Q: Do you work on commission?
A: Yes, all my work is portraiture of actual dogs done on commission, photographed, and then shipped to the client.
Q: What kind of wood is used?
A: I work with basswood, or Lindenwood as they call it in England. It is a great medium-hard wood that is not too soft and not too hard and I love it. Basswood and poplar were the two woods used almost exclusively for the original animals created for the old world carousels. My technique is very 'old school' and matches the process that the original carvers used when creating their now very collectable masterpieces.
Q: How long do they take to finish?
A: Each piece takes from 350 to 700+ hours to complete. This time includes travel time - as I often drive or fly to meet the dog in order to photograph and measure him/her to get a perfect likeness. Then comes drawing/design time, making the pattern and blocking up the animal, band sawing out the pieces, carving, sanding, four prime coats with sanding in between coats, the final paint work, and two or three varnish coats. You will be invited to review my drawing and color sketch that are provided as part of the brainstorming process.
Q: How much do they cost?
A: I base my prices on $65/hr and have a very good idea of how long a piece will require to finish as I’ve been doing this for 17 years. Prices for a pose and saddle trappings that are unique to your dog typically run between $20,000 to $45,000. The larger and more complicated pieces costing more, of course. We'll work together to design a piece that tells the story of your dog and his or her life. For example dogs, like Graham (see link), have special stories and his is about rabbits, a favorite dragon toy and how he always carried a ball in his mouth. You can choose if you prefer a jumper (see Simon), a stander (see Nikki), a prancer (see Petal), or a rocker (see Adrian).
To save costs: If you have a breed identical to a piece I’ve already carved, we may able to negotiate a cost reduction - up to $10K. Going this route saves me a lot of time in travel, photographing, measuring, and designing.
Q: Do you do miniatures?
A: Sorry - I only work life-size or larger, but to fit your budget, I can create a bust of your dog's head and shoulders for approx. $6,500 - $8,500.