Friday, May 8, 2009

Break time

This post also is a bit late. The end of my time at Inside Passage is quickly approaching and loose ends are trying to be figured out and tied up if they can. I know I will miss all my shop mates and the kind of focused time dedicated to our craft. So The blog hasn't been on the top of my priority list.
The cabinet is still awaiting glass but otherwise done. A couple days after the completion of the cabinet I took a short trip down to Portland, OR again. I visited Portland's beautiful Japanese garden, biked about the city, gathered some Rogue Ales, saw the Oregon coast, and of course Gilmer Wood Co.

I have found that with these last two projects breaks from serious work were pretty much needed. After such effort put in and stress around the finishing touches of a piece (at least in a cramped environment were collisions seem likely to happen) I have not been able to jump directly into the next big project. The day after I tried to work on a mock-up for a chair and I was just too burnt out. So, ROAD TRIP! a little one anyway.
I can't quite describe the feelings I had but it was a little more than just seeing places I've never seen or seen very little of. There was a sense of tired satisfaction of hard work, revitalizing sense of wonder, and an intriguing feeling of solitude alone rocking to tunes in my little car.

I love "Japanese Gardens". Well done they are inspiring for me and what I would like to pursue in the craft. There is an interplay of man and nature, as with all gardens of course, but in these gardens there is less sense of man and more of harmony. There are few linear lines, the medium is left "raw", and warm. They feel to me something like noble. One of the interests to me is that the garden feels like it should be there, in those forms. One would think "yes, of course this garden exists like this what else would they do?" Everything belongs and plays of each other, nothing is wrong, all is at peace. I feel that creating a piece, a work of art (as the garden is), a painting, sculpture, what ever it may be that feels the same way is quite difficult. A piece if left to it's own devices would have come to the same conclusion. At the same time hold one's attention if they let it. It does not scream and shout for your attention but holds an invitation to look longer and more closely.
There are a few pieces here at the Inside Passage that I can look at and say of course he shaped the legs like that, of course the pulls are carved like that, of course the drawer is there, and not because they are obvious or that I would even come to the same conclusion but because there is such a delicate balance within the piece, a strong sense of harmony.

Back to the shop and I am doing some tool making before my trip back to MN. These are both of Wenge, the same that Robert used in his chair. The square one is a jointer with 1" blade and the other a coopering plane with 1" blade for some tighter shaping.

Wenge yet again. This guy, although the wood is TERRIBLE to work was satisfying to make. Since I got a spokeshave in my hand shaping has been my favorite aspect of furniture. Probably pretty eveident in some of my earlier works. I would like to continue to peruse the play of more subtle shapes (though not mute heh). This tool is a srcapeshave or chair-scrape. Basically a scraping tool in the form of a spokeshave. I spent some time in the light shaping of the body the subtle flares, soft dips for my thumbs, pillowed ends, and softened brass. I think it all comes together nicely in this little tool. "You make tools like furniture" Robert said as he passes by. Maybe this is too much fuss over a little slice of wood but I hope it is a sign of what may come. Before that can happen I have a fair amount of work to do. Going back to MN to build up the shop space, figure out what I need to do for money in these rough times and how I can continue building special pieces.


johnjoiner said...

Hi Nicholas.

I've enjoyed your blog. I'm also a Minnesotan. I hated to leave Robert's Creek, and IP after just one week of class. I don't know if I could do it after the length of stay you just enjoyed.

Keep up the nice work.

na.nelson said...

Hey, I'm glad to here of another MN experiencing IP :) What course did you take?
I have a little mixed feelings about the creek but I will miss it I'm sure, probably more when I'm gone of course. I have a class-mate, Craig who is from St. Paul pretty crazy. Where about the state are you?

johnjoiner said...

I took curves and veneers, and learned a ton.

I work in Mpls, live in the west metro. But I don't drive a SUV (just read dustudiosloglicker, heh).