It all started when I acquired a huge piece of a Douglas fir beam at a construction site. Covered in mud and heavy enough that I could only carry it a modest distance, I knew that I had to have it. What I would do with it was another question altogether.
A piece of wood this large should have some defined and important purpose, so I didn’t rush into anything with it. After the wood sat in my basement for some months, it spoke to me and said that it was a whale.
The surface of the block had some defined ridges where the grain rose ever so slightly, reminding me of a current in water. I contemplated this, eventually deciding to use it to carve a “block” to make a block print of a whale, capitalizing on the wood’s grain. A few dozen prints were made and the block was relegated to the narrow space between the floor and bottom shelf of my workbench, but I knew that it still had more life left in it.
Two years later, the block told me that it wanted to be a real whale. Well, a three dimensional whale anyway; thus the second phase of the project began. Since the whale block print was based on a gray whale, I knew the sculpture should be the same. The idea was that the whale would go on a migration of sorts, much like the real animal does each year.
I started carving a prototype from another piece of fir, but found the wood to be too unyielding, so I stopped carving, but the idea wouldn’t die. Then, luckily, I found a piece of forgotten western red cedar in my scrap bin and the project came alive again.
And it seems that the more people I told about the project, the more the interest built.