Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Welcome to My Workshop: 2010

The weather’s been blowing hot and cold these last few weeks. We got a couple of “heat waves” that pushed the thermometer up into the 90’s, but that only lasted two days each, followed by many more days of chilly fog. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how many, many days we’ve had without sun this summer, and as we start the second week of September, that’s still the case. (OK, the sun does come out in the afternoon, but the morning’s are still damp and cool.)


Ron and Julia-Day3Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on this month, and more coming in October. For the first three weeks in September, I have, for the first time, an independent study student. She’s a college senior who  seems to have a real thirst for knowledge, especially in the Arts. I’m teaching her about the history of stringed instruments, and she’s building both a medieval psaltery and a Mountain dulcimer. I had her research and draw up working drawings for both pieces. I’m very pleased with her progress.

Last Friday, a film crew arrived early in the morning to video tape me for a new woodworking show on our local community television station. I was interviewed by John Hall and gave a tour of my office/gallery and my workshop. It was a fun morning and we covered a lot of ground. It will be interesting to see how they edit the footage. It should be on TV (and the web) probably by the end of this month. To see the first two shows, they can be watched on the web at http://blip.tv/file/4034823. Both feature fellow Santa Cruz Woodworkers Mathew Werner (episode 1), and Michael Singer (episode 2).

In The Workshop

Ron Carving again I’m still carving like crazy. I’m putting the final touches on the last three chess men for my long-running-process chessboard and pieces. I started carving these 32 medieval-looking characters back in January, and I’m anxious to get these last ones done. I’m also continuing little-by-little on my Chapter House Portative Organ. Like I mentioned before, this is my final piece from those depicted on one of the 14th century wall paintings at the Westminster Abbey Chapter House in London. I’ve completed all the other instruments and look forward to finishing this one. For thirty years I’ve though about building a pipe organ, and the small portative is a perfect way to start.

It seems like there’s been a lot of inquiries about repairing/restoring zithers lately. I currently have Unstringing Unknown Concert Zither-72one on the bench that I’m restoring, and another arrive last week. And, another is to arrive right  after the Open Studios Art Tour. The one I’m working on now is in fair shape, but had a large open shrinkage crack on the top. Because it was from wood shrinkage under the lovely walnut veneer, it couldn’t be closed by clamping pressure. I added tiny strips of walnut in the cracks, and applied some stains to make them appear as part of the wood grain. I cleaned all the corrosion from the tuning pins and the pretty gear plate, and I’ll soon put it back together and put new strings on it. (As soon as they arrive from Germany.)

Coming Up

The Open Studios Art Tour is coming up the first three weekends in October. This is the Silver Anniversary for the Art Tour, and the 10th year I’ve been in it. My studio will be open from 10 to 5 October 9-10, and 16-17. When you purchase a calendar/artist guide you’ll get maps showing how to get to each of the more than 300 artist studios. You can plan your trip and see as many or as few as you want. The first weekend, October 2-3, is South Santa Cruz County (Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor to Watsonville, and the second weekend (9-10) is North Santa Cruz County (Yacht Harbor to Santa Cruz, Mountain communities, north to Davenport). October is usually nice and sunny in Santa Cruz, and hopefully, all the Summer fog will have disappeared by then. Calendars can be purchased through the Santa Cruz Cultural Council’s web site, at the Santa Cruz Art League (where the preview exhibit is at), and at art stores, galleries, and other venues around Santa Cruz County. Come and enjoy!

For now, as I look out the window, onward through the fog…

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