Happy New Year!

argyleYes it turns out you can play the drums if you can count and hit things. You can’t play well but that wasn’t the question. It’s also really important to practice.  My goal is to play drums on at least one fawm song this year. I haven’t spent all my time counting and hitting I have also been working in the shop. I have two really cool barn board mosaics that I am finishing and i have been working on more abstract 3  dimensional stuff too.

I am not a resolution kind of person but I do hope to expand my creativity in 2017 and use the things I learned, opportunities I was given in 2016 to keep progressing and adding to my show schedule and skill set.  I am also planning a year long project 365 days of peace. every day I will make a  different peace sign every day for a year. I posted the first one to  to twitter yesterday because word press was down when I had the idea and wanted to commit to the project.

when I first got into wood working I learned how to cut on a scroll saw by cutting out peace signs. it was a great way to learn inside cuts and outside cuts.  It taught me how to cut curves and straight lines. So this project is a return to my roots I guess.

 

 

If I can count and hit things can I play the drums?

KIMG0194It’s  a serious question. Last summer I bought a partial drum set.  It came with a bass drum, chain driven pedal, 3 toms  but  no snare. It needs new heads, and some hard ware. A high hat and a cymbal would be cool too. Even in its present condition It’s fun to hit the toms and play around with rhythm patterns.  In fact the cat has started playing the kick drum with his tail. Since I don’t want to be shown up by the cat  I really want to fix it up and learn actual patterns and fills. The time is now!. It will be loud and I will probably end up with a bruise or two.  Does anyone have any tips for someone new to drum repair and drumming?   Continue reading

Southern Vermont Garlic Festival

KIMG0156It’s been a crazy summer. I am participating in the 50 song in 90 day challenge. as of this moment I have a meager 14 songs,  I am super busy,  I knew that it would be tough to juggle everything, and I have 30 days to catch up, Jess and I went to Clayton, NY for a wedding (Congrats again to David and Lara you’re both awesome.) The Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival starts tomorrow and I will be setting up my space in a few hours. Am I ready? Absolutely not. Will I be? Absolutely. Today is also My dad’s KIMG0157birthday and Slade’s Birthday. Happy Birthday guys and thanks for dedicating time on your birthday/birthday weekend to help me set up and sell my stuff.  My mom is leaving work early to help organize my merchandise. Jess is in the living room turning business cards into magnets and I am working on trivets and hoping to get one more table in before Saturday.  Which looks less and less likely as the hours tick by but I am still stubbornly optimistic. Which is disturbingly out of character. KIMG0158The silo that Jess and I lived in was directly across the street from the garlic festival grounds.  I have to admit that the prospect of standing there for 8 hours staring at the hole in the skyline where the silo use to be is not very appealing.  My mother, ever the planer has looked at the map and, has informed me that there will be a bounce house in the way but I think the silo was taller than a bounce house. In non garlic fest news.  Jess won’t let me use the washing machine to spin projects for spin art painting, I can’t imagine why. . . but  I have come up with a plan to use a brokenKIMG0155 record player instead. It beats using a coarse thread screw and a wood block.  I found a cool power pole in the woods by the hospital this week. I want it. It’s been cut up a bit already but it’s still too big to drag out of the woods, but with a chain saw, a drill, an ax, and a reciprocating saw I could cut it into more manageable pieces. I know poles like this are coated in creosote so that might be an issue. Anything else? Etsy shop will be fully stocked again soon.   Have a fun and safe labor day and if your anywhere near Southern Vermont this Labor Day weekend check out Garlic fest.

The Furniture Remix Project

What a crazy summer. I can’t believe in a few hours it will be August. I have a lot to do this month. I am the August artist of the month for the Bennington Arts Guild. I should be set up but I am not. I will go in and do that on Tuesday. If your in the BenKIMG0054nington area Friday, August 5, 2016 stop the Guild from 5-7 for my artist reception.  We are a month away from the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival.  I have a lot of work to do. I have been playing with the barn board. I managed to make a cool table.  The picture sucks but it looks cool in person. I have been experimenting with different edge techniques. I tried to use roofing nails. It was an interesting idea that took way too much effort and would require hundreds of nails. Sure It did not work out so well, but IKIMG0039 am going to try to use really thin sheet metal as an edge cover instead. When I use pine sometimes the finish is absorbed unevenly or sap leaks and you need to cover that or it looks unprofessional. Speaking of unprofessional i have decided that I will name my pieces instead of numbering them. I am lazy so  I will be naming them after songs I have written so I don’t actually have to come up with new tittles. Like i have a crazy red and black splotched thing with lots of holes and a few burn marks, it’s called “consequences have consequences” which happens  to be a song I wrote a few weeks ago for 50/90.   I am calling this scrap wood enterprise “The Furniture Remix Project” because I am using lots of different pieces of furniture and what I do is a kind of tactile remix. It’s giving a new identity to old pieces of wood. it’s a fresh perspective on old and damaged pieces.  Onward!

Frames, Benches and July

KIMG0008 (1)

a small sample of my new frame collection

KIMG0015

new mosaic, i swear in person it seems more square than rectangle but the photo is definitely making me question that

IMG_20140628_130852

you can never be too careful!

So? It’s July which means I have a ton of work to do.  I am the Featured Artist for the Bennington Arts Guild for August, and I have to get some major projects finished so I have a nice full booth for Garlic Fest, I also have some small events to prepare for so the last thing I should be doing is writing a blog post but what the heck. I have some cool new pieces I am working on.  I got 5 boxes of frame corners from a closing frame shop. This morning Jess walked down to our local bakery to get breakfast and Jen, the proprietor asked if I would be into some benches, so  I walked down this evening to check them up. They were in the basement which is cool, since I like to go into closed off places. They come from a meeting house in Wilmington, Vermont, they are leather and wood and  they still have the seat number medallions. In  a word they are awesome. I hope I can do them justice and everybody who passes through Bennington should visit the Bakkerij Krijnen. Not only do they have awesome food but they are super nice too!  What else? the 50/90 challenge starts in a few hours. I want to participate but I have so much work to do in the workshop. which means I will probably write 90 songs in 90 days as I do like to constructively procrastinate. Not exactly. I will write a few songs just because it’s fun and it’s a good exercise in creativity which helps my wood working too, or at least that is the story I am telling myself. 

Barn Board and an Artist Bio

IMG_20160522_090946 (1)I was lucky to get a pick up truck load full of barn wood two weeks ago. I have not made anything yet but it is some really lovely stuff, with lots of character and history. Wood is constantly changing. It loses moisture and shrinks, it absorbs moisture and expands. One of the cool things about working with wood is  how it can be altered by its environment.  What is nice about this selection is there are several wide planks, 12″ 13″ and 14″ and there are several boards over 6′ long. Wood like that can be difficult to come by. There are sections that are unusable because they are too dry but a majority of the wood is usable. There are 3 short  4″x 4″ posts, one piece that is 1″ thick, and the rest of the wood is planed to 3/4″ or 1/2″ thick. I am excited about working with this new wood.

I also came across some nice pieces of pine last week. I am rip cutting one of the piecesIMG_20160604_203940 in to 2″ wide strips to use for a frame in a table that I am working on.  My table saw does not work so I am using the circular saw to make my cuts. I have gotten pretty good at making straight cuts but there is occasionally a board that is a little wider or narrower. When that happens I just clamp them together and use a hand plane until they are the same width.

IMG_20160603_192442I am working on my bio and artist statement for the Art’s Guild. I always struggle with those kind of projects. I live in Vermont and I work with wood sums it up for me, but I need more than that.  Honestly I have trouble self identifying as an artist. I am getting  more comfortable the longer I do this but it still feels weird. If I want to sell my work wholesale I need to get over that. So no more putting it off. I will finish  my artist statement this week.

Bennington Arts Guild

IMG_20160529_131722I have been  busy in the workshop trying to build inventory, find new places to sell my work, and come up with new and fun ways to get my business noticed. I took a big step and submitted my work to the Bennington Arts Guild. It was a simple process and  I was able to pass the jury process. I left 3 pieces in the gallery to display and one has already sold!. I brought in 7 more items on Sunday when I went in to work my gallery shift. I am excited to have my stuff in a proper shop again. Now when a potential customer at a show asks where my stuff is available I can tell them that my stuff is available in the  Bennington Arts Guild Gallery store or my etsy shop.

IMG_20160529_131748 (1)Bennington holds an annual art/crafts fair every year called Mayfest. I have always wanted to rent space to sell my work, but it was over my budget so I never got beyond researching the possibility of setting up. The Arts Guild had a space for the event and one of the cool things about joining the guild is that I got to sell my stuff  in their Mayfest booth as long as I helped set up and take down the Guild space. It was hot but it was fun!  I talked to lots of people about my process and how I got into wood working. I handed out a ton of business cards,and sold raffle tickets for a guild fund raiser The guild is open Thursday-Saturday from 11-5, Sunday from 12-4. The Guild is located at 339 Main Street  Bennington VT 05201

New Designs and a Request for Show Suggestions

This week I have been looking for craft shows to sign up for and working on ornament ideas. I cut this primitive nativity scene out of a piece of scrap wood I found. I am not sure   what kind it is? It’s the same piece that I made the tree and the maple leaf with. It might be lace wood? Or a species of mahogany?  I like it and wish I had more. I find primitive ornaments are a great use for scrap wood. Much of the scrap is already distressed so it really is a great fit. Not all of my scrap wood is distressed of course and I can make ornate pieces work too. That’s one of the many great things about working with wood, it cleans up well. all it takes is some sand paper, elbow grease lemon oil and time.  I am also working on My Garlic Festival Application while  making and perfecting a garlic ornament.IMG_20160507_180151  The Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival. It’s a two day event that takes place over labor day weekend each year In Bennington,VT . It is primarily a celebration of garlic and food but there are lots of cool crafts for sale too.It’s a big event and it would be great if I could get in.  Reading the application I learned that even craft vendors have to have something garlic themed in their display. That makes sense but I have been thinking about what I could make to celebrate garlic? Originally I was going to make a box to be used as a garlic keeper but that would use a lot of wood. I want to make something that less complicated. I am working on a garlic trivet. It will have a garlic shape in the center and I will use the same shape to make a garlic ornament. I had been having trouble drawing garlic but I have improved and will unveil my garlic trivet and ornament sometime over the next 3 weeks! Do you know of an interesting craft show, festival, flea market or event In New England or New York? Pass on the details in the comments or on my facebook page.

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.