Monday, February 25, 2019

Onward into 2019

Snow in the hills above Santa Cruz? Yes, it has been cold and wet, and the snow level dropped to under 500 feet. Most of it was just a dusting, but the higher elevations are still coated. More rain/snow on the way…

Since I’m not doing craft shows and art festivals anymore, most of my work is on my Etsy shop ( I am still doing the annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios event the first weekends in October, which is where my larger pieces are exhibited. Hopefully, a couple of my new “larger” works will be completed by then.

Several years ago I got a call from a fellow in Hollister, California, who had a barn full of wood, much of it stored, or rather left, by a local college. He didn’t want money for it. He just wanted it out of his way and gave it all away. I came away with a lot of slabs and lumber. Little by little, I’ve been using it up over the years. Recently, I’ve been using a slab on the following live-edge black acacia and walnut bench I’m half done with.

I turned the seven walnut posts out of salvaged black walnut and cherry. The base, legs and stretchers, will be all black walnut.

This next piece isn’t really a new one. I actually started this Ottavina, also known as an octave spinet, back in 1977-78. That was too early in my wood artist career to attempt something of this complexity, so it sat… and sat… and sat, until the original case got damaged some 20 years later. So now, I’ve built a new case out of black walnut, complete with dovetail joints, and plan to finish my 40 year project this year.

I made the stand back in 1978. It is the first wood turning project I attempted with an inexpensive lathe I purchased the year before. I was very pleased with the results, and I’ve kept the stand in storage since then. Now, it will finally be used!

I’ve made a few harps through the years. Most have been small lap harps in the medieval style, but I decided I should concentrate more on the board zither styles like mountain dulcimers and their European ancestors, which is what I’ve been making since 1972.

I made my last lap harp nearly 10 years ago, but after several years I had a problem with the body style I used, and set it aside for a while. Finally, when a customer asked about the “horsehead” harp, I decided to make a better body for it. This is the result.

The body is now all vertical grain figured maple with cherry binding. It has a light, sweet tone, and is three octaves.

The year has started out with three gallery shows. The first actually started last December, but ran into January. It’s over now, but I was pleased to have had my medieval trestle stool exhibited at the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern, Pennsylvania. (You can see the stool in my last Blog.)

The second: This time of year at the Santa Cruz Art League is one of the members’ shows. I’m exhibiting my newest medieval wing psaltery. I completed this psaltery right after the first of the year.

The third: Also this time of year is the annual “Hearts for the Arts” fundraiser for the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, benefiting arts education. I created a special salvaged walnut and maple hand-carve wall hanging with inlayed turquoise coloring.

Well, it’s time to go batten down the hatches. A
nother big storm is coming in tonight and is to last for several days.

Onward through the fog…