Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
I am now done with Phase 0, and am starting Phase 1, In Phase 0, I looked over my choices and selected the ones that I liked the most. One of my father's friends is a wood carver, and I spent a day at his house in Taiwan during the holidays to learn more from him about wood carving. After I met him I researched about the topic, wood carving, and continued to here, where I will pose real questions, and research deeper into the economics of wood carving.
I have done a little research in Phase 0 about wood carving, but I have not fully understood it yet. I have learned that wood carving can be done by hand or machine, of course hand carving takes a lot more time than machine carving, but then it will have the sentimental value, and could be priced differently as each piece is unique. There is a lot of difference between Chinese style woodcarving and Western style wood carving. Chinese carving has more edges on the carving, while the Western carving is smooth and circular with depth. As another example, Chinese hand craft chisels are sold only by the shank, the neck and pointy part, but Western chisels are sold with handles, and big wide fronts.
I learnt this from my dad's friend, Martin, who is a professional wood carver. I went to his work shop and learned about the tools that he used to carve, and the different carving skills that he uses. Martin gave me a book of his, and some pictures so I can study his art work, and compare it to other peoples.
I want to learn more about the economics of wood carving, like, how can a wood carver sustain a living with a family of four if he lives in a area where not a lot of people who can buy his art work. Also, where did those wood carvers learn how to carve, because in rural China they would not have any interaction with very modern art that can inspire them to make carvings that can be sold for a lot of money an so how do they price their items?
For Phase 1, I will research about wood carving, for background knowledge so I can develop and answer the big questions that I will develop later into Phase 1. You can visit my research in Phase 3 for Phase 3 I will be gathering facts before and after the trip.
Next I will be making ten big questions that will act as the base of my research in XiZhou. Under each question there will be a answers written in italics.
1. What is the average price of a wood carved object? (Hand-Crafted)
(Normal sized) 50 RMB for the rural places of China, but inside the cities of China it would be around 150 RMB.
2. What is the normal pay of a wood carvers per day, and how is it compared to a furniture seller?
Around 75 RMB or less is made for a wood carver, for the wood carver maybe have just sold one object in a day. A furniture seller would make around 100 RMB or more because a piece of furniture may cost 75 RMB or more.
3. How many people come around and buy the wood carved object in a day?
Many people will come around to just look at the objects, but may not buy it, around 1-2 people may buy furniture, and around 2-3 may buy small things like a bracelet.
4. How long did it take to learn wood carving?
Three to four years to just learn the basics, and then the rest of the carvers life, because they learn every time they carve.
5. What are the main techniques of wood carving?
Pressure, decision for tools, and turns in carving.
6. How many wood carvers are there in the XiZhou village?
At least two to three wood carvers.
7. What do you think is the difference between Chinese and Western wood carving?
Chinese wood carvings are more choppy, as Western wood carving is smooth.
8. How did the carvers learn wood carving?
Most wood carvers learn from another master before their generation because they can't learn a lot from books.
9. Why did the wood carvers learn wood carving, is it their passion?
Most wood carvers learn wood carving because it is their passion to pursuit, but some poor people may not be able to do that, to learn another living, so they follow what their parents did, and learn from them because they don't have to pay to learn.
10. How long would it take to make a normal sized wood carving?
To make a normal sized wood carving it would take around four to five days, if they spend all the time making that piece of art, if they don't it would take around 8 to 9 days.
See phase 3 for more information
To answer these big ten questions, and other small ones I will have to research about how time consuming wood carving is, and how much can a carver earn from it, who lives in a city.
I am now ready to move on and find helpful recourses. I will record my sites and sources that I used in Phase 2.