Monthly Archives: October 2010

A story

There, to the south of Bengal, on the east coast, a miraculous thing happened when, according to legend, a log of wood was seen floating in the sea and a mythical king ordered a carpenter to make it into an image of God.  The carpenter stipulated that he be left working behind closed doors for twenty-one days. The king opened the door prematurely; the carpenter, who was God himself, vanished. Though the image remained incomplete, it was installed in the temple. The image of Jagannatha, Lord of the World – in his temple of the twelfth century in Puri, an imposing structure built in the Great Tradition and of lavish sophistication – is a log of wood Just that and nothing else. Large eyes are painted on it and arm stumps branch out.  (Binayak, Mishra “Folklore and Pauranic Tradition about the Origin of God Jagannatha” Indian Historical Quarterly XIII (1937) 600-609)


Defining features

Now, I’ll start refining the spiral line of the neck and shoulders a little higher, also defining where the notches for the arms and legs and face will appear.

Sketching up on the end grain to stimate the location and depths of the notches which will denote the legs and face.

With caution, I commit to sawing the depth of the notches – again with the handsaw. More controllable. This will give me maximum depth when I later apply the chain disk tool to remove most of the excess wood.

Now I can  take it outside and start power grinding on it, relying on the saw cuts to be my guide limits, ending up with a much finer contour around the neck and shoulders, and the beginnings of some definition to the arms and legs. It’s starting to look not like a log, but like a sculpture. A lot of the rest of the work from will be to refine the shape of the arms and legs by removing more material.