Saturday, February 18, 2012

New Craft

In order to get ready for the Baltimore American Craft Council show next week I've developed a new series of geometric tea candle holders and flower vases. For quite a while I've been thinking about how to make a series of inexpensive items I could sell along side my shellac work so that I can have a wider range of price points. Though I have no idea how popular they will be, the price point is certainly within reach of anyone who walks in the building.

Still, the most important thing is that I find the work sculpturally interesting enough to make because if I get bored making something, it just isn't going to get done. Thankfully, I feel that I have covered that issue as well. If I were an art critic, looking "objectively" at them, I think I'd say that the random angles add a level of surprise to the pieces and the minimalistic flat surfaces play well with the contrasting complexity of the natural wood grain.

Most interesting for me, however, is how I find them to be an inspiration for non-functional sculpture. I think it would be fun to make something that is conceptually similar without having to worry about functionality. I can see making a much bigger piece that would have real presence without being overbearing. Maybe I'll play around with some ideas when I get back from Baltimore.

The piece below was the first of the series. I was thrilled to find a use for a small chuck of scrap lumber that was very close to becoming someone else's fire wood.
curly birch tea candle holder
5" x 12" x 6"
This one was made with a scrap I had been carrying around since somewhere around 1999. I remember I used the lumber for a couple of nightstands that I'm still real proud of.
curly maple tea candle holder
5" x 22" x 6"
curly birch tea candle holder
5.5" x 17" x 6"
This one (below) is currently available at Artisans Hand Craft Gallery in Montpelier.
curly maple flower vase
5" x 24" x 3"

cherry flower vase
4.5" x 19.5" x 1.5"
These last too were going to be made with just two sections but they weren't stable enough so I added the third. Sculpturally, I think the third piece works well.
curly birch flower vase
5.5" x 24" x 2.5"

curly maple flower vase
6.5" x 27" x 3"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Side Two

Back in 2009 I had experimented with cutting grooves and filling them with epoxy. I had made a series with two-inch thick boards that I resaw-ed and to create two 1-inch thick sculptures with the same rectangular patterns on both sides. Because one of the halves had holes all the way through, I filled some of them with tinted clear epoxy; the matching half was filled with just black opaque epoxy.

Although I finished, and had long since sold, the black opaque epoxy halves, the tinted clear epoxy halves remained unfinished, stacked in my studio, because I wasn't sure how to highlight the tinted epoxy. I had thought that I could build a light box and use LEDs inside but when I realized that the battery life was too short, I gave up that idea. Recently, however, I decided to paint their backside white so that any light would reflect back out, resulting in a little of the same effect.

Here are the finally finished pieces next to their older counterparts. Had I figured this out a couple of years ago, I'm sure I would have made them diptychs. Regardless, it is nice to finally have the inspiration to finish an older piece.
 One Green Rectangle (left)/Eleven Rectangles w/Blue (right)
shellac on curly maple, cherry, and epoxy
30.5" x 10" x 1"

Pistacchio (left)/Gelato (right)
shellac on curly maple, cherry, and epoxy
26" x 11" x 1"
 Anticipating Spring (left)/Green Grass - Summer Day (right)
shellac on curly maple, cherry, and epoxy
26" x 11" x 1"
The story on these final two pieces is a little different. It took me about 1.5 years to finish the black opaque epoxy piece (rightside), and after I was done I was so frustrated with how long it took that I didn't want to sell it. As a result, I titled it NFS and didn't display it until recently when I had finished its matching pair, On Second Thought, which sold before I could capture a good image of it. Below is a booth shot, hence the greenish border.
On Second Thought (left)/NSF (right)
shellac on curly maple, cherry, and epoxy
15" x 11.5" x 1"