Sunday, 22 January 2012

Got Wood!

I've acquired a few bits of wood after the latest windy days. There are a few large spalted Sycamore logs at the back and the rest is Walnut!! A whole tree of the stuff!! The Sycamore is the rest from the milling post and is all around 18" wide. The Walnut trunk at its thickest is about 20" down to 12" and there is several bits of 6" or so branch wood(some bigger) Spot the cup of coffee for a size comparison! All I need to do now is mill it........

Friday, 20 January 2012

Messing About With Copper Leaf

I quite enjoy playing around with different finishes and techniques when it comes to decorating work and this piece was no exception. I do seem to have an ongoing like for metallic materials and effects at the moment, particularly when used with other colours and textures.
This form started out this morning as a block of Elm that hadn't been used as it was a fairly poor example of a beautiful wood. I chose it as I thought the openness of the grain would look good with the colouring technique of base coating with white that would hopefully show in the open grain after airbrushing with several light coats of stain. The white is also applied in such a way as to leave a very slight texture that gives the final colours a nice matt finish to contrast the bright copper leaf.
The stains have been built up purposefully uneven to leave a slightly 'mottled' appearance to the coloured area of the form. The same colouring was also applied to the both the bottom area and the lid prior to the application of the copper leaf as a base coat. After it had dried, I rubbed at the copper leaf to give a distressed look and break through to allow some of the colour to show from underneath.
Finally it has been topped off with a simple yet delicate finial of Indian Rosewood for a nice dark contrast to the rest.

Friday, 13 January 2012


buzz buzz!
 Well as the old saying goes 'Its an ill wind that blows no one any good'. A big Sycamore blew down near my Father-in-laws and the farmer who owns the land lets him clear up fallen wood for firewood. Thankfully he thought of me before sawing it all up in short lengths for the fire. I helped him get the wood and and got my 'share' in the form of several 14-18" wide 4 foot long sections and a few smaller pieces to play with too.
 Then came the problem of how to process such large and heavy lumps of wood efficiently to dry. Chainsaw mills are ridiculously expensive for what is after all a few bits of straight metal, so I thought a home made one was the way forward. Now I am no metal worker but luckily for me my best mate Andrew 'Burger' Burton is a dab hand with the stuff! I drew up the plan and worked out the sizes, Burger brought some old box section he had and between us we knocked up a mill frame yesterday afternoon. The 'fun' was in trying to get everything perfectly square, this was even more important as the frame only clamps at one end of the bar and so has to be perfect to get square. even thickness slabs.
 The picture shows the first log being cut using the mill, my 20" bar Ryobi (cheap and nasty) chainsaw is clamped in and I'm pleased to say  it all works perfectly
 I know I'm not wearing the proper safety gear in the pic (a bit naughty but it was just a quick test run on one of the thinner logs) and would advise anyone using a chainsaw to use proper equipment at all times.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Blue and Green Vase.

 I seem to be getting several things completed recently, which is good!
 The reason I made this vase was to try out a method of undercoating colour to give a very matt stone like finish with acrylic paints. I'm quite pleased with the result after the airbrushed blue to green fade.
 I do not know how this piece will look after a few days as the Sycamore its made from is from a tree which blew down last Friday! It does, I think, have a good chance of survival as it is turned very thin and I have turned very green Sycamore to a finish before without any problems.
 Still whatever happens to it, it is always great fun to turn wet Sycamore with streams of shavings flying from the gouge and a free shower from the spinning timber to boot!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Magma Bubble.

 This little hollow form(5" tall) was an idea that came to me from the making of the spheres in the previous post, the shapes reminded me of oozing lava, as these things invariably do this lead to me thinking and coming up with this idea. Its basically based on how underwater erupting lava looks, the way the outer part of the lava hardens and darkens and then is suddenly cracked open by intense pressure to reveal just for a moment new, fresh hot magma for the cycle to begin again.
 The piece was first turned,then carved, hollowed out and finally decorated. The 'lava' section has been airbrushed and the upper and lower pieces have been textured by pyrography, ebonised and then had a small amount of silver acrylic applied thinly over the outside allowing the deep parts of the textured area to remain jet black. The small finial is turned from aluminium to tie in with the silver over the ebonised part.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Its been over a month now since I have posted anything up here or indeed since I have been able to produce any work! All four of us(wife, son, daughter and myself) have had a really nasty little virus that many people locally have had that lasts six weeks! As a result I have used much of my spare time looking after the children, one is two years and the other just nine months, so its been lots of nose wiping and comforting!
The other big thing that has happened is that I have been diagnosed with a medical condition that has prevented me from entering 'deep sleep', feeling very tired has been the way of my life for a long time. After tests(and to cut a long story short) the sleep specialist at the local hospital told me my condition was so severe that I might have not bothered to go to bed at all for all the good it was doing me!! I am now receiving treatment and the fog of tiredness is lifting, this leads to the design of the piece pictured opposite.......
The basic idea of the design is to show the colour emerging from the dark spheres, where the spheres represent parts of my mind and the colours are thoughts, brighter, sharper, quicker, all emerging from the darkness of my own tiredness. The 'stand' is representative of the mind as a whole(its physically keeping the spheres together as one thing) and the spheres can be seen through windows in it. I wanted the 'stand' to appear 'rough' or 'rustic' like something ancient hewn out of stone as I thought this would be a good look for the piece.
I don't know how it will be seen by others as its quite a personal thing to me, so obviously carries meaning for myself......