I get artists doing things for other artists, but I don't think CPF3 is in that situation or he wouldn't be asking here. The artists are passing value to each other, otherwise I'd be surprised if they picked up a gouge for less than some minimum price. BTW, most of their gouges are way, too big for this. You might be surprised to see one of them walk over and chuck a small piece pen lathe or in a drill press.
I'm liking Charlie's ideas more and more, maybe use a long finishing nail through the wood. Once you get the shape you want, carve the slates with an exacto knife. The only issue is how to hide the holes. Wood filler?