Peter Forbes: I had a client come in who work for a gold mine out of Australia called Red Back Mining. Red Back being red back spider hood, black spider with a red dot on it. She wanted a red back spider, she wanted Africa, she wanted gold, she wanted a mine entrance, and something to do with mine. It’s a mess so we have to come up with something better. So we came up with this wine barrel art. What we’ve got here is a red back spider. Do you see it?
Tim: Nice! I got to tell you. Since I saw this (wine barrel carvings) a little while ago, I’ve been having nightmares.
Peter Forbes: Yeah, we got Africa, spider, the red dot is Africa, and then we have ‘Wine Mine’ so I don’t need to carve the mine entrance which would look like a rock or something and then I did a gold leaf. The nice part of using the tools that I use in wine barrel carvings is I can cut underneath so that the spider actually looks like it’s walking across sand. So I thought this is a nice representation of all the stuff that she had. This is kind of fun to put things together.
Tim: So looking on one of those legs, it’s actually there’s a space underneath of it as if it’s coming out of the barrel.
Peter Forbes: Yeah. There are 2 or 3 of them that you can’t see from this angle, but 2 or 3 of them. So it actually looks like the spider is walking across the wood. But it was all done in the oak itself. I didn’t add anything on to the wine barrel carvings. People ask me how I know how deep I’m going because I can’t see. I’m only dealing with maybe varying depth of the wood an inch or so on average. The interesting thing is because everything I use is from recycled barrels. I can start smelling the wine that’s been saturated in the oak. As long as I smell the wine, I know I’m getting near the end. And I’m getting happier!
Peter Forbes: I had a guy call me from Indonesia. He is a geologist and he is up there in Headhunter Country actually and he asked me to do a Neanderthal man on a barrel, I guess for his man cave.
Tim: You mean literal Headhunter Country because when you say headhunter I think it’s a recruitment guy.
Cave Man Wine Barrel Art
Peter Forbes: No, no. So we did this one. He originally wanted just the Neanderthal man on the background with the mask on. When people see this thing, I know it’s not going to look great. So I thought I come up with this. You put this in your man cave, so when people walk in, this guy is looking at you.
Tim: So Peter, I’ve a question on this one. What am I looking at? Cause I’m not seeing a wine barrel like the other ones.
Peter Forbes: You are looking straight on the wine barrel. You’re not seeing the sides. That’s all.
Tim: I don’t understand. So this rim here, what is this?
Peter Forbes: That’s the outside of the wine barrel. It goes down about 5 inches. The background there, when I finish doing the piece, I send them the finished picture. So I put on a cave wall.
Tim: It certainly looks in keeping with the design.
Peter Forbes: Yeah, I can’t help myself in.
Tim: So presumably you do aside from wine barrel carving, you’re also doing other forms of art then?
Peter Forbes: Yes. Here’s a carving I did.
Tim: Oh that’s beautiful.
Peter Forbes: That’s about 6 feet long, 1500 log cabin. But those are interior logs. The small one’s here, the big one’s here. So we pick one of our trees, 1500 of theirs.
Tim: So how long does something like that take?
Intricate Carving Designs by Peter Forbes
Peter Forbes: Hard to say because I work on a couple of things at a time. So probably it took me 3 weeks to a month. It’s very, very detailed. You can’t see a lot of the detail because I go in there with a magnifying glass so you can see back here there’s a cabin, there’s a cabin here. I actually want to carve it, I carve behind the posts, and I have a magnifying glass and there’s a door there. I actually put a door knob on the door. Nobody is going to see that but I know it’s there. With the magnifying glass it was very large and it seems like my thing to do. So I really enjoy getting into that ‘uber’ detail.
Tim: So for custom wine cellars then, we are not necessarily limited to wine barrel tops like that because basically the limitation is just somebody’s imagination.
Peter Forbes: Yeah! I actually carved a whale bone. Someone brought a whale bone. They said, can you carve a whale bone? So I said, yeah! I’m an artist. We work really hard to get perspective so I use a lot of perspective in shading to give more depth to it.