Friday, July 30, 2010

Lake Sutherland

We had a surprise visit from James A Wallace and Mary Lee Hu this week. Wally announced that they would only be here for a few days and he wanted to ruin his health fishing and by Jimmie I set out to do just that. I called my “always ready for a fishing challenge” buddy John Dash and we put together an outrageous agenda. The first afternoon was spent in his little boat setting ring nets for Dungeness crab in the Dungeness Bay and just how cool is that. And thank goodness for GPS handhelds...the fog was extremly heavy and it was right at twilight when we pulled the last net. We raced home...four blocks...dumped the boat...changed clothes and struck out to jig for squid at the Port Angeles city docks and maybe set a couple of shrimp pots to to make sure we covered all the bases. The shrimp pots turned out to be a sterling idea because the always allusive squid didn't show up for the party, but we at least had them shrimpies to show for what we had been doing til 1:30 in the morning.

We popped outta bed the next morning...for those of you that are buying the idea that we "popped" outta bed, I have a bridge I would like to sell you...and loaded the boat for a trip to Lake Sutherland. Our targeted fish was the Kokanee sockeye salmon. The weather was beautiful and the fish were willing. Mary soon discovered that the water in the boat kept getting deeper but thanks to her unending diligence and an empty Vienna sausage tin we stayed afloat out on the lake. The fishing was done with the most ridiculous rig I have ever put on the end on my line. The locals call it "Christmas tree lights with a wedding ring". It was a long line of four or five spinner spoons which went on for about three feet...follow by another section of line (about 1 1/2 feet) that had an array of bright orange beads separated in the middle by two gold bands with a ring of faceted crystals set between them which looked much like a channel set wedding band in miniature. No matter how strange the apparatus...within a few hours we all got our limit. We called home to tell the Pat and Cynthia to get ready for a seafood feast.

Everyone was fast to prepare the side dishes that we were well known for or at least we had a considerable comfort zone about pulling it off...shrimp fried rice...fresh corn in a butter sauce...crab on toast...artisan bread and a beautiful fruit tart...but we were all dragging our feet over commenting to the preparation of the main dish...the Kokanee salmon. All of us had considerable dose culinary pride on the line and we were all very tired from “ruining our health”... not to mention a large measure of libations. Then almost at the same moment in time three of us said “here...I'll do it” and the next thing you knew three new “main” dishes were presented. It was one of those magical events where everything came together at the same time. Baked salmon in lemon butter...pouched salmon in vinegar and pepper and steamed salmon with ginger and onion. We could not decide which was the best. Another great evening capped by a great meal.

Friday, June 25, 2010

"A Passing Summer"

This is another encaustic jewelry environment piece. Out here on the Northern Olympic Peninsula there is a very small group of artists that get together every so often to exchange ideas and thoughts. We call ourselves “ A Fine Disregard”. We usually have a theme or a thought that we all translate into a piece of work. And that is the focal point of the meeting. “ A Passing Summer” was the theme a few months ago and this is what I did for that encounter with “ A Fine Disregard”.

The main branch like elements are made of hand forged steel. The smaller elements are made of copper. By some divine intervention...and I'm sure there are artists out there that know what I'm saying here. The bluing on the steel was very nearly the same finish as “liver of sulfur” on copper.

There is one small jewelry element that comes off the “environment” and you can borrow it for your personal adornment. When you are through using the broach it is returned to it home on the wall. I was lucky enought to get this piece into two shows this summer.

Quick Response Codes

Wow the world is certainly a different place from thirty years ago. I remember talking to a code writer back then about how cool it would be if the internet would “catch on” and look at all the stuff out there now. We are already getting results from this code. People can stand down the isle from our booth at the markets and scan our QR code and being talking to us by the time they walk up.

New posting coming up soon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This posting is mostly for those people on FB that were asking how this project was proceeding.
Facebook was not playing nicely with me when it came to uploading images so I have chosen to present them in this format which seems to always work.

Encaustics are intriguing to me. I used to do off hand blown glass and just love messing with hot stuff. So the idea of making a mark and then floating that mark around inside molten translucent strata gets a gold star on the refrigerator in my book. I am a rank beginner in this art form and I make no inference here that I know what I am doing. But my loving the challenge so far. So here goes...

