Thursday, March 15, 2012


The time is getting nearer. I keep setting pieces aside for the country fair in August. I am also working on stained glass, recycled and beach glass pieces for the fair as well. It is going to be exciting to see and display my work with other people using different kinds of medium. I am sure that there will be a lot of cross-fertilization of ideas and techniques. Who know what will come of this.

Most people who are involved have printed off and distributed flyers. I plan to do it in several waves, that way there will always be something out there right up until August 25th. I purchased a package of 500 sheets of sepia colored paper for about $10. That should cover just about every imaginable place that I could think of to distribute flyers.

Apparently there are still people who have not paid the insignificant booth fee for the fair. In my opinion, if you cannot pay the $15 booