Introduction: Mother Hawk

Picture of Mother Hawk

The idea for this sculpture was inspired when I read an article in Bird Watcher's Digest issue of 2006 about a pair of Red Tailed Hawks raising their young ones.

A very emotional essay made me sculpt the mother hawk with her two baby hawks. Enjoy.

Step 1: The Block

Picture of The Block

The large block of mahogany weighted at 147 pounds. The dimensions are 3 feet tall by 12 inches wide by 18 inches deep.

Step 2: The Tools

Picture of The Tools

The primary tools to start the carving process are as follows :
* A rubber mallet (16 oz.)
* A power drill
* Working gloves
*Wood chisels (got mine from Home Depot)
* Wood rasps
*Rotary flexshaft
*Round files

Step 3: The Sculptor

Picture of The Sculptor

The sculptor, Ray Maldonado has been a sculptor over 30 years in the arts and crafts industry.

Step 4: The Bark

Picture of The Bark

The bark is removed from the block of mahogany.

Step 5: How Easy ! Hah !

Picture of How Easy ! Hah !

The artist utilized the most simple tools to show the general public how easy is to carve a work of art.

Step 6: The Basement Wood Storage Area.

Picture of The Basement Wood Storage Area.

The release of the hawk has commence.

Step 7: The Blueprint.

Picture of The Blueprint.

Note how the pattern of a top view of the mother hawk is drawn with a marker to start the subtractive process of carving.

Step 8: Fashion Trade.

Picture of Fashion Trade.

Working in comfortable clothes and taking countless coffee breaks is the success of a determine artisan.

Step 9: The Tools.

Picture of The Tools.

The removal of wood is done in sessions. Notice the drill holes. You can removed the surplus wood through many means :
* Chainsaws
* Bandsaw
* Wood chisels
* Drill bits
We are aiming for simplicity here. Simple tools will do. You don't need expensive tools with a famous trade name. Though, it would be nice to brag to friends on your fancy tool selections. Ja !

Step 10: 100 Year Old Mahogany

Picture of 100 Year Old Mahogany

At this point you might start believing in seeing at what might be a bird or a jet in flight. A good coffee break is in the works! 47 pounds have been removed at this stage

Step 11: From Basement to Backyard Terrace

Picture of From Basement to Backyard Terrace

As you can see alot of wood as been removed. The appearance of what might be a bird in flight, wings; possibly a nest on top of a mountain precipice.

Step 12: A River Runs Thru the Backyard.

Picture of A River Runs Thru the Backyard.

The front view of the mother hawk. You can start appreciating the volume of air underneath the wings.

Step 13: The Red Tailed Hawk

Picture of The Red Tailed Hawk

The Red Tailed Hawk is a bird of prey that is classified in the bird family of buteos. Some characteristics of this group : broad wings, rough legged, red tailed, red shouldered, etc.

Step 14: The Caribbean

Picture of The Caribbean

In this part of the world, red tailed hawks are permanent residents in Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean region.

Step 15: The Oaks Behind the Art Work.

Picture of The Oaks Behind the Art Work.

Red tailed hawks varied in sizes from 19 - 25 inches long.

Step 16: The Lady

Picture of The Lady

The female lay between 2 - 3 pale white eggs.

Step 17: The Mountain.

Picture of The Mountain.

To accommodate space for the chisels and movement of hands wood removal was necessary underneath the wings and base to " lift " the nest from the mountain.

Step 18: The Drill Bit.

Picture of The Drill Bit.

Drill hole positions has been established for the placement of the baby hawks.

Step 19: Everyone's Wing Man !

Picture of Everyone's Wing Man !

The left wing has been rounded to begin the carving of feathers.

Step 20: The Connector.

Picture of The Connector.

A connector was needed to join the wings, nest, and the mountain shown from the rear view. A connector is known in the industry as what connects an idea, subject matter together for structural stability.

Step 21: The Base of It All.

Picture of The Base of It All.

A view from underneath the base.

Step 22: The Scale.

Picture of The Scale.

To create a scale between the artwork and the table - the table measures 4 feet long by 2 feet wide.

Step 23: The Babies.

Picture of The Babies.

The baby hawks are modeled in clay for size and placement.

Step 24: 3" by 3" = 9" !

