Monday, August 24, 2009

San Francisco and Beyond

Last week, we had another fun American Craft Council Show at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. This year we actually seemed to have made a profit, which is great in this still-weak economy. It was a little cool and windy on setup day, but it warmed up during the three-day show quite nicely to short-sleeve weather.

Ron setting up-72 I’ve done this show seven years now and this was the first time my booth was in the back of the exposition hall. All other times I’ve been very close to the front of the buildings. This used to be sort of a “dead zone”, where people didn’t quite make it to, but the new arrangements with wine tasting and “Alt-Craft” artists in the back really drew everyone to the area. We did have a lot of traffic.

Now it’s time to get ready for another big show, the Sausalito Art Festival, booth 121. That will be over Labor Day weekend, starting Friday evening and running through Monday.

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Once I get home from a show and unload, I try to take a day or two to decompress, to relax a little before jumping right into carving and creating again. Sometimes it’s hard to get myself back into a creative mode again, but I do finally get the energy Thrasher1-72flowing, and I did a couple of days ago. I finished another little fun birdhouse project that I’ve tentatively titled “Thrasher.”  I started doing a few “folk art” birdhouses a few years ago to use up some logs and branches that have been cluttering up my side yard for years. These were pieces of wood I couldn’t use for my instruments or carving, but I didn’t want to through them away. So, the idea came to create a few birdhouses to see if they sold. Little did I know that there are quite a few birdhouse collectors, so a couple of them sold right away. They’re fun pieces, and people really get a kick out of them.

Recently, I got into a research mood when I accidently came across a reference to the Trossingen lyre. The Trossingen lyre is a Germanic-style rote discovered in an 8th century grave (c. 785) in Trossingen, Germany. If was found being clutched by the body of a soldier. What made this find so exceptional is that the instrument had hardly any decomposition. It is the most Trossinger Lyre-drawing2 complete instrument of that type and from that period of any yet found. All other lyre discoveries so far have been highly decomposed. None of my early music magazines or online resources ever mentioned the 2002 find, which came just one year after the English Prittlewell discovery, so I just had to keep searching to find out all I could about it.

Well, I did find a poorly translated (from the German) preliminary report on the lyre. It gave most, but not all, of the dimensions, types of wood used, and distinguishing features, like the use of sound holes and leather strap hooks. It was enough to allow me to draw up my own plans. There are a couple of luthiers in England who have already made copies, but I really want to make my own, as close as possible to the original as I can. More news on this as it progresses.

Meanwhile, time to think a little, carve a little, and create a lot. No fog. Onward anyway.

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