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Janel

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This piece was introduced in the Materials forum, How to finish a piece of wood? topic. I've been shooting images during the carving, but have not wanted to begin a tutorial or pictorial show yet. I want to be sure the whole thing works before hanging out the uderwear, but I will post this shot of the dragonfly:

 

379_9055_w.jpg

 

The wood is Pacific Madrone.

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Hi Janel,

 

Lovely! At least what you've shown us so far... I have lots of madrone growing at my house, and really don't like carving it very much. Seems hard but brittle, nondescript grain and color, and really likes to move a lot. We've made several basket rim/carved lid combinations that love to change shape and stick depending on the humidity. Makes great firewood, though...

 

However, you've done several successful pieces in it over the years - how about a description about how you like it, good and bad points, etc?

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Thank you! Cross your fingers for good luck with the following days please.

 

I'll do a description and add photos later for the overall project. I am waiting to see if it all works out first. Just teaser photos here and there for now.

 

My camera needs to be repaired. The W-T toggle (Wide-Telescopic) lost a spring I think. It won't work and rattles a bit. It's lived an active life so far, and has taken over 9000 images so far. (Some were actually keepers! What fun it has been.) Life at the studio is a bit rough on it, I guess. My son's little digital camera might do in a pinch for the interim until mine returns from the shop.

 

The Pacific Madrone is carvable, is a little open which shows up when sanding, and carves better in one direction than another. There is a little chatoyance, in a different presentation than the curly maple. It isn't boxwood, being less hard, but it is a firm wood. It was the best choice available for the needed size. This is one of the multiple risks I am taking with the whole piece. Work currently takes a very delicate, steady and careful hand. No wee hours carving for now. Life on the edge causes one to learn.

 

Sorry to hear about the fact that it likes to move. Oh well, too late.

 

It is very interesting to be deciphering the anatomy of the dragonfly. Up close with magnification, the functional parts are awesome. The artist gets to interpret and reduce to what is characteristic of the critter, and carve what is possible.

 

I am already wondering what another material might contribute to this wonderful subject, and which ones I might choose.

 

I hope you all have a great weekend. Our son returns home tomorrow, after a week away. The pace will ramp up tomorrow afternoon! It has been peaceful...

 

Janel

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Hi Janel,

 

What a tease of a photo! The Madrone looks like it is working well at this size. I've used it somewhat and only found the stock I had to be brittle when it's down to teeny thicknesses trying to stand on their own. Since your piece is a relief carving maybe the thickness won't ever be that vulnerable....

 

Color wise, I thought it was similar to the lighter shades of steamed Pearwood - only slightly more orange when oiled or waxed.

 

In any event, it'll be beautiful next to that curly Maple :)

 

Christine

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The dragonfly is about 4" from wing tip to wing tip, and is sculptural, not a relief carving. It rests upon blades of grass, which will "float" on the water piece, the curly maple.

 

I will be preparing pieces of both woods to test the finishes and potential for stain with the dragonfly when the carving is complete.

 

Why is Pearwood steamed?

 

Janel

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  • 1 month later...

379_1w.jpg

 

379_2.jpg

 

379_3.jpg

 

 

 

After months of experimenting with finishes, and an excruciating many minutes, it is joined and complete.

 

I practiced and timed the rehearsal process for gluing the two pieces together, but the epoxy almost won when the real gluing took place. The ten minute epoxy began to set in under 3 minutes. I managed and the joints are stuck fast, but this was worse than speaking to a large group of people. By minute 3 I was shaking with adrenalin when I knew that the most of the glue spots had glue, but it was becoming difficult to find usable mix by the last spot. It paid to have rehearsed, the top piece went into place without difficulty. I also masked the areas just outside of the grass tips, to keep from erring on the finish. I really don't want to do this again! How nerve wracking! I'll have to find a slower epoxy if I do though...PHEW!

 

May I finally present... "Dragonfly"

 

I went on to photograph each of this summer's new pieces, but will refrain from showing all of them now. I need to go to bed. Departure Tuesday for the show.

 

Janel (who imagines me as a twitching on the floor smilie)

 

ps Yes, there is a little open air at the bends of the front legs. I did not do a detail shot of that though.

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Thank you. I'm still a bit shakey this morning! Gotta learn how to take it easy!

 

Robert, I am just learning along with everyone else, but thank you kindly! The water and dragonfly are two different pieces of wood, thus the angst with the gluing.

 

Oh Don, I wish that you could see the show too! We never get to play and just do that though!

 

Sergey, the dragonfly was so delicate and a marvel to learn its form.

 

Jim, the decisions were difficult. The color and finish treatments removed the "wood about wood" from the carving. If the dragonfly were wood toned (uncolored) it would have been the same color as the water and just did not have the attributes I had hoped for in a wood, not enough contrasts to separate one from another.

 

In addition, I have never put layers of finish on any of my work before (except for the coloring) Steep learning curve, which I think will be left to the furniture makers after this. (Implying that they know more about finishes on wood!)

 

Off to the races!

 

Janel

 

ps I did'nt get the color adjustment quite right last night in the above photos. The colors are rich but perhaps a little less dense and a bit brighter. I see there is work to do even yet!

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Janel,

 

I can but echo the general sentiments already expressed. I particularly appreciate the way you`ve positioned the composition on the "ripples" of the maple. I also think that you`re treatment of the body of the beast is quite convincing, that almost translucent quality, a bit like french poilsh. the wings appear almost painterly to me, I remenber the earlier images of the work in progress and was impressed then at the textural quality of the carved surface of the wings, I like the way the carved marks representing the cells of the structure now have been defined by the finish you chose.

 

i`m even more inclined now to see how I might approach the same subject matter in metal, ta!, and thanks for letting us have a peek.

 

regards, Ford :lol:

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Thanks Ford,

 

I was reluctant to use a painterly approach, but simple mono-chromatic staining for the carved pacific madrone was unpleasant in the tests. In general, I don't like making an opaque cover color for wood, but there was not much else to choose from my "bag of tricks". I'm curious to see what might happen with metal when you are up to it!

 

Here is the whole piece:

 

379_4w.jpg

 

 

Janel

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ahh- that last photo you've posted really brings the whole piece into perspective. I like the way you resolved the base of the carving- rather than choosing to keep the water in a 'slab' form, you've made it much more dynamic with the taper. It's like you've taken a slice out of a pond on a summer's day to enjoy all year 'round :lol: !

The water effect of the wood grain is particularily pleasing...

 

Will you be bringing this to the INS convention?

 

I checked through the messages of this thread, and couldn't find dimensions anywhere?...

 

Have a great time in Chicago.

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Thank you, Doug! I thought that it would help seeing the whole piece. I'll bring it if it has not been sold this weekend.

 

LxWxH

6 x 4.9 x 2.2 inches

15.3 x 11.3 x 5.5 cm

 

I am almost on my way, another hour or so, getting the booth packed into the car...

 

See you all here next week!

 

Janel

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I have returned safely!

 

New carvings and one old were sold to great clients. I am happy about where the pieces are going to be spending their days. Also, we will survive for a while longer, without my having to seek a "real" job. (I have not had one yet!)

 

The other news, (blushing, twisting the toe into the sand smilie) I was awarded the "Overall Excellence" award (as in best of show). Dollars and an automatic entry in the show next year accompanies the blue ribbon! Guess where I will be again in late August in 2006! The award was a wonderful surprise, since this show was comprised of mature artists showing their best work from decades of experience and some really great younger artists. (I know this, because I was one of the six jurors which selected the artists for this year's show.)

 

Here is a shot of the show floor before the artists arrived for the day's work. I had put my carvings back in the case, but had not turned on the lights, sorry. My booth is the one in the middle of the photo, with the, ahem, blue ribbon... I put up a five case display, and this year I had only 11 pieces being shown, which included ten for sale and the commission piece, Red Lily. Seeing the show from above presents a different perspective on one's experience. We all spend up to eleven hours in a 10 x 10 foot area conversing with the droves of folks who come to see the show. By eight p.m. Sunday night, the floor is bare save for the litter. This event took place in an indoor tennis court at the Henry Crown Sprots Pavilion of the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Illinois. The place where the artists sat for a short break had a view of Lake Michigan. It was a restorative break for me, staring at the waving grasses and breaking waves. Quite a contrast from the other part of the day.

 

Just a note about the reason for the creation of the show (21st event this year)... It is sponsored by the Auxiliary of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, and the proceeds support breast and ovarian cancer research at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare which is a major hospital facility just north of the city of Chicago, Illinois.

 

Now, the show floor:

 

showfloor_w.jpg

 

It is good to be back and reading your posts.

 

Janel

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