, and the fact none of it is fabricated and then glued on make this high relief woodworking amazing.
The public will get a rare chance to see it and meet the artist on July 9 and 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Filberg Lodge in Comox.
Atkin, who worked in the far north, was recovering from a series of operations, and going a bit stir-crazy from inactivity when his son suggested carving. He tried, and found not only did it take his mind off the surgeries and being laid up, but it was something he could do, and do well.
He’s entered and won a number of carving contests – first prize at the Brant Wildlife Festival – but his main motivation is to constantly raise the bar, to try something more challenging.
After a career in the high Arctic, a visit to what Jim describes as ‘Utopia’ led to Royston, where Jim and his wife Mardy escaped the ice and snow and now reside. Atkin has a woodworking shop where the raw wood is planed and laminated to form the basic carving blocks. Inside the house, the layout and detailed carving of the art takes place in a tidy studio overlooking Comox harbour.
The show will feature approximately 15 pieces ranging in size from 11×14” up to 20×36”. This is Atkins first solo show, and he will display some work in progress so people can see how a piece moves from concept to completion. Admission is free. For more information about the artist, visit http://www.jamesatkincarving.com