Saturday, April 2, 2016

All the news that’s fit to print…

Santa Cruz Woodworkers Exhibition
Santa Cruz Woodworkers are moving along with new works in preparation for the upcoming exhibition of custom woodworks by the nine-member group: Om Anand, Ron Day, Roger Heitzman, Joshua Salesin, Michael Singer, Patrick Stafford, Gary Stevens, Matthew Werner, and myself, Ron Cook. We are very excited to be back together again for a show five years after the extremely successful one we had at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.
Invited craftspeople are woodblock artists Andrea Rich and Aaron Johnson who will be displaying wood block prints along with the wood blocks they carved to create them.
The exhibition will take place at the R. Blitzer Gallery, in the old Wrigley Building, at 2801 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, May 6 through 28. The reception is on First Friday, May 6, from 5 to 9 PM.
Recent Shows
I was very pleased to have been one of three winners of the People's Choice award at the annual 12 x 12 (x 12) show in the Cabrillo College Gallery. My kinetic wall sculpture, "Heads and Gears" is the first of a fun new direction I'm taking in my work.
In The Studio
I try to take time each day to work on new pieces in my studio. This doesn't always work out, what with antique instrument restorations (see below), and finishing up the remodeling of my garage workshop, but at least I think about working on new pieces every day. (Ok, every other day!) There's a "surprise" musical sculpture I'm working on that I plan to have completed for the Santa Cruz Woodworkers Exhibition in May. (You'll have to see it to believe it!) As you can see in the following photo, I have a lot of carving to do. Dulcimer noters, spoons, framed figures, whistles, and barley-twist candlesticks.
My garage workshop houses the large power tools: table saw, band saw, drum sander, belt and disk sander, and jointer. To keep dust out and away from the side of the garage where my wife keeps her car, I recently built a wall down the middle and installed all new electrical outlets and lighting. Now I won't be tripping circuit breakers any more!
I have a dust collection attachment on my shop vacuum, but I do plan to install a dust collection system that will attach to each power tool, similar to what I have in my carving studio.
Old Instruments and Repairs
I've been surprised by the number of antique instrument restorations that have come my way so far this year. I recently completed another 1890-1900 German concert zither, and today, hopefully, I'll finish a 1924 Kulmalae Ukulele. Another German concert zither arrived a few weeks ago with an 1881 date penciled inside, and I'm expecting a chord zither to be delivered later this week.
I often receive e-mails and calls from people who have recently purchased or found antique zithers, dulcimers, and other stringed instruments. Some were inherited from parents or grandparents, and some are from collections or are personal favorites. As old as they are, the instruments quite often need restoration or repair to make them playable again. If the instrument is only to be displayed, conservation is an option.
I'm always interested in restoring, repairing, or conserving unusual and different instruments with a history. My basic fee starts at $350 for major work. (For minor repairs, such as new strings, small crack repairs, cleaning, etc., contact me for costs.) Please send photos of areas that are damaged or in need of TLC to me at my email address. For major repairs, I provide a complimentary repair log.
If you have inherited a stringed instrument, such as a zither, dulcimer, or other zither-style instrument, or even old ukuleles, or know of someone who has, it is tremendously easy to have the instrument made a functional part of living history for a very modest investment, whether it is ever played again or displayed as a family heirloom. If you have old photos of family members playing the instrument, be sure to send them along as well.

roncook Etsy shop
My Esty shop is popular all over the world! I have been "favorited" by people as far away as Latvia and China. Sales have gone to Canada and Italy, as well as New Hampshire, Illinois, and Georgia and as close by as Salinas, just down the highway! Here's how to reach my shop: You may set up a free account on Etsy to preview and purchase any other items offered for sale.
New Students If you are interested in learning how to carve, learning general woodworking skills, or learning about the history and construction of early European (medieval) or early American (19th century) stringed instruments, please contact me at  During the instrument course, the student will learn about the evolution of stringed instruments, research a particular instrument, create working drawings, and build it. Open to all, especially interested high school and college students . All students choose wood from my wood stash!   E-mail me for more information.  Items from special wood If you have some wood that has come from a "special tree" or are planning to remove a tree that has played an important role in your life or your family's life, please contact me to see what we can create to memorialize it. Suggestions: spoons, small instruments, small stools.  Shows After taking a break last year from doing shows (other than Open Studios), I will be returning to the San Francisco American Craft Council Show at Fort Mason, August 5-7. This is always an exciting show, with over 200 fabulous craft artists who come from far and wide. More news to come.

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