Monday, February 23, 2009

It's our anniversy baby...

Seven years today..oy vey .... my how the time flies when you are having fun. What a wonderful time it has been with the ever lovely Kitty Whisper. We enjoyed a lovely dinner on Main Street in Annapolis yesterday, how fortunate we are to have such culinary treasures in our local area. Tonight, I heard Vencka is serving up Champagne for us.. yaaa hooo.. while enjoy the company and love our menagerie of furry friends. Our two youngest Theodore (aka Theodorable) and Ole are just a trip. Always rough housing and trying to ambush eachother. Really pretty amazing since Ole cannot see a thing, and can be quite funny when he does his flying attack on where he thinks Theodore is crouching in waiting, only to find nothing but air and a hard floor!

We send our best to all the lovebirds out there, may your life and love be as special as ours!

L & V

Best Buds

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The mechanics of pen making

When I first started turning two years ago, I had no real interest in pen turning, and maybe even looked down at it as not "real" artistic turning. Fast forward to January, I was demonstarting for my local wood turner association, Chesapeake Woodturners, at the Timonium Wood Show. After my shift on the lathe, I went over to one of the local woodcraft supply store's booth where they provided opportunities for people to turn a pen free. So, I gave it try, and now I am hooked! The wood types, forms, and styles are endless.

One of local turners, Mike Merak, who turns pens professionally (see his site, The Wooden Quill) gave me some good advice as well a few pen kits for styles he no longer uses. Last weekend, I acquired the necessary specialized equipment for pen making and I was off and turning!

Below are the basic raw materials. The hard part of pen making is the preparation and assembly of the wooden blanks. Drilling the tube holes was most frustrating as I have a make shift drill press, which proved inadequate for the precision need for drilling pen blanks. Once again, our neighbor Tom Define and his full wood shop saved the day.

Blank being turned on the lathe.

And the final product!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Berry Series

We are still here! Vencka is working on some kitty fur material. She had busy week with adoptions, spay/neutering etc. Beautiful Lena got a home on Friday, though we had to pry my mother's hands away from her. More on all this from my lovely kitten whisper soon.

In December I turned one of two large Hackberry logs that were harvested last January. This was my first time working Hackberry, the bowl came out nicely but I was not overly impressed with color and grain patterns of the Hackberry. It is buttery yellow/white in color which is very nice, but rather bland in my opinion. One of early instructors and local artist Joe Dickey is known for his beautifully dyed pieces and I always have wanted to try my hand at dying a large piece. The Hackberry looked like a great candidate to experiment on trying my dying skills.

In practicing on some small scape pieces I noted some bleed over so I decided to pyrography (woodburn) the rim to "hide" any potential bleed over and after consulting some of my fellow turners I applied a coat of sanding sealer on the rim as well. The sealer worked well resulting in no bleed over, and the pyrography really added another dimension to the piece. After dying I applied several coats of lacquer and buffed the inside with carnauba wax.

My "Blueberry" bowl came out great! As you can see the dye really enhanced the grain patterns, and the contrast with buttery inside is quite nice.

Blueberry Delight - Approx 10" dia, 4" tall

I roughed out the my second Hackberry log a few weeks ago, and now waiting for the drying process to complete. I plan on dying it red to create my "Strawberry" bowl for part two of the Berry series.