Well summer has begun and I hope everyone everywhere is enjoying the nice weather and if you're in the southern hemisphere, a nice fall.
I haven't done any turning in a long while and I decided today to begin working again. It has been a very busy year and one with numerous transitions and while all of this has been most welcome, it has taken away time for thinking and working.
I've long wanted to begin this phase of transitioning out of traditional wood turning but I didn't have any kind of a plan or idea as to how to begin. I've looked at a lot of artistic wood turning but I have neither the tools or artistic training of any kind to begin that type of work. Other methods of wood turning like segmented turning has not caught on with my imagination. Over and over the early work of Stephen Hogbin, who was sawing his turnings into pieces and re-assembling them was the only thing that popped into my mind. But I'm not that creative.
So I have looked elsewhere for inspiration and new ideas and this has led to to examine the work of fiber artists and basket weaving. I love the colors and the textures that I have seen and basket weaving in particular has caught my eye since it involves wood fibers. One artist in particular is Minnesota fiber artist Tressa Sularz.
In searching the internet, I came across a brief essay she wrote entitled Dancing My Way Home along with a photograph of a piece of her work which is woven by hand and has beading on the surface. It's not a basket per se but it is really beautiful and is an example of a traditional craft taken several steps further and made into a beautiful object.
And so I began searching for images of her work and the work of other fiber artists and I decided it was time to stop turning and begin experimenting. So here are some photographs of today's work:
I decided to work on a large block of basswood that I've had for a while. It's soft enough to carve easily with hand tools and the buff color of the wood should let any colorants I use to be visible, unlike walnut or dark red woods (which are going to need a lot of thought but I can do that later on):
Here I've placed it between centers and turned it down to a vase shape:
Here I've attached it to my Nova chuck and smoothed the surface a little:
And then I drilled hole in it with a 1" spade bit-why I did this I don't know:
And that's it-I now have a turning-carving-coloring-whatever wood blank to work on.
This is just going to be for an on going experiment so I'll keep you up to date as to what I'm doing.