Tactile Interactive Abstract Art

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In December I was asked to make a small work of art that used scrap materials and could be explored visually and through touch.  I had been thinking about incorporating shapes with different thicknesses to give more texture and depth to the mosaic wall pieces and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment and make something different. Most of the mosaics I make give the illusion of depth visually, but intentionally adding a third dimension that would have to function as a visual element and be interactive was daunting. I had a few days to come up with ideas and a week to ship it.  My original concept was to take a bunch of shapes arrange them into a mess and cut  that mess into a circle. I played around with patterns. Maybe I should make a tree? that would be cool. I decided that I was only going to use triangles. a tree triangle, not exactly breaking new ground but it would be something. Continue reading

Stars, Ornaments, Puzzles

IMG_20160503_192631I did a finish coat on the stars that I am making and the water based spray paint is working well with the lacquer, at least so far. I will do one more lacquer coat and it will be time to assemble them. So far I have made 4 of these stars and I really like them. The first pair were a gift and I used stain and lacquer. I had every intention of keeping this pair natural but I really wanted to play with my new paint and since I do a lot of work with red and yellow I figured why not.  I cut out ornaments this week too. I am playing with a new Christmas tree design and using negative space to work on a maple leaf ornament. Ideally using negative space wastes less wood as you have the ornament which has the shape cut out, and IMG_20160503_192520you have the shape which you can use as an ornament or as inlay in something else. I messed up the shape when I cut it but a maple leaf is one of those things that looks far easier to make than it is. A natural leaf has symmetry but there are little imperfections that are really hard to duplicate, so hopefully these will get better as I work on them. I am not sure what type of wood this is? I actually found it and there is some water damage. It is definitely craft wood as it is so thin. it’s a mystery. I also cut out a pumpkin puzzle and laid out a Menorah puzzle I have been thinking about.  I made a small Menorah candle stand a few years ago and I really liked it, I attempted a Menorah puzzle too but the pieces were too narrow and I really wanted to use Olive Wood. I still don’t have Olive Wood in fact I think I am using some rough cut pine that I had in the shop, but I did make the base a bit wider and hopefully there is more support. Wish me luck.

Thanks Jays! 44 years of Awesome Art suplies

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I am an open cabinet

It’s officially May and my cabinet does not have  doors, so now it is a deep shelf storage unit with a mosaic top. I have trim that I will nail to the face and the sides and post to etsy. I was going to do some outline painting inside the cabinet, but I might not.  I am working with a new type of paint and I don’t think the paint I have now is compatible with the new stuff.  Looking for inspiration we hit the streets of downtown Bennington on Friday and wandered into Jays cards and gifts on Main street in IMG_20160501_174403Bennington VT. They were celebrating 44 years in business with a sale, 50% off all items. They reach a milestone and we get the gift! They sell a water based spray paint made by Montana colors that is used in mural work and graffiti, it comes in tiny 100 ml spray cans and it is amazing. I sprayed two of my stars yellow and two of them red and they look great! I probably could have gotten away with one coat but I missed a small spot on an edge that would have driven me crazy. I am going to use the traditional glue and screw attachment method put on some razor hangers and voila one more project completed. It is not due until July but I need to start making mock ups soon.

Rough Cut Pine Stars and other Shapes

IMG_20160419_193013I had a long piece of 3/4 inch thick rough cut pine sitting around. It was in good shape with  some wear to it, and a few nail and screw holes.  It  had been used as a wall board in a previous life and I wanted to make a pair of 3d stars with it. Before cutting I inspected it, pine is very knotty and I have found that the knots don’t work out so well when making stars.  I cut it down into 5 12″x 10″  rectangles . I inspected them again and picked the 4 best rectangles and drew my star shape on each piece. I used a compass to draw a circle on the fifth piece. I cut each piece carefully on the scroll saw. I also cut out my circle. I will use the circle as the base to a pedestal table at some point in the future.  I took a piece of 80 grit sand paper and sanded each star smooth. I will continue to sand to 220 grit, then I will apply a spray lacquer and attach two stars together to create a 3 d effect. For wall mount stars I will join the two stars with screws and add razor hangers to mount the star. For hanging stars I will use screws to attach the stars but I will use dowels  to hide the drill holes and  fishing line to hang the star. Continue reading

Coffee Table Progress

WIN_20151108_183137 (2)I am almost finished with the coffee table top. I hope to glue it up Friday, and attach the top sometime this weekend. This mosaic is more colorful than others I have made. Most of my painted scrap wood is white, black, red and occasionally blue. I had some yellow and orange pieces that I have been WIN_20151108_183212saving for the right project, since the base I am using is yellow I thought this was the right table for the yellow and orange scraps. To attach the top I will have to reinforce and tighten the legs and add extra supports. It looks like yellow was not the original color, it may have been green. Before I add the top  I may do a little sanding and expose some of the green, giving it a distressed look. I think it wood look cool. What else am I up to?  I put another wall hanging on etsy. It’s made from pallet wood, cutting board cull and barn board. IMG_20151107_210440I painted another peace sign, the new one is orange and blue. I hope to put that up once the paint dries. I finished painting the airplane puzzle and frame. This one is a prototype, I painted the frame with enamel paint which would be unsafe for kids. If I decide to sell it I would sell it as a decorative item only. Most likely I will keep it to use as a template for other plane puzzles. When I make new puzzles I will leave them natural  and apply a food safe oil or paint using non toxic kid friendly paint.

small wall hanging

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1″ scrap wood mosaic

I am still working on the coffee table. It’s been a while since I have tackled a mosaic piece so large and i am growing impatient with the process.. The coffee table is approximately 36″x18″ which doesn’t seem that big until your staring at the vast  empty substrate that needs to be covered.  That’s a tad melodramatic, I am actually making a lot of progress, I am about halfway through the mosaic  now. If all goes according to plan, it should be finished in the next week. For my next project,  I had planned on making  of small wall hangings, and selling them as a pairs.  Most of my mosaics use 3/4″ wood for both the frame and the mosaic design.  I have some 1″ thick pieces that I thought would work as frames. I  don’t have a thickness planer so my first idea was to use the thicker wood,for the frame and use 3/4″  pieces for the mosaic,creating a shadow box. I dry fit some pieces to see what it would look like. It looked okay but there was something off about it..  I dug through  the wood pile looking for any 1″ thick scrap.  I found walnut, oak,,cherry, cedar, and,pine. I put together a quick pattern, and I have enough wood to make at least one more 1″ thick piece.

Harvest Festival

Norman's Attic August 2015

Normans attic August 2015

Tomorrow, September 26 I will be in Arlington,VT from 9 am to 5 pm for the St. James Episcopal Church 2015 harvest festival. Stop by, say hi and check out some of my work. I have a few puzzles, wall hangings and tables to sell. The weather is suppose to be great, it should be a fun day. The festival takes place on the church grounds and the arlington village green.

Wooden Wall Hanging

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wall hanging 1 formerly a table ,briefly a shelf

I have been working on several new projects this week. I am adding a mosaic top to a beat up broken cabinet. I am experimenting with using large 1″ in diameter dowels as table legs. I am also   designing and building smaller mosaic pieces that I plan to sell as wall hangings. I have an etsy store now and I need to have some items that are not too complicated or too expensive to ship. Making wall art seemed to be the the way to go. Continue reading