Article: Jacques Vesery Demonstrates For CMW, October 17, 2015

November 07, 2015 10:33, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Ross Lynch, Photos by Tina Collison)

Jacques Vesery Demonstrates for CMW, October 17, 2015


Jacques Vesery comes to us from Maine to share his artistic vision and over 25 years of artistic expression. He is this year’s recipient of the AAW POP Merit Award (see attached file) and is well known for his use of texture, carving, and colorization of wood. Visit Vesery’s website for more detailed information.

Morning Session:

The morning session started on the lathe with a demonstration of the importance of FORM. Jacques prefers to work with cherry and showed that you can use whatever tool works for you. He started to turn the first form using a roughing gouge, a large bowl gouge, a small bowl gouge, an ax, and even a sharpened spade! The point was to use the tool that works best for you. He did most of his turning with a bowl gouge with long wings so he was able to cut and scrape as he desired. The exercise was to turn multiples that are similar in form without looking at any of the previously turned objects. He did a total of five turnings and “painted” each black with liquid shoe polish. This way you can look at the shape without the influence of the grain and beauty or lack thereof of the wood. He pays attention to height vs. width, prominence of the shoulder, volume, and flow of the curve.

After making the five forms (outside form only) there was a group discussion to choose the preferred form. One was preferred by about 80% and another by about 20%. He strongly recommended that we all try the exercise intermittently to perfect our muscle memory and our technique. In discussion of how to avoid shape change he pointed out that quarter sawn end grain wood was best and try to avoid the pith.

He finished the morning session with a PowerPoint presentation discussing how FORM is the most important aspect of his work. He showed that how no amount of texture, carving or color could hide poor form.

Afternoon Session:

The afternoon was devoted to his techniques of carving, texturing and coloring. Jacques began the session by demonstrating the use of a reciprocating carver. He did not endorse any particular system but uses a Foredom with Flexcut tips. He holds the carver like a pencil and anchors his hand for control. The advantage of the reciprocating carver is control. It is easier to carve green wood but most of what he carves is dry wood because he also does a lot of burning. He is well known for carving leaves, feathers, and bark, all of which he free-hands. You should carve downhill to avoid lifting the grain. Also you need to carve out all flat spots to avoid showing tool marks and hot spots when you color. He also emphasized that carving on a curve is easier than on the flat surfaces.

He next demonstrated the rotary carver. To save time he has four color coded carvers set up with different bits and type of unit. There are three types. The Foredom and Dremel type which is high torque variable speed up to 18,000 to 20,000 RPM. These types of units are the most aggressive at wood removal. The next is an electric micromotor with variable speed and less torque. This unit has approx. 50,000 RPM. The third is the air power which is high speed, low torque. This is used in work like Binh Pho does. Jacques doesn’t often use the air power unit. He described his techniques for making leaves and feathers (you will need to view the soon to be available DVD from the CMW library for details).

Jacques then details his work by using a wood burner. He showed how he makes his own tips and the techniques for detail. Again you will need to view the DVD. After burning he uses a soft bronze brush to get rid of debris.

The last component of his art is color. He used fluid acrylics. The three brands are Golden-standard and matte (He prefers the matte but there are limited colors), Chroma-airbrush and Blick. He feels Blick is as good as Golden but much less expensive. He starts with black. Waterproof India ink is applied with a toothbrush and then blown into the texture with an air compressor. The coloring technique is to make a subtle transition from dark to light with a minimum of seven coats and up to 25-30 layers of paint. You must let the paint completely dry between layers. He uses cheap brushes from Royal and mostly foam brushes. He brushes across the ridges so as not to fill in the voids. He doesn’t use any other finish except on pieces that will be handled a lot and then uses 1 to 2 coats of dead flat lacquer.

Jacques finished his demonstration with a brief discussion of gold leaf techniques.

Submitted by Ross Lynch