Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Onward Through the Fog…

It’s that time of year again. California’s valleys are getting hot, and our beach town on the Monterey Bay gets all the natural air conditioning known as fog. It’s like this every year, and we can’t wait for late Summer and early fall when the sun comes out and warms us up again.

Fog Chaser

For me, working in my studio helps to chase the fog away… at least in my head. (An evening glass of wine helps too.) The carving continues, and I’m down to the last eight pieces for my Bishops in process custom medieval chess board. The Bishops are starting to look pretty “Bishopy”, and each one has acquired a personality. The knights are roughed out and are not yet to that point. I’m hoping to have the whole set finished by the Open Studios Art Tour in October. Be sure to stop by to see me and all my new work. The dates my studio’s open are October 9, 10, 16, 17.

Other carvings happening right now:

  1. I’ve laid out and started on several relief carvings on a medieval trestle stool. Several of the carvings are traditional English/Irish green men, and others are Celtic-style geometric figures.
  2. Spoons, spoons, spoons. I’ve got a commission to carve five spoons and holders out of boxwood given to me by my customer, and I’ve got around 20 more roughed out that I need to carve for upcoming shows. At the last few shows I’ve exhibited at, I’ve nearly sold out all the 20-30 spoons I made in the last year or so. Got to replenish my stock.
  3. In my quest to do something different, I carved a couple of medieval-looking candle holders. I had some black walnut Candlesticksleft  over from other projects that had a few flaws in them, so I couldn’t use them for instruments. As I always save nearly every little scrap of wood (I hate to throw any away), it’s not often I can make something this size. I turned, sanded, and polished the bases and columns on my mini-lathe, then carved the king and queen heads. There’s brass inserts in their heads for the candles. They do need creamy-colored beeswax (or tallow-looking) candles to look more medieval.
  4. I’ve been working on my Chapter House portative organ again. One of my biggest stumbling blocks to complete it is creating the Organ bellows in processbellows. I’m sure once I learn how to make them, future bellows  will be much easier. Now, after much research and head-scratching, I’ve started on them. The top section will need Gothic-style decorative carving to match the case, and I just completed the design today. I need to purchase some bellows leather yet and hope to find it locally.

New Work

I purchased working drawings of a 1930s Oscar Schmidt Model 73 12-chord autoharp many years ago planning to someday build it. This particular Model 73 is the same design and size as the original Zimmermann instrument created around 1895 in Autoharp in process Dolgeville, New York. (Oscar Schmidt took over production several years after Zimmermann closed down in 1899.) Recently, I finally started on it. I’m calling it the Dolgeville Model 73, after the original. To help in my research, I found on ebay one of the Zimmermann originals. It was being sold as an “autoharp for parts” and sounded like it was in very bad shape. However, when it arrived (I got it for a song), it was in decent shape with all the labels and decals intact. I will restore it to its former glory. My new autoharp is nearly complete. I just need to get springs for the chord bars delivered. (I ordered them the other day.)

Well, time to venture out into the fog again. Stay tuned…

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