Picture of 3" by 3" = 9" !

The area allocated for the baby hawks is 3" square.

Step 25: The Substract Process.

Picture of The Substract Process.

One interesting fact about the subtractive carving process is that once you cut you can't glue back ! ! !

Step 26: Einstein's Theory : Think !

Picture of Einstein's Theory : Think !

You have to be cautious and think your wood cuts.

Step 27: A Bump on the Head.

Picture of A Bump on the Head.

You are beginning to see a blocked baby hawk's head.

Step 28: Rodin

Picture of Rodin

My studio assistant, brother and eternal friend - Rodin. When Rodin was a puppy he loved to be underneath the fallen wood chips. He was named after the famed French sculptor by the same name.

Step 29: The River of Design.

Picture of The River of Design.

At this point in the carving, extreme care is considered in the removal of wood so that all the elements of design : mother hawk, baby hawks, the nest, the mountain are in unision with one another. It's like the viewing on how a gentle river creek flows over polished stones . . . one compliments the other.

Step 30: Your Web Browser.

Picture of Your Web Browser.

An artist needs very reliable wildlife references like photographs, actual viewings, and modeled specimens.

Step 31: Natural Flow of Things.

Picture of Natural Flow of Things.

Here we see the natural flow when the wings convert to feathers, feathers into a nest, and finally the nest transforms into the baby hawks.

Step 32: Follow the Line.

Picture of Follow the Line.

The technique of using wood rasps is evident of the line flow that will eventually become feathers.

Step 33: Keep It Together.

Picture of Keep It Together.

To create an open space between the baby hawks and at the same time create structural cohesiveness - connectors had to be thought out.

Step 34: Centerline.

Picture of Centerline.

When carving "objects in the round" it's necessary and important to draw and maintain a centerline to establish a balance on both sides.

Step 35: A Mother's Love.

Picture of A Mother's Love.

Notice how the wing feathers flows around the baby hawks - a mother's instinct to protect her young ones.

Step 36: Smile Please !

Picture of Smile Please !

Side profile of the baby hawks has been established. A pencil line is a very important design tool. Make all your mistakes in pencil - then cut with the correct ones.

Step 37: It's Alive, It's Alive !

Picture of It's Alive, It's Alive !

It's a very gratifying experience when the artisan see his vision take life right before his eyes. You see and feel this ecstasy in the 1930s film when Dr. Frankenstein cries to Igor, "It's alive, it's alive" in reference to the "Thing" he just created. Makes my hair stand up on ends !

Step 38: Tell It to the Mountain.

Picture of Tell It to the Mountain.

The landscape of the mountain was chiseled with a half round 1/4" gouge.

Step 39: A Message.

Picture of A Message.

The back view of the mountain. A connector. Has a sublime message; it's the first letter of my wife's name Mary and the first letter of my last name Maldonado.

Step 40: Ede.

Picture of Ede.

Edenise, my niece, hearing a lecture on how to cut feathers on the mother hawk's wing.

Step 41: Feathers

Picture of Feathers

The centerline of the feather maintain a symmetry on both sides from the mother hawk all the way down to the baby hawks.

Step 42: A Mother's Tale.

Picture of A Mother's Tale.

This is how the mother hawk looked before the carving process of her majestic body.

Step 43: The Power Tools.

Picture of The Power Tools.

From this stage on in the carving all the heavy knives and mallets were put aside for the forthcoming rotary tools including burrs and rifflers. The mother hawk's body can't tolerate the heavy blows from a mallet in this phase of the carving. The same applies to the baby hawks.

Step 44: Mother's Weight Loss !

Picture of Mother's Weight Loss !

Here's a bottom rear view of the mother hawk.

Step 45: The Sky Is the Limit.

Picture of The Sky Is the Limit.

Now this is what I'm talking about! We can definitely see a bird in flight showing a downstroke of the wings.

Step 46: Among the Clouds.

Picture of Among the Clouds.

On this photo you see the mother hawk tilting toward the right. That's because she's feeling the strong air current from the left. The centerline, here again, establish the composition of the body and wings. Creating a movement within this type of artwork stimulate an emotional response.

Step 47: Fly Like a Hawk

Picture of Fly Like a Hawk

From this view, the left wing is placed ahead of the right wing. The inside of the left wing has been sanded. The broad chest will be the first part to be power carve with the flex shaft.

