Friday, October 15, 2010

Fog and Art

There is an old Doors album called Strange Days. I thought about it today while walking along the coast in the fog. It’s mid October and it’s supposed to be clear and mild (usually), and the fog is supposed to be long gone. Well, we’ve had clear, warm days, then warm mornings and chilly, foggy afternoons, and now cold foggy mornings, just like it was most of the summer. Strange days.


Coming up is the last weekend, the Encore weekend, for the Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour. I’ll be open Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17, from 10am to 5pm. Last weekend was pretty  busy, and it seemed a few more people visited than last year. Once again I set up a gallery in my wife’s studio, which is also our guest room. Outside, under my show canopy, is a more informal gallery with lyres and folk art, which is right next to my studio. For those who couldn’t stop by this year, here’s some photos of my Open Studio spaces.


Inside gallery showcasing new work and fine crafts.


Outside gallery of medieval lyres and folk art.

Shop-OS 2010-72

A very clean studio/workshop!

In the Workshop

Clare-zither completed-72In the week days between my two weekends of Open Studios, I’ve been working on restorations of two antique concert zithers. I completed one and very close to finishing the second. The completed one has a photo in it, but no label or any internal makers marks, but from its style and shape, it appears to be a  German made instrument. As with many zithers this age (1880-1900), the top had cracked from exposure and/or stress. I’m finishing up a repair log, which will soon be on my Ron Cook Studios web site. The photo is an old pre-1900 studio shot of a young woman in a gypsy costume holding a Neapolitan mandolin. Quite interesting.

Oak lady dulcimer-72In previous blogs, I’ve shown much of the work that’s still in process. One instrument that will be finished soon is a new mountain dulcimer made from some of that wonderful salvaged flamed white oak. This wood came from an old broken drop-leaf table that did not show any of the beautiful flaming under its thick varnish until I started resawing it. It was quite a surprise to see such gorgeous wood hiding just under the surface. This is my third instrument with this wood. The picture shows the partially assembled dulcimer hanging on display in my workshop for Open Studios. Later this month, after I return from Yosemite, I’ll sand it, install the fingerboard, then finish it with tung oil. I’m pleased with the results so far.

Coming Up

In July, 2011, the woodworking group I’m with, the Santa Cruz Woodworkers, will be exhibiting at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH). After my Yosemite trip, I’ll be working on several new pieces for the exhibit. Some I’ve mentioned before in my blogs, and some are going to be surprises.

I’m again cutting down on the number of craft shows and arts festivals next year, at least until the economy improves. (It will some day!) I’ll still do the San Francisco American Craft Council Show next August, and, of course, Open Studios in October. I have quite a bit of restoration work to do, plus the new works for the MAH exhibit, so I’ll be keeping very busy. Which reminds me…

It’s time to get to work. Onward, again, through the fog…