Friday, May 23, 2008

Say Ah-h-h!

Ron Cook Studios has been pretty active lately. A few weeks ago, I got a call-for-entries notice from the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design. The subject: "Birds + Their Dwellings."

Almost immediately, my mind started thinking about a type of birdhouse. It would have a hand-carved face, sort of a green man or wood spirit face, but with an open mouth for the birds to enter through. Then I though it would be great to have a long tongue sticking out for birds to perch on.

I'm given quite a bit of urban orchard wood, as well as salvaged woods from old furniture and demolished buildings. Usually, I resaw logs into boards that I let dry for a few years before using. Shorter, small logs and branches, I set aside to use for things like carved spoons, whistles, or other type of folk art, like the bird house I thought up.

I took a piece of cherry and hollowed it out. I drilled a 1 1/2" hole, carved a mouth around it, then carved the rest of the face to match the mouth. For the perch, I used some salvaged purpleheart and carved it into the shape of a long tongue.

The base hides 1/2" threaded pipe and inserts and can be unscrewed to change to a longer pole for displaying outside. The wood is salvaged mahogany and a piece of cherry branch, hollowed out for the pipe to fit through. I call this piece "Say Ah-h-h."

I plan to make another similar birdhouse soon so I can have two of them to submit to the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design. The deadline is July 10, so I have a little time to get another one completed.

Onward through the fog.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life's a Beach

Here I sit, just a 1/2 block from the Monterey Bay, with its migrating whales, nesting cormorants, porpoises, otters, and seals, enclosed in my home office typing away on my laptop. The weather is pleasant, and I should really be outside walking along West Cliff Drive to enjoy the scenery.

There are new things happening in Ron Cook Studios. A chess board is nearing completion, and a hand-carved bird house is in progress for a special gallery showing (if I get juried in).

The chess board is only the start of a very ambitious project to carve a full set of chess figures. With all I have to do for Coog Instruments, this will probably take a few years to complete.

The Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco sent out a call to artists to create works relating to avian topics. The first thing I thought of was a hand-carved bird house, carved like a person's head, with the mouth as opening and a tongue sticking out as a perch. I need to work on this quickly, since the deadling for submit pictures is in June.

No pictures yet on any of these works, since they're not far enough along to show. Instead, I think I'll take a break and walk down to the end of the street to watch the Wednesday night sail boat races. It's Wet Wednesday here in Santa Cruz, so called because if you show up at the harbor with a six pack, someone will invite you to go sailing with them. Maybe?