In this first image the cradle (24 X 18) is made of birch door skin and some old growth fir for stretchers in the back. The board has been heated and then primed with beeswax and then cover with a white wax medium to give me a clean smooth surface to start. I have then inscribed the surface with a stylus to cut in the bottle silhouettes. I then used an oil paint stick to force a pigment into the recessed incised lines. This is then heated with a heat gun to trap the pigment in the wax strata.

The next image shows the colors that have been added bit by bit and layer by layer. There is a fusing process that follows each application of wax. In essences you heat each layer and addition of wax to melt it into the surface below it. I have chosen to get everything a little extra hot which causes a “water color” effect. Although I'm sure a water colorist might take offense with that comparison.

In this last image the fused glass panels were made of old broken bottles that were then laid out in a borrowed kiln into rectangles and fused together. This was a very open arrangement and it has lots of open space between the individual pieces. The bottles were loosely grouped as chardonnay wine bottles, brown and green beer bottles and champagne bottles...hence the working title, Chardonnay/Beer/Champagne.

My plan is to next wire the glass panels in place with a soft copper wire. Much like the neon tubing gets wired onto an outdoor electrical display sign. And then a simple flat or semi-flat black frame.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Tree Pendent

I must admit that we have a fond place in our hearts for the rocks and pebbles that litter the shore lines of the Olympic Peninsula. There is an outdoor work table in the side yard that seems to stay covered with the bounty of our last trip to the beach.

This is the beings of a new steel garden piece. As it was evolving I began to realize that it was just a big...really big... piece of jewelry. In any case, I have decided that it was okay. And so I have re-categorized it as a “tree pendent”. I plan on putting a chain on it in the next few days. But for now I wanted to post it here to document it's start. You see it here laid out on the floor so I can figure out just where the support posts go to hold the beach rocks in place. It still has all the spot welds and forging marks unfinished on it. If you look close you can see where the rocks are numbered with soap stone so I can put the darn thing back together later.

The moment that I realized that it was jewelry was when I went to the trouble of welding the insert...all the twists and spirals, into the frame using plug welds from the sides. This is a clever technique I picked up from working with James Wallace aka “Wally” at the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis, TN. It makes for very clean, neat and very beefy connections which are easily hidden. It is off to the sand blasters for now. I am really looking forward to seeing the “Tree Pendent” completed and gracing the red maple just outside of the studio and smithy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Black n Tan

This was a piece made for a show called “Small Works Show” which was sponsored by the Blue Whole gallery here in Sequim, Washington. There has been considerable attention in the local art scene focused on the environment. “Black n Tan” uses a background of “re-purposed” corrugated cardboard. I glued up sections of the material and then cut that into strips, cut those into cubes and glued up the entire sheet. The pink material is copper and the silver color is aluminum. Ah... aluminum the “non metal” metal; I have always avoided it like a bad in-law. But it was recycled as well so it seemed appropriate to use it here. I can not recommend that everyone stop what they are doing and try aluminum out. So far I have found it best used in beverage cans, ladders, small boats and street signs.

There is one element of this piece that can be removed and worn as a pendant. On a triple cord it comes off as a necktie look. The cord is stored in the back of the wall piece. As a post script it might be noted that this piece caused comment because it was hung as a diamond among a wall where everything else was at ninety degrees. I took it down. It's venue will be elsewhere.

the beach rocks

the beach rocks
Although I have been lucky enough to receive many accolades and awards during my professional career as a jewelry designer, I was nearly always fulfilling a commission and therefore the aesthetical concerns of my client. Now that I have relocated to the great NorthWest I am pursuing my own images for the first time since graduate school…and loving my craft with a renewed spirit.

deep currents

deep currents
This was inspired by the way the river's currents swirl around the rocks that sit on the bed of the river.

in the kelp bed

in the kelp bed
At times I let my mind wander to what is happening the depths of the kelp beds. I image how the cold waters waft and drift along. I like to think about the serenity of life in the kelp beds.

two six rings

two six rings
We called these rings "six ring" because when you see then from the profile...they reminded us of the number six.