Step 48: Mama Has a Brand New Bag!

Picture of Mama Has a Brand New Bag!

The mother hawk completed in the interpretive style.

Step 49: Rifflers What ? You Know.

Picture of Rifflers What ? You Know.

Rifflers and fine files plays a major supporting role in the formation of the stylized feathers.

Step 50: Mother's First Gown.

Picture of Mother's First Gown.

The design of the feathers and body in the interpretive style is typical in this form of artwork.

Step 51: What Should I Wear ?

Picture of What Should I Wear ?

A proud mother hawk sanded and ready for that first bath in natural finish.

Step 52: Mother Nature.

Picture of Mother Nature.

The mountain and baby hawks were given a different texture with a gouge to represent a higher consciousness of mother . . . Mother Nature.

Step 53: A Baby Smile.

Picture of A Baby Smile.

A close up of the baby hawks.

Step 54: The Siblings.

Picture of The Siblings.

Here we have a top view of the connector uniting the baby hawks together.

Step 55: Coffee for Three Please.

Picture of Coffee for Three Please.

Finally we get to see the final sculpture complete without the natural finish.

Step 56: Family Togetherness.

Picture of Family Togetherness.

Left view of the Buteo jamaicensis family.

Step 57: Baby First Bath.

Picture of Baby First Bath.

Walnut stain being applied to the baby hawks.

Step 58: Security System.

Picture of Security System.

A second coat of walnut stain completed. Notice how the feathers "protects" the baby hawks.

Step 59: Transformation.

Picture of Transformation.

This photo shows beautifully how the wings transform into a nest.

Step 60: Preservation.

Picture of Preservation.

Efforts are being made to educate future generations in the preservation of this majestic bird throughout the Caribbean region and the world.

Step 61: Fine Art Festivals.

Picture of Fine Art Festivals.

Red tailed hawks play an important role in the arts and crafts movement in Puerto Rico. They are depicted in music, fine arts, folklore and literature.

Step 62: The Pledge.

Picture of The Pledge.

I pledge a world wide plea of natural consciousness for all living things on Earth.

Step 63: Mother Hawk and Her Young Ones

Picture of Mother Hawk and Her Young Ones

Once you hear the Red Tailed Hawk's cry - it will be forever embedded in your mind

To protect them from extinction is to guard ourselves from such fate as the word extinction apply.

Thank you Instructables for being there for us makers.

Hope everyone enjoy my first instructable. Lengthy, I know, but worth it.

Ray Maldonado aka KanPo Studios.


BCDesign (author)2015-09-06

That is amazing work!I love it!how many hours did it take you?

Bullwinkle01 (author)2015-08-31

Thank You very much, I've carved for more than 8 years now and have enjoyed learning techniques from this presentation that I have never considered. I'll be sharpening my drill bits for my next project.

Don M..

Yes thank you very much, You have the touch that transforms a block of wood into art. You can see what's hiding in the wood and bring it to highlight the vision that you see. When the young hawks first appeared I was on the edge of my seat with each step looking for more of the hawks coming to form. I enjoyed all the steps I hope that someday that I improve with my jack knife somewhere near your talent.

Thank you Ray

Thank you Cooter. I'm glad fellow makers are enjoying the Mother Hawk. There's a sad story attach to the sculpture. A friend of ours owns a tow truck service and came home one day with this giant mahogany trunk.

When I asked him where the trunk came from, he mentioned that an urban developer contractor called him to pick up a "little piece of wood". When he got there the contractor told him they had to cut the tree down because it was blocking the future entrance into a brand new neighborhood. According to my friend, he had plenty of room to move that entrance to another spot and save the 100+ years tree. That's a Montero you see behind the trunk. A minimun 5 feet wide trunk.

It took me and a friend a complete weekend to spray wash, cut it, and produce 28 pieces from it. The seagulls gliding over an ocean wave is another sculpture from it.

All the pieces I'm making from that trunk I consider them sacred and see them with high esteem. A form of a resurrection between you, the wood, and a higher level of consciousness - Mother Nature.
Thanks again Footer.

