Sunday, October 31, 2010
Typically, I use what I have available in my studio for smaller works unless I absolutely have something else in mind which demands other material. A little searching through my inventory of materials, I found what I needed. Metal rod, some stone pieces, and a very nice fairly hefty piece of figured big leaf maple.
These materials have specific dimensions associated with them, so the next phase is how to combine these materials into a sculpture which brings forward the vision I have in mind. The vision is to somehow demonstrate how three different elements can come together cohesively. A few sketches and design iterations later, and it came to me on how to put this all together. Next came the technical aspect of the creation, how to attach three completely different elements together as well as sculpting the main wood body into the desired shape.
The result is above and judging from initial feedback I have received, it is not bad as a sculpture. I enjoyed the process of designing and creating this particular sculpture as it presented some challenges to my skill set. This is the first time I have combined these particular three elements into one piece and hopefully I will be able to use this experience to continue exploration into these alternative mediums.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I decided to use the mesquite as the base of the sculpture and the chunk of blackwood as the upper part. A few sketches later and a rough vision of the intended sculpture began to emerge. Since the sculpture was to be as natural as possible I minimized the shaping which needed to be done to merge these blocks of wood together. The blackwood with live edge depicts a slice of the tree ( bark included) and the mesquite base (with cracks and fissures) depicts the particular mesquite tree ( warts and all) used in this sculpture.
The finish is thinned shellac to maintain the natural tones and colors of the woods. Each time I stare at this sculpture I think of the tree the blackwood originated from and the great contrast between the figured mesquite and staid blackwood above. The blackwood with live edge brings home the fact that this piece of wood is straight from a tree.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
I like to work with contrasting woods and with this in mind the sculpture slowly began to take shape. This particular sculpture is composed of three pieces which need to mate correctly. I very often utilize non-standard angles and curves in my work so part of the process is to device ingenious methods to attach the pieces of the sculpture together. Having done this, the rough sculpture slowly evolves into a fine, polished sculpture. The sculpture is named "Hidden Treasure" and depicts a gem or diamond hidden or captured between dark walls. The gem itself is of curly maple whereas the walls are of cocobolo. I enjoyed the process of creating this sculpture and look forward to creating more of this type of work.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I decided to apply light , thinned tung oil to the cherry door frames to both protect the joinery from any moisture change and to keep the wood from staining and attracting dirt. These frames will slowly develop a nice aged cherry look with a patina. My next challenge was attaching the cabinets to the different walls. I gave some consideration to the weight of the cabinets and the tools I would be placing in them and decided on a mounting rail. The mounting rail is installed in the interior of the cabinets at the very top where the top and back intersect. I used hardwood cherry for this and glued and screwed it to the cabinet through the top and then attached the cabinet through the cherry mounting rail to the wall studs using large wood screws. I also screwed the back into the wall studs along the length of the back.
I like to remove any doubt as to the strength of the hanging cabinets as you can see. On the other cabinet I also installed a hardwood cherry cleat below the cabinet and into the wall studs for additional strength but realized afterwards it was not really necessary. It was enjoyable making these cabinets and I now have so much more room for small tools and hardware in my studio. It's great when everything works out as planned!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I will build two of these cabinets since I would eventually need another and the extra effort in creating a second cabinet is far less when they are made at the same time. The cabinet itself is assembled with dimensionally stable baltic birch plywood. The joinery is rabbets in the corners reinforced with plugged screws. The shelves ( 2 per cabinet) are housed in dadoes within each of the side panels. I applied solid cherry edging to the functional edges of the baltic birch plywood primarily for aesthetic reasons since I intend to have the door frames of solid cherry. These cabinets were designed and created with a small budget in mind, and since they are somewhat utilitarian I did not want to spend needless amounts on top grade wood. In fact, I used some cherry seconds I had in my lumber pile.
The door panels are thinner baltic birch pieces. I cut the best pieces from a larger piece of baltic birch ply for these panels, focusing on the lighter colour and appealing graphics to complement the cherry frame. The panels are inset into grooves in both the rails and stiles. The door frames are assembled using dowels. I took extra time to select better grain orientations for the long stiles to eliminate any twist possibly causing the doors to warp. I also installed solid edging on the shelf fronts to create a uniform cherry appearance once the cabinet doors are opened.I decided to use piano hinges to attach the doors to the cabinet since I already had a few of the piano hinges and I wanted both cabinets to be identical. More on the cabinets and I will have a photo of one of the cabinets mounted on a studio wall once the second cabinet is completed.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
When I flip through examples of furniture and decorative art representative of previous periods and styles, it is easy to see what worked and what didn't work. The design elements which are pleasing and well-proportioned are carried into later periods, whereas the not so pleasing styles typically die off. Another trend which I notice is how previous styles of furniture are sometimes renounced and discarded only to be replaced with a radically different style of furniture. We see this very same phenomenon today in everything ranging from fashion, automobiles, and continue to see it in furniture styles and decorative art. A "revival" of a previous period, style of furniture, or decorative art then occurs, much like what occurs in the fashion world today.The reason I raise this is that this is something to consider for designers and furniture makers today. We all have our favorite style as makers, but it may be important to incorporate proven design elements in our designs, the elements which have demonstrated the most success over the past few centuries. Since what we are designing is often derived from a previous style or work, it makes more sense to derive elements from the successful styles of furniture or decorative art.
I'm a big fan of clean, simple lines with minimal adornment, although I like to incorporate some inlay and color into my work. The inlay work sparks my creativity and in a strange way provides me the impetus to complete the furniture so as to add the inlay detail. I can relate the piece of furniture to a large canvas and the inlay is the artwork. Other makers might define themselves through another feature on their work, perhaps some carving or marquetry. George Hepplewhite often distinguished his work with added inlay. A large proportion of Hepplewhite and Federal style furniture is inlaid with the exotic woods which had come into popularity by the late part of the 18th century and early 19th century. The work in the photo is representative of my minimal adornment philosophy.