I took a trip to The Carpentry Store near Naas today. It’s not that I was running out of wood. It was more that all the wood I have is thick and I wanted some thin stuff. I had tried to saw the thick wood into thinner strips but it was hard work and it turned out very uneven. The Carpentry Store is great. Not so much for wood carving tools, but for wood. Lots of lime wood which is the wood I’m using a the moment because it’s quite soft and easy to work with for a beginner. But also all sorts of woods in different shapes and sizes, from sycamore, through teak, apple and pear, to some very hard tropical woods, like blackwood and others the names of which I can’t remember. Anyway, I bought a few different types and so I’m all set up to continue to learn.

The numerous cuts I have suffered from my wood carving projects so far, and the amount of blood that stained my bear and is now appearing on my turtle suggested to me that blood is an interesting medium. Obviously because of its colour which, hopefully, will change over time, but also because it is a living property. It contains oxygen and all sorts of other things that are essential for life. So why not use it as a paint?

With this in mind, I jabbed my finger (actually two fingers) with a safety pin (if it’s called ‘safety’, it’s got to be OK, right?) and bled onto my paintbrush, in order to colour the following. It helps that I’m on blood thinners. Better quantity. (Sometimes it’s not such a help – a couple of years ago I ended up in A&E with a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop.)

Self harm? Nah. Art!

The beating heart of art