Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Helen Leaf Designs

Carved antler 

I love carving antler, and combining it with different woods and sometimes gold leaf or silver. I enjoy carving graceful lines and spiralling twists, bringing something elegant to what it an earthy material.

Most of my pieces take their initial inspiration from the antler shape itself - some things, I carve a lot of, like the antler twist pendants. But others are more specific to that particular deer's antler and how it has grown. 

Each type of deer has antler with different characteristics, which also differ according to where on the antler the piece is taken from. With an understanding of this, textures and shapes can be used selectively for different purposes. I particularly like working with reindeer antler because of its consistency, colouring, and graceful shape. 


The tools I use are varied - some are borrowed from jewellery making, wood engraving, metalworking or basic workshop experience. One of the main challenges is how to hold the antler stably whilst working on it. Whenever possible, I make my own tools and tool handles, and also make revolving racks to hold my gravers so that I can store and access them easily. Dust extraction, good lighting and a comfortable working position are also important.

Graver blades and handles, Helen LeafGraver blades and handles, Helen Leaf



Revolving graver stand, Helen LeafRevolving graver stand, Helen Leaf



Workbench, antler carving, Helen LeafWorkbench, antler carving, Helen Leaf