Will I ever get tired of seeing how walnut seems to come to life when it is finished with oil and spray shellac? I doubt it. Walnut is just one of my all time favorite woods. I think that I could make just about anything using walnut and as long as I take the time to finish it properly, it will look impressive.
I cut another candle tray out yesterday. The wood I used was (you guessed it!) walnut! This time I made a moose scene and it seemed to me that walnut was really the only choice I had. The deep chocolate brown of the walnut just naturally complimented the design that I had drawn up. I then used my old stand by of mineral oil finish followed by spray shellac and the result was really nice. Warm and satiny and rich looking. The design was simple, but it looked like a piece of fine art with the finish on.
Photographing things made of walnut has always been a challenge. Even my editors at the magazine tell me that they would prefer that I don’t use it (too much) in my projects. They say it “sucks up the light” and it is very difficult to get it to look nice. But since this piece was not heading for the magazine I let caution to the wind and decided to use it anyway. I figure that I will learn something in the process of photographing it and will possibly be able to make it look (almost) as beautiful as it does to me as I hold it in my hand.
This morning I took a couple of pictures for this blog entry. I don’t think that they came out all that bad. I am getting better and better with my Photoshop skills and I am learning to use many of the new tools that are offered in the program to correct even the bleakest pictures. Besides, I love a good challenge and I feel good and up for one today. I will be taking other pictures later on of the new stuff for the site and hopefully be able to make them look good.
So here are the preliminary shots of the new project:
|From SLD352 Moose Candle Tray Set|
And the detail view:
|From SLD352 Moose Candle Tray Set|
At least you can kind of see what is going on.
The grizzly bear candle tray has been very popular, as are most of the wildlife things that I do and I thought it was high time to make another wildlife scene themed holder. I also need to do a white tail deer in the immediate future and I also want to do several ducks and perhaps fish. A mallard duck comes to mind and I believe that he will be the next one up.
I have had a great amount of suggestions for trays, as well as the list of my own that I have been compiling and it seems that there is no end in sight. Since they are selling well, I see no reason whatsoever to stop creating them and hopefully I can also weave some other projects in between making them. I honestly can say that I have many more ideas than I have time on my hands to make them reality. I suppose that is a good place for a designer such as myself, and I realize that I just have to keep moving on and producing while the proverbial iron is hot.
Sawing again was pure pleasure. I truly find it relaxing and almost therapeutic. When I cut on the saw, I play a little game with myself to see how accurately I can stay on the lines. Once I get going and warm up, things just seem to kick in and I hit a kind of rhythm and cruise right along. Of course, I usually have some good music playing while I am cutting (yesterday’s choice was Jackson Browne – a reminder of my high school days) and I find myself totally absorbed in the work and the songs and it seems like before I know it, I am done. I suppose this happens to most of you also when working on a project. It is almost like an addiction. I can’t help but feel a bit of a let down when the sawing is completed.
But I am finding that finishing the project and bringing it to life can also be quite a bit of fun. I know many people don’t like sanding and finishing, but I am finding it to be another layer of the creation process that can be very rewarding. In the beginning of my woodworking ventures, I used to just give the project a quick sand and spray it with poly and call it a day. The results as you can imagine were mediocre to average and I would photograph the item for the pattern and be done with it.
Now however, I have learned that taking a little bit of time to finish an item properly can bring an average project up to an entirely new level. My “magic formula” of spray shellac over mineral oil works well for the type of work I do, as most of what I make doesn’t need a heavy duty finish – just something to protect the wood and bring out the color and grain pattern. These small steps can elevate a project from being average to something that is a lifetime keepsake. I now feel that a project is not completed until these steps are followed. After all, I spend all that time drawing and cutting. Why fall down at the finish line?
With that said, I did finish the tray and charm set yesterday. After that was done, I spent the evening working on the web site. We recently made a page so we can sell our one of a kind items and also I wanted a place to sell my note cards and prints of my paintings. Keith has made about a dozen beautiful pens in the past couple of weeks (although he didn’t put all of them up for sale) and he has posted them there too. I am once again amazed at how quickly he is learning to work on the lathe and I enjoy seeing his new creations. He is very picky with what he makes and that is why they are not all on the site for sale. He doesn’t want to put “sub-standard” items there and tarnish his reputation. I honestly can’t see the errors in many of what he considers rejects, but I suppose that I am the same way with my own work. I can usually pick out ten errors that most people don’t even see. In any case, it will be interesting to see how this new avenue will go for us. We desperately need an outlet for our prototypes and samples, as well as for his pens.
So today will be spent doing some more photography and also writing up some packets for the new items. If I have time I will hopefully get some drawing done, but I do need to back up my computer again and before I do that I want to do some organizational work. I suppose I will just have to see how much I have time for.
It looks like a busy day ahead. It is slightly overcast and that should be good for the picture taking. When it is too sunny and bright outside, the shadows that are cast are quite harsh. The softer light is far better.
I hope you all have a great Saturday and enjoy your weekend. Let the sawdust fly!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"