I was asked to make a sign to signify that a butterfly garden within the local dog park was planted in memory of Skip, who graced our town with his succession of tiny sweet dogs. People would meet him in town, sit down for a cup of coffee, and hold a poodle until their blood pressure went down.
I chose the butterfly shape for the sign, and roughed it out to have slightly lifted wings. I cut the big angles on the band saw to save work.
I had the presence of mind to plan the mounting before I carved. This old dog can learn new tricks; I left the butterfly’s body very chunky so I could sink two screws into it. I mounted it to waste wood. Later, I used the holes in the waste wood to mark the holes in a three-foot post.
That block allowed me to clamp the work into the bench vise while I carved. I signed the raw wood although I knew that paint would cover it.
I modeled it on the Northern Metalmark because of it’s shape and colors. It’s a mostly dark butterfly, so the sign won’t compete with the flowers in the garden. The flowers are the point, not the sign. I left the top of the wings unpatterned for the lettering. My lettering was awkward. Next time, I’ll make a light-colored band, and write the lettering in sharpie, not paint.
I added a coat of acrylic varnish for shine and protection. I don’t expect this to last forever outdoors, being only basswood, but it should be alright for quite a while. It will be mounted in the dog park before it opens.