Nita43 (author)2015-09-02

Your work is so beautiful...thanks so much for sharing!

msierra6 (author)2015-08-31

Is not just about the extraordinary work, or the magnificence of the final piece. For me is about the poetry evolving in every stage of the process. Not of words but of silhouettes emerging from two hearts, the wood's and the artist's. I'm a privileged woman, cause I've been able to heard the beats of those hearts in the making. Nothing give me more happiness than seeing you, my beloved husband, doing the thing that you love the most, Create. Te amo corazón. Mary

KanPo Studios (author)msierra62015-08-31

Te amo mi Vida! Thanks for those beautiful words. It means the whole world to me.

KanPo Studios (author)2015-08-31


sheME (author)2015-08-30

This belongs displayed in a museum. Your talent is a gift. I wish I was one of the people that had powers that had the authority to have your Mother Halk displayed in a museum. Your talent humbles me. Thank you for sharing.

KanPo Studios (author)sheME2015-08-30

Thank you sheMe. If my wife is reading this comments from wonderful makers like you guys. she'll kill me. She's super protected of Mother Hawk. Mother Hawk is very popular in the San Juan metro area. She's spent months in museums and fancy restaurants. As of this moment Mother Hawk is relaxing in our guest bedroom. Maybe enjoying a semiretirement. Thanks again for your comments.

sheME (author)KanPo Studios2015-08-31

It takes a good woman to protect what is special in each family. If it is a chiild, photo journal, a necklace from the past or a beautiful piece of artwork that unveils part her mates love and soul. Give your wife an extra hug, she knows how special Mother Hawk is and it is part of you.

TattooedMac (author)2015-08-30

Man this is amazing. Just getting into wood crafting/turning/carving myself, this fills me full of inspiration, and joy.

Very talented man, and even though there will not be another one like this, commend you on a fine job sir !!

Thank you Tattooedmac.
As Morpheus said to Neo in the first part of the trilogy, " Welcome to the real world. " The major part of society don't see wood as a very special mineral in today's society. They only think of diamonds, rubies, silver and so forth. They (some of them anyway) degrade the status wood had in decades, or possibly centuries past. The golden era of wood sculptures like Gibbons, the Renaissance of Michaelangelo had its virtue and explore so many avenues and techniques new to the old world in those days. Fast forward to the present and you have people like you and me having a hard time EXPLAINING to art critics (if they really have dust under their nails) that what we do is really "Fine Arts". To them if you can't hang it in a wall - - - is not fine art. That's the eternal battle between a cloth canvas and a piece of wood.

Nevertheless. I want to wish you happy carving, turning and any endeavor you are considering in the modern world of wood crafting. As Arnie would say . . . Hasta la vista baby ! ! !

Learninman made it! (author)2015-08-30

Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement by a fellow artist. You might find the King Arthur Tools line very helpful and time-saving. Here are a couple more critturs to join yours.

KanPo Studios (author)Learninman2015-08-30

Thank you Learninman. King Arthur Tools are one of the best, if not the best. Sometimes, as an instructor teaching woodcarving in poor communities, I prefer not to bring out the major league tools. I have the Mother Hawk in various social media outlets. When I visit grammar schools in the area, Mother Hawk comes along with me and when the kids see the video presentation and the 3 foot sculpture they get excited specially when I tell them they could make something like this with $25 dollars worth of tools. I tell them if your budget is short forget the franchise stores and just concentrate on your local hardware store. They have everything you for a starter. Personally, I like Two Cherries and Ramelson from New Jersey since I grew up in that area. Maybe we can get your sculptures and mine for a summit in the Caribbean. Hah ! ! !

NathanSellers (author)2015-08-30

Very cool. Thanks for sharing the process and the craft. It turned or so well.

Thank you Nathan. I have couple more line up for Instructable in the coming weeks.

AlexandraR3 (author)2015-08-30

Absolutely gorgeous.

Thank you Alexandra.

KanPo Studios (author)2015-08-30

Thank you J. Corney.

chrisjlionel (author)2015-08-30

Wow. Artistic ...

Thanks Chris .

J Corney (author)KanPo Studios2015-08-30

This is outstanding!

About This Instructable




Bio: KanPo Studios is a mixed media studio where its foundation is to experiment new ideas in techniques applications and promote and encourage others to create ... More »
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