Archive for the ‘Wood’ Category

a writing instrument…

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

For a lot of woodturners, pens are their introduction to the craft.

I have made up a few from kits, but it seemed like 90% fussing with assembly, and 10% working on the lathe.  Our Club president challenged all of us to bring a writing instrument to the May meeting, so I looked for a way to reverse those percentages.  I found ‘stick pens’ that use the guts from a Bic pen.  This definitely keeps the parts budget low, and the user can replace the ink cartridge any time with another Bic pen’s parts.

The first challenge is to find a drill bit long enough.  Luckily, Dennis Liggett always has the tool that I need for the job.  This time, he even drilled the holes.

These three are made from osage orange (‘hedge’ to a mid-westerner).  It is a straight, fine-grained wood for turning.  Some of the beautiful color mellows to a brown over time.  Nature’s improvement on plastics, and now, mine, too.

…a notion to revive a tradition

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Woodturners have been making fruit for over a hundred years, but we don’t see much of it in the US.  When we went to England, the turners made collections of fruit in different kinds of exotic wood scraps.  That way, the bowl was like  a memory palace for their work.

I’ve been experimenting with different color methods–fabric paint, fabric dye, acrylics, and milk paints.  Here’s a snapshot of my progress so far.  The pomegranate took a bit of carving, too.

New work for 2016 selling season

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

These Clock Blocks will be our feature item for the Kay & Dennis Studio Tour in September.  They start as circular designs made on the wood lathe and airbrushed with color. The big piece is then cut into squares.   We add zentangles®, bronze paint, and the clock insert.

The blocks are a terrific desk accessory that can be rearranged, or decorated further with upholstery nails, stickers, or drawings on the ‘plain’ sides.

When you are a quilter…

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

….everything looks like a quilt.

This wall sculpture started in a class with Nick Agar ( at Craft Supplies in Provo, Utah.

I was frustrated by the scale of the original turning.  Most of my surface design methods were too detailed in the early stages.  It turns out that I don’t have a good sense of what the carvers call ‘modelling’ for 3D effects on a 2D surface.  So the only solution for me was to divide, and divide again, until the scale of the work seemed right.

Nine-patch is a common way that quilters divide space.

Sometimes you just have to keep going…

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Of the blocks left over from the 9-patch composition, I found these four for a smaller piece.  They had quite a bit of bare wood.  For the 2 5/8″ squares, zentangles in ink were just about the right level of detail.

I chose the composition for both of the wooden quilts.  Next time, I won’t create a fixed design.  While I was working on them, visitors to the studio really enjoyed playing with the blocks.  If adults can rediscover coloring books, blocks must be the next big thing.

–hard maple, 11″ square at the first turning; divided into 4, each turned again and then divided into fourths, for 16 blocks total to make up the two ‘quilts.’

Treen at TLCA show opening September 11th

Monday, August 31st, 2015

These smaller items will be at the Tri-Lakes show in the Affordable Art display.  We turners call this kind of work ‘treen’ or useful stuff made from trees.

The bowls are emerging from solid maple burl blocks, and carved with scalloped edges–4 or 5 inches diameter.

The canteen with the medallion is walnut, the teardrop canteen is brazilian cherry.

All of these woods are wonderful to work on the lathe.

The show is called ‘From the Earth’ and features wood art in all sizes, including furniture.

Do you Tangle?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

It was cold and slippery the weekend of our Studio Tour holiday sale, so I brought along some blank versions of these aspen ornaments.  Nancy, Ginny, and Kathleen all spent part of the afternoon sitting by the fire, drawing their designs  on the aspen.  (See all of their work on the Front Range Open Studios page)

It turns out that Zentangle® designs are everywhere!  This creative drawing method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  You can find materials, instructions, and list of Certified Zentangle teachers on their website,   There are hundreds of ornaments with these types of designs on the internet.  I think ours were the most fun, however, because we made them with friends.

Time for Empty Bowls

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Dennis and I are working together to make at least 40 bowls for the fundraiser on October 9th.   100% of the $20 admission goes to the food pantry at Tri-Lakes Cares.  Years ago, when I made pottery bowls, I wondered who needed public assistance in the Monument/Palmer Lake region.  Now I know that hunger is among us, no matter where we live.    The volunteer doctor for Tri-Lakes Cares, Dr. Bob Gibbs, is our woodturning friend, and he supplies most of the wood used to make the wooden bowls at the event.

Dennis often turns the bowls, and I add some decoration.   

Once in a while, the design is already in the bowl, as with the little bird.  A knot forms his eye.

Leaves are already perfect in nature.  It is difficult to choose an arrangement that doesn’t look natural!

All of the decoration is done with woodburning and acrylic colors.  The artwork is sealed with acrylic.  Acidic foods and washing will degrade the color.   Although it is non-toxic, the artwork and finish polyurethane will eventually wear off with use.  The bowls are not dishwasher safe!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

We have deep snow under the pine trees, but there is a whiff of Spring in the air.  I listen to the Russian Easter Overture for a reminder that Easter sometimes includes sleigh bells!   The three cupolas are an original fabric sculpture suppported by wooden bases turned from cherry.  They can earn their rent by serving as pincushions.

Wood provides a wonderful way to craft a shape for painting.  This candlestick carries two Easter Lilies and a 5″ coach-sized pillar candle with a ‘clean linen’ scent.    The design was burned and painted with acrylics on a ground of milk paint.

Inside the white lines

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Fish Cube quilt

Silk painting uses a resist line to prevent the spread of the paint.  When the resist is removed, a white line remains around each area of color.  The white lines are a record of the way the painting was done.   Block printing can also produce a white line.  American printmaker Blanche Lazell used white lines for both abstract and pictorial prints (From Paris to Provincetown–Blanche Lazell and the Color Woodcut by Barbara Stern Shapiro, 2002, MFA Publications.)
The white line is something reserved by the process.  It is related to the preservation of white areas in watercolor.  In the Lazell seascape and landscape woodcuts, it adds a light and airy element to the work.  For quilting on silk, it creates a similar watercolor feeling.  Silk is a very luminous fabric, so the white lines organize perceived light in the work.  This method is visible in photo of the Fish Cube quilt.
For a free-motion quilter, the lines become a drawing that invites a clear or white thread to give texture to the work.  As in woodcuts, the quilt is a harmony of shapes. The lines are more fluid than seams, providing the quilter with the ability to create shapes that would be difficult with patchwork.
I have recently discovered a way to convert the lines and textures of pyrography into a white line on wood.  After the design is burned and color is applied, I rub a white liming wax into the texture.  The opaque wax fills the incised lines and eliminates the heavy burn marks of the pyrography.  The photo shows a detail of a platter made of ash.

detail from turtle platter