Author Archives: Toby Hazel

Work in progress

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Here are two lime wood blanks I have marked up with designs. They await a time when I can start sawing…

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…and here they are after a long and exhausting process of sawing/drilling/chiselling etc. The one on the left was very challenging because of its shape – some areas were hard to get to with hand tools, so I had to resort to drilling. The one on the right was difficult because it is thick wood (10cm+) so hard work to saw, and slightly too big for my vice to hold, so it was tricky to secure for sawing. Now all I have to do is carve them, sand and polish!

Limpets and Barnacles

My first completed painting for several months. This has been sitting on my easel for about four months, waiting for me to finish it. I have been rather side-tracked lately, doing various jobs about the house in preparation for the arrival of my third child early next year. Nice to finally finish it, as the longer I leave a painting, the harder it is to get back into it, and every time I see it, it stares back at me accusingly.

‘If you have hatred in your eyes, you will see it wherever you look’

If you have hatred in your eyes, you will see it wherever you look

What I meant by this is that people often project their own hostility and prejudices onto others. This can be self-fulfilling; if we show hostility towards others because we believe they are hostile towards us, they will become hostile towards us. It is a self-fulfilling cycle of hostility, born of an unfounded negative attitude. I think this is an important lesson, and something we should be watchful for in ourselves.

I have been interested in the ancient Egyptian culture for many years, and have wanted to create a replica of a papyrus fragment for some time.

I wrote the phrase in 1999, made my first attempt to translate it into ancient Egyptian around 2000, reworked the translation again in 2011 and drew the design for the papyrus, then finally created the finished ‘papyrus’ in 2015. I am very glad to have finally finished this project, and I am quite pleased with the result (although I’m sure any genuine Egyptologist would find no end of mistakes in my attempt at translation).

Seated Lady

My latest carving (21cm tall, lime). I am very pleased with this one. It is the first time I have used a new set of chisels (rather than predominantly using knives) and I am glad that I was able to be as subtle with the chisels as with the knives.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on female anatomy, but I know a nice curve when I see one. That is what I was aiming for with this piece – beautiful curves from every angle.

Seated Lady (side view)

Seated Lady (360degrees)

Performance of the Vision on Earth

Performance of the Vision on Earth
76x101cm, Mar 2015

In Black Elk Speaks, (being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, as told through John G Neihardt) Black Elk explains how his power derives from visions he experienced on several occasions throughout his life. He says that in order to use his power, he has to ‘perform’ these visions on Earth for the people to see. He also says that when he has performed a vision, that power is in some way used up and he loses it.

Whilst I do not believe in the supernatural, or the literal power of visions, I see a parallel between this idea and my painting. When I have an idea for an abstract painting, it exists only as potential. There is great ‘power’ in this potential – something that could lead to any number of new images, new ‘visions’, new worlds. This power only has any meaning, however, once the idea is ‘performed’ – once I have used it to create a painting. Once I have done this, the new creation – the painting – exists for all to see, but the potential – that great power, is lost to me, and cannot be reused. Every painting feels like a part of me that I have given away.