It was a slow day—the type of show where artists and craftspeople spend most of the time talking to each other.
Items like models, patterns and proportional dividers are as important to your carving as sharp gouges and knives.
Two of the best artists I've known were fluid on the choice of media.
Around late October, I put some time aside from whatever projects are ongoing in the shop to work on treen - woodenware.
A twelve-step program for compulsive tool buyers might help. But I have a thing about being away from my tools for meetings. Just taking the time to write this keeps me away from browsing the Lee Valley site, not to mention Rockler, Woodcraft, and Highland Woodworking.
Lots of us have small shops either through design or necessity. In my case, I deliberately downsized as I shifted from doing larger maritime work like quarterboards and transoms and started focusing on ship and boat portraits. Whatever reason you have for smaller quarters, I encourage you to rethink the conventional wisdom that large is always best.
In January, I started what I thought to be a quick project for a portrait of the halibut Schooner Republic. There was not much online where I began, and even less available in terms of print sources. My collection at home also came up dry. I was able to complete the project in March but wished that I had better documentation.
I found the wood sitting in the shorts at my favorite hardwood dealer. It was very dark, heavy, and dense. It was mahogany but so dark and heavy that I felt that it was a wayward piece of Dominican and not Honduran. It was just what I wanted. I was interested in, one with a distinctive font ( Barnhard Modern) and to give it both a center and ends that undulate. The result was pleasing. At shows, people run their hands over the banner as a sensual experience, precisely what I wanted.
For many years, my constant associate was a large gray cat with attitude issues. Clancy J. Bumps ( with an umlaut over the U) was a feral cat who claimed me while I was living in Ottawa, Ontario in 1969. Clancy entered my life by walking up to my friends and me one day. He looked us over, and choosing me proceeded to climb up my leg, my back, and onto my head. He thereby claimed me as his personal property.
"Now let the tool do the work. The edge is sharp. All you have to do is guide it." That was me to a student at the WoodenBoat School years ago. More recently, sensei said to me, "Lou, the sword is sharp, let it do the cutting. All you have to do is guide it." …