Thursday, July 1, 2021

Summer Spoons

I had been having a drought of green wood the last few months it occurred to me that by asking for some on my Facebook group called “Buy Nothing, Springfield,”people who would otherwise be putting their green wood in the yard waste bin, might toss some my way.

I got some cherry, Rose of Sharon, and Bradford Pear the other week. What a delight.

These 3 spoons are in process. After I smooth them out a bit I will do chip carving on them.

To keep that wood green while I’m working on other spoons, I put it in a bucket with water. I have to change it every couple of days though because I don’t want mosquitoes to lay eggs in it and it gets stinky. I’ll show my progress soon. Can’t wait to start doing chip carving on it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Papercutting - Self Portrait

 Here’s another scherenschnitte that I created during the Zoom class that I took. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Papercutting Class

 I'm taking a papercutting Zoom class this weekend. There is a wide range of skills of papercutting in there. Many people are artists in other media and are new to this. So, I am a little ahead of the game here since I have been papercutting for many years. I am learning some good, new tips along the way though. 

The assignment we did today was to take an image we found (or had) and turn it into negative and positive shapes. Since I used a photo out of the newspaper, I won't put it on a nice background and give it the appearance of being a finished work of art that I composed all on my own.  But, here's what I did today.

The paper I cut into was a heavy sheet of paper from the back of a magazine. I used it because it was dark on the majority of the paper. The original photographic image was one from the front page of our newspaper this week.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

First Pysanky Egg of the Season

Egg decorating season is upon us. I have had my new dyes and my workspace ready for weeks. I have been working on art lesson plans and felt like I needed to push through finishing that before getting my egg decorating time in.

I bought jumbo eggs from the grocery store, in the hope that they would have harder shells than the smaller ones. I am not sure about that theory now. Boring holes in them to blow out the egg matter, several got nasty, rough-edged holes, almost as big as a dime. Some blew open when I was emptying them. Some came out perfectly. So, I need to search for a better egg than just by size.

This is my first egg of the new pysanky season. 

It is just a doodle; unplanned and spontaneous. 

My next one is going to be a much harder design from Jane Pollak's book, Decorating Eggs - Exquisite Designs with Wax and Dye.

I also treated myself to a new pysanky book today. It's one from Lorrie Popow.  ((Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!) It will arrive in a couple of days.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Oh, Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Thy Earrings

I've gone to a couple of places recently that had Nordic Christmas trees for sale. They are very simple; a nice contrast to the often over the top Christmas decor.  However, being both frugal and handy, I had a hard time spending big money on something so simple.

At one of my favorite shops, they had a simple metal tree with Mexican milagros on it. I looooooooove it. I do not need it though. The one I saw was exactly like this one from the Sundance shop online.

The wooden ones looked like an easy build so I contemplated making my own. Then it occurred to me that I have many pairs of stained glass earrings that I haven't worn since I retired...and wouldn't they be pretty hanging in front of a window.

So I gathered scrap wood for the base and dowels for the tree trunk and branches.

I arranged my earrings on white paper to see how to best make them fit the tree's shape.

After guesstimating how to build this tree, I did a little sawing and drilling and then put it all together. My tree is a little off-kilter and wonky but it serves my purposes. I rather like it.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Scherenschnitte Christmas Card 2020

 Every year, designing my 3D scherenschnitte (paper cutting) Christmas cards takes FOREVER! I cut designs that I love but they take too long to produce en masse. Here's the one I have settled on to send this year. 

I started far away from that design though. After contemplating cutting a fancy covid molecule, my first real attempt was at a Celtic knot, thinking it would be quick and easy.  Nope. Not quick and not easy. 

Then I went for a beloved image; the matryoshka or babushka. 

I took pictures of myself dressed as a babushka to have a model to work from.  I liked the design but just could not seem to cut them very quickly.  That, plus the fact that when I asked people to tell me what the image was, they called it a Santa. Instead of adding more details to make it look more grandma like, I went to other designs that I just never loved.  My Christmas cards are 3D and I was going to sew together the babushka and bunny side with the boy, tree, and house side. 

Russian stacking dolls followed that. The face took too long and easily fell apart because it is so delicate. Again, for multiples, it just would take too long.  There were multiple iterations of that as I was determined that this was going to be the theme. 

Next, we move to birds. This is a delicate and small design. Once again, the intricacy was just too much.

This one, not enough action.

The birds inspired the final design though.  Actually, I bought a dishcloth at a Norwegian festival that had a similar bird on it and that is the image that inspired the final designs.  

Now I am in production mode.  Each Christmas card takes a minimum of an hour to produce....but all made with love and care. All a little bit different than each other.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Cherry Spoon with Chip Carving

 My sister called me to come visit after they took down a cherry tree.  I took several green limbs home and am now regretting that I didn't take far more.  I probably got eight spoons out of the lot.

Here's one I finished yesterday. It is being gifted to an old friend who grew up on the property from which that cherry tree grew.

I really like this one.  I am working on thinning out the bowl. It seems to me that, out of caution, most folks carve thick bowled spoons in the beginning. Well, at least after they carve holes in them a couple of times. I feel as though I did a nice job on thinning this one out.  

And I am happy with the chip carving.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Coffee Scoop Gift to Me.......from Me

 I carved this coffee scoop in the late spring. It was intended as a gift, though I loved it and wanted it for myself. (I have so few of my spoons that I love, as I give them all away!)

As I prepared carved wooden spoons for gifting, I photographed groups of spoons and let the recipients choose the one they wanted. No one ever chose this one. So, yesterday I decided that it was a sign that this was meant to stay here with me.  It is so goofy at how happy I am at a gift from me to me.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Spoons, Bikes, and Watermelon

Happy Fourth of July!

We did a 27 mile bike ride with friends this morning. There were lots of folks outside walking, paddling, and riding. I had my mask… one of those tube pieces of fabric, a.k.a. a Buff, and used it from time to time. Mostly I rode with out but if the trail looked crowded I flipped it up over my mouth and nose. 

It’s 2 pm and I am in my favorite space “in the house”; our screened porch. It is a bit warm but not at my limit. 

I will eat a little melon; carve on a spoon; and then retreat into the air conditioning when the thermometer nudges up just a little too far.  (Note: After sitting an hour or so in 90 degree heat, the air coming out of my fan felt like it was blowing out of an oven.)

The Most Difficult Part of Carving Spoons

The most difficult part of spoon carving for me, is the part where you box them up and mail them to loved ones. Parting with the spoons is not the hard part. It is the actual physical shipping and handling that is just no fun. 

These need to head out though. My goal is to take them to the post office on Monday. 

The spoon on the left gets delivered to a friend who lives near the post office, so that is handy. That one is oak and the wood came from my friend’s yard. 

The second from the left is from a piece of cherry that I got from a farmhouse in West Virginia; my favorite spot on the planet. The cherry branch had been in my freezer for a couple of years. That spoon goes to a friend who has been teaching yoga on Zoom for free during the pandemic. She isn’t expecting this gift.

The one in the middle and the one on the far right go to my daughter’s best friend from high school. She isn’t expecting anything either. The white one is (I think) tulip poplar and the large one on the far right is crabapple. Both pieces were sourced from my neighborhood. 

The apple had been trimmed from a yard up the street and was in a debris pile on the curb. The tulip poplar (or is it maple???) had fallen next to a creek in the woods across the street. This piece is intended as a coffee scoop and is two tablespoons deep. Upon reflection, a bright white wood may not have been the best choice for a coffee scoop. The discolorization it will get wouldn’t bother me, but it probably would bother a lot of folks.

The fourth spoon from the right goes to my sister. Her husband had to take down a tree in the front yard because it was dying. I love this wood!!! Hopefully I can get a few more pieces before it totally dries out. I grew up in the house my sister lives in so this wood is extra special for me. Kids from the old neighborhood have asked for a spoon made from that tree since it represents home. I need to made one for myself first.