What am I looking at?

We make terrain carvings of Earth and other heavenly bodies from a solar-powered workshop here in south central Kentucky. And we are grateful for many things: for the folks at the Makers Mill for this space, for NASA and the countless engineers who made possible both the 3D models and CNC technology, and for trees–especially those hardwoods native to the Commonwealth. So what exactly ARE you looking at? Terrain carvings of Earth, the Moon and Mars. Can you touch them? Please do. They are made to be experienced by multiple senses. Let us make you a custom carving of a part of the solar system that you have a connection to. This website and our Instagram page highlight our work.

Perhaps a video or two will be found useful. First up is Lake Cumberland, the largest man-made lake in the nation, and the largest driver of tourism to southern Kentucky, presented here in maple, resin and walnut. We can provide custom carvings of most any spot on the lake!

A second Kentucky water carving is found on the table. It is centered on Lake Cumberland Marina. This one turned out rather mysterious looking. Maybe it’s the almost black thermal poplar frames that add to the feel. The area covered by this carving is contained in the larger Lake Cumberland carve. It is located at the center of the topmost portion, covering approximately 1 square centimeter. This shows the large difference in area covered by the two carvings.

Next, we’ll turn to the two large carvings hanging on the wall. Both are from the planet Mars. Interestingly, there are detailed 3D models available of the planet’s surface that exceed the quality of some of those available of Earth.

Jezero Crater is a 28-mile diameter crater currently hosting NASA’s Perseverance rover. We don’t often think of water and rivers when contemplating Martian craters, but you’re looking at a river delta breaching a crater wall. This piece is titled Who can the muddy water, and was made in collaboration with Dr. Robert Jacobsen, planetary geoscientist from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
This cedar-on-cedar piece, though large, is quite sparing at first glance. The wood (from Kentucky and aged in a barn for 30 years) was selected because of its age and wear–much like the surface of Mars. Though exhibiting minor degradation and lacking the striking grain patterns seen in other carvings, its magic lies in the perspective represented and its ability to transport the viewer to another place. The almost two-inch-thick crater wall at the top of the carving represents a tiny fraction of Jezero Crater’s circumference. The corresponding riverbed and delta deposit in the center of the piece can be almost lost in the larger carving. But when viewed on-edge from below the delta looking up to the crater wall, it is not difficult to imagine adjusting the oxygen flow and temperature controls of your spacesuit as you contemplate this alien vista from your new perspective. Both the carving and the rough-hewn frame are finished with copious amounts of mineral and boiled linseed oil and the carving is topped with finishing wax. 13” x 27” x 3.5”

Next up is Gale Crater, 96 miles in diameter and boasting the 18,000 ft Mt. Sharp in it’s center. It’s been described as a “bucket,” accumulating sediment and water and filling with water in the ancient past. (The smaller Gale carving features blue resin at one possible historic lake level.) This slab of tree came from James Sharpe & Son cedar mill in Greensburg, KY. Mr. Sharpe told me this was the most beautiful piece of cedar he’d ever seen, and he grew up watching his father cut cedar. The rest of that chunk of tree is enjoying its life as a coffee table in my living room. Click on the large pic below for a link to the Instagram video of its creation. The two ash rails feature lightly carved riverbeds from the crater’s interior. It’s called Meteroembryotic, and is finished in satin lacquer, 19” x 17” x 2”.

Mendeleev Crater and Catena from Earth’s Moon are the subject of two of the hanging carvings. A catena is a string of craters in a line. The one on the left is carved of poplar and has a walnut frame. The one on the right is also carved of resin-filled poplar and has a cherry frame. Both were carved using the same 3D model.

Palikir Crater is known for the seasonal presence of water in the intricate array of gullies located on its slopes. Shown here in maple and oak, it shows remarkable detail from the surface of another planet. Finished in shellac to enhance the warm, honey-brown tones.

The dark and mysterious fellow on the table is the 129-mile-wide Kaiser Crater, notable for the sand dunes in its interior and the seasonal presence of both carbon dioxide and water ice. This is carved from wenge, an African hardwood, and was lightly bleached before being finished in satin lacquer.

Grand Canyon anyone? This smaller carving shows the South Rim of the Grand Canyon right in the heart of the National Park. Walnut and resin combine here in interesting and unusual ways. If you’ve ever set foot on the Bright Angel Trail, you’ve been here.

Didn’t think a carving of Pluto was possible because of the brief flyby in 2015. But it was enough for those clever scientist types to make a 3D model of half the planet, now presented in maple with a resin base.

This mic stand features a heavily-cratered portion of the moon. Crafted from recycled cherry butcher block, it’s waiting for a nice desk to call home. We make other mic stand designs as well, and could make you a custom one featuring anything you can come up with.

These little resin carvings are fun to make. The purple, amethyst-colored one is a random crater, the clear one is Mt. Sharp from the center of Gale Crater, and the whitish one is Palikir Crater and boasts little strips of rosewood in the resin.

Into this rather wildly-figured piece of maple is carved Gale Crater, and features a resin-filled crater rim on a thick walnut base. Pick it up if you’d like, and see how the resin reflects the light. One of my personal favorites.

These streamlined crater islands in Ares Vallis are definitely alien-looking. These 1,000-foot-tall islands were carved by massive amounts of permafrost meltwater in Mars’ ancient past. The four circles in each corner of the frame represent the fourth planet, and the quarter-sawn rosewood lines are suggestive of hydraulic flow. Thanks NASA for providing the models!

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you enjoyed your visit and are thinking of commissioning your own custom carving. Use our contact form to get the process started.