Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Christmas Present

Guess what I'm getting for Christmas? Shoulder surgery! I have a torn rotator cuff, the muscle has separated and pulled back from the tendon and bone, and I have another small muscle fissure at the front of the shoulder.

Just got the news yesterday afternoon from my ortho. I'll be looking at a 12 week recovery, with the first 2 weeks completely immobilized. Won't even be able to write my name (yes, it is my right hand).

I was pretty down yesterday, I imagine that would be expected. But today is a new day, and I will get through this. I believe that things happen for a reason - don't know why this one - but I will make it through this and come out on the other end even better.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turn and Burn Competition on Woodcentral

Last month I entered a competition for woodturning. The contest was to create a woodturned piece that had pyrography, or woodburning texturing. The competition was judged by three well-known woodturners whose work I've admired for a long time.

As a woodturner and artist, there is always some anxiety when putting your work out there for critique. Yes, your family and friends love your work, tell you how good you are, and make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Remember how much your Mom loved that elbow pasta artwork you made in grade school? That's what friends and family are supposed to do, right? The public doesn't know you, however, and will have no problem telling you if something looks like crap. So when you step outside your comfort circle of friends and family, make sure you're wearing your thickest skin.

Here's a photo of my entry.

On Friday afternoon, the results of the contest were posted. The first notice I received was a congratulations posting on my FaceBook wall from a fellow woodturner and Turn and Burn competitor. (Thanks, Jeff). My piece earned a third place finish in the competition. I was surprised and humbled by the choice, considering all the outstanding work that was submitted.

Here's a link to the competition page, with the winning photos.


Even better was the award - a gift certficate to a favorite woodturning store to buy more tools! How cool is that??

Monday, August 2, 2010

Robert Frost Maple Carved Spoons - Part 2

The spoons are sanded, and ready for the pyrography.

I drew a maple leaf free-hand with a pencil, and then go over my outline with a 10-A handpiece using my Eagle Burnmaster. Once the outline is finished, I use a shading handpiece to darken around the leaf edge.

And here's a finished leaf on the handle.

The two spoons, front and back of the handle.

Two spoons, signed and dated on the back of the scoop.

Several coats of a hand-rubbed oil finish, every twenty-four hours, and ready for delivery!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Spoon Commission

I attended my first national woodturning symposium of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW) last month, held in Hartford, CT. There I met wooden spoon collector, Norman Stevens, who had a small portion of his vast collection on display. Cheeky me, I introduced myself, sharing that, while I spend most of my time as a woodturner, I have discovered and appreciate the satisfaction of using simple hand tools to carve spoons.

We exchanged business cards, and about 10 days later, I received a request to carve him a spoon. I suggested the spoon be carved from the maple tree harvested at the Robert Frost Farm, in Derry, NH. This tree is said to be the inspiration for many of Frost's poems, including "Tree At My Window". I was there for the harvesting in 2007, documenting the entire day with photographs. Mr. Stevens was thrilled with the proposal, since he is originally from Nashua, NH.

I started working on the Frost Maple spoon today. But before I touched that valuable wood, I first carved a prototype from a lilac branch, which appears in the upper left corner of the photo. I often make prototypes which help me work out design ideas, form and proportions. And for this project, I'm carving two identical spoons. There's simply too much riding on this commission to risk making a mistake, especially near the very end.

I'll document this project, too, and post my progress on this Blog. I think it's fitting, that the tool I'm using in the bottom photo, with the curved blade, was hand-made by Del Stubbs, a former woodturner. I'm using this tool to carve out the concave scoop portion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Binh Pho Coming Here!

I am honored to host a world-class woodturning artist, Binh Pho on June 12 & 13, 2010. His work can be viewed here, at his website: http://www.angelfire.com/il2/binhpho/

On Saturday, he will be demonstrating how he creates his thin-walled woodturned vessels by piercing them with high speed dental drill bits. Then using airbrushes, he paints scenes that depict events or stories drawn from his life.

On Sunday, a fortunate few will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on workshop, learning the techniques he uses to create his unique works or art.

And yes, I am a fortunate one :^)

I am sooooo looking forward to this, as I have been an admirer of his work since I became addicted to woodturning almost ten years ago. Need to go clean up my studio now!