Monday, August 22, 2011

Ollie Bord – Railroad Conductor

FINALLY, I can post the pictures of this piece!  (See here for more shots).

This is the last of the 3 carvings that I have sitting on just waiting for the day when I could post them.  I was about ready to burst.  I understand that it was just presented, so now I am free to talk about it.

Late last year the wife (I’ll call her, “M”) of one of my co-workers (I’ll call him, “R”) requested that I create a “railroad related” birthday present for him.  She had seen some of my pieces and suggested that “maybe it should be a railroad conductor” similar to a caricature I had done about 5 years ago.  The carving was, as is often the case, to be a surprise. 

I was pretty booked up at the time and kept putting it off.  Then in way back in April I suddenly got a bit panicky.  I realized that if she had told me when she needed/wanted it – and she probably had -- I couldn’t remember what she had said. 

Note to Self:  Start writing stuff like that down!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t call “M” at home during the evening to check the date because “R” would most likely be there.  And I had to be careful calling “M” from work because “R’s” cubical is within easy earshot of mine.  So instead of attempting to confirm the required completion date and risk blowing the secret, I just got started and resolved to finish it as soon as possible.  As I thought about doing a caricature of a railroad conductor the name “Ollie Bord” just came to me. 

When I was almost done, I looked at “Ollie” (just the figure itself) and thought to myself, “You know, Tom, this guy is really pretty boring!”  My wife must of have gotten similar vibes because she said almost the same thing just a day or two later.

So, I first decided to put him on a platform, but then that didn’t seem to be much of an improvement so I decided to add the facade of an old wooden station.  (This was an easy decision to make because I had wanted to do this for some time since I have an idea for another piece that has an old-fashioned train station in it.) 

One thing led to anther and suddenly one day I realized that Ollie was standing in front of a full size station with a bay window and blinds.  I added signs and other items that would be meaningful (and hopefully humorous) to “R”.  I’d love to let everyone in on all of the inside humor but this being the Internet and all and privacy being what it is and all, I really can’t/shouldn’t.  Suffice it say, the significance of the “Pittsburgh, Homestead and Wilmerding Railroad” and the “Snacks-R-Us” and East Pittsburgh signs will not be lost on his friends or anyone from work who would happen to see Ollie.

Well, according to his watch and the chalkboard behind him, it is about time to make that first boarding call, so “Ollie Booooooooooord!!!”

One for the Bench:

Some people are like Slinkies.  They’re not much good for anything, and you can't help smiling when you imagine one of them tumbling down the stairs:--)….Am I perhaps getting a little too cranky?

‘Til next time…Keep makin’ chips!

No comments: