Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Perfect Greeting Card

Shopping for greeting cards almost pains me.  Many that try to be funny are offensive to me.  Many heart felt ones are too sappy.  Unless I buy them at the Dollar store, they are way too expensive. So when the heavens open up and I find the perfect card, I am ecstatic.

This is the perfect card for me.  The decoration on the front looks like scherenschnitte but is really a wood cut ornament.  It was $5.  Wow. Thank you, Hallmark.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pyrographed Sugar Skull Spoon

This is another wood 
burned design.  Wow, did 
this one take a long time to burn!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oak Spoon

Weeks ago, after trekking through the woods, I came home with an oak branch.  I had carved sculptures out of oak before, but never spoons.

It got carved into a spoon pretty quickly. Then, it sat in my spoon collection, loved, but unused.  

I had read that spoons made out of oak need a lot of attention.  After they get wet, the grain rises up and you have to resand them a bit.  While I wanted to try using it for cooking, it took me a while before I could stop admiring it and start using it.

Today I gave it a test drive.  Though I don't usually leave my wooden utensils in liquids as they cook, I subjected this poor fellow to the full simmer in a pot of homemade applesauce.

The grain did rise a bit, but I really loved using the utensil.  I don't know that I would carve oak spoons to sell because people might not appreciate the roughness. Regardless, I adore the oak spoon and will use it in spite of its bad habits.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wooden Spoon Love

This week I've gotten numerous projects finished.  It may have been because of deadlines.  It may have been because of the piles of unfinished projects on my work space.  It might have been because of days and days of rain.  Regardless, I have cleared swaths of space in my studio.  Yippee!

This accomplishment also gave me time to spend carving without feeling guilty about the other things that needed attention.

I just finished this spoon.  It might just be my favorite spoon. least for the moment. The shape is pleasing to me and it is spalted just enough.

I'd like to just sit and hold it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sugar Skull Pyrography - Wooden Spoon

It's a rainy and yucky day here in Northern Virginia. Outside on the screen porch, where I often go to carve, its cold and damp. So I've spent my time down in my studio trying out pyrography. (Remember that woodburning tool you had as a kid?  That's pyrography.)

The spoon is a store bought one but the design is original.  It was fun to make and I'd like to make more of them.  They'll eventually go in my Etsy shop or become hostess gifts.

My friends tend to end up with lots of these sorts of things as gifts from me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Little Cutie - Wooden Spoon

I carved this little cutie today.  I've decided I need to change the silhouette of my spoons and I rather like this one.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Elementary Printmaking in My Studio

I'm using my elementary art skills today.

I Usually Dislike My Spoons

I usually dislike every spoon I make until near the end of the process. In its rough form I almost always think it is messed up beyond repair.  The urge to throw it away is quenched only because I know when I start sanding it, the spoon will magically become acceptable. Sanding is the least fun part, but that is when the beauty starts happening. Sanding is when I just have to persevere.

Here's what I was working on this weekend. This was the beginning step of carving a sycamore spoon. Ugly.

This was after the sanding happened.  I decided I liked it at this point.

Here's the spoon after it had been treated with "spoon butter." This is the point when I have a hard time letting them go.

An old schoolmate of my daughter is a chef and has requested a spoon.  I've been carving a few with her in mind.  Hopefully she can find a couple she likes in my collection.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bye Bye Spurtle

I just had to take some parting shots of the spurtle.  Every time I pick it up, I just have to rub it.  It just feels so smooth in my hands.  It goes in the US Mail tomorrow. Someone else wants to love it.

Monday, September 21, 2015

What I Am Working With.... Tree I.D.

As a wood carver, I should probably know what different woods look like, both as lumber and as as trees in the forest.  Some trees I can identify easily.  Beech, birch, pine, sycamore, sassafras, I know.  There parts of some trees that I know but not in connection with other parts of the tree.  For instance, I know what a black walnut NUT looks like, but not the bark or leaves.  So when Mark and I hiked through the woods today, I tried to be more observant of trees.  When I found the black walnuts on the path, I tried to find their tree and observe what the leaves and bark of the tree looked like.

I cut two pieces of wood from trees that had fallen to the ground. One was a piece of oak.  Oak leaves, I know.  Furniture made from oak, I know.  The tree? Not so much. Here's what a branch of oak looks like.
 Here's a split piece of oak.

Here's another one. I cut this piece of wood aware of what it was at the time, but now that we are home, I have forgotten.  
We think it might be poplar.  To remember this stuff, I probably need to either take photographs in the field or take notes.

Look what's on the inside of it though.  Worms!  Ew. Guess I'll leave this piece outside for a while.  Worm eaten wood is prized, so as soon as it is vacated, I will try carving it.
Worms leave behind a fungus and it colors the wood in interesting ways.  That funky wood is called "spalted wood" and you can pay a lot more for that than just the plain wood.

YouTube has helped me learn about some trees.  I grew up knowing what sassafras leaves looked like, but I didn't realize I only knew one of the leaves from that tree.  I thought they only had the three fingered mitten leaves, but actually, they have a single finger leaf, a double fingered one and a triple fingered leaf.  Crazy.

And then here's a cluster of leaves we see all the time but have no clue what sort of tree goes with it.  Suggestions?