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About Kit Metlen

Kit started carving with pocket knives when he found one in a camp ground near Early Winters in the summer of 1959.  He carved a bird and other things to earn his Boy Scout Woodcarving Merit Badge a few years later.  He continued to carve when ever he had a piece of wood and nothing else to do; while logging, while in college classes, doing forestry work or while being Scout Master . . .

Along the way, he discovered chisels and mallets and then found powered carving tools after 2007; these have enabled him to move beyond small figurines and chains to bigger sculptures such as some 5" masks.

He likes the outdoors and moderate risk; he's a ski patrolman, starting on his 47th season this year and loves the speed and risk of failure of skiing while being able to help people.  He was the White Pass Ski Patrol Director between 2010-12.  He canoes and kayaks.  He is close to his family; likes gardening, reading.  He believes in public and civic service and was a forester and administrator for the people of Washington by working for the Department of Natural Resources for over 33 years.  He was an assistant Cub Master and Scout Master; the sons, Ryan and Joel, are Eagle Scouts.  He loves Meryl.

 

 

 

Please Visit Kit's Website: www.kitmetlen.com

 

Inspiration

 

Inspiration comes from the beauty of form like the fingers of a soaring vulture, or the upright tail of a ruddy duck; something catches my eye and I want to capture it; so the form is almost always far more important to me than detail. Besides which, I hate detail whether in work, general living or carving; I admire those who can do it and their results.


What' keeps me interested in returning to a block of wood? I seldom carve straight through on one piece of wood.  I take breaks to let the carving settle in my mind and to allow the mind to wonder of the possibilities.  What keeps me coming back are:


1) the grain and character of the wood, including knots and the feel of the blades as they cut into the actual wood; every wood feels and looks different; I like the buttery feel of birch for example while liking the color of cherry, yellow cedar and western red cedar; I can seldom resist an offered piece of wood that is different or has unique character; that is why the shop is surrounded by burls and different types of woods;


2) bringing the image out of the wood; I often start with a broad image in my mind and the wood and carving reveal the nuances and character of the piece; a slight cocking of the head, a posture of wing . . . ; and


3) adding emphasis by paint or application of shell; these add contrast and emphasis to light, movement and character. – Kit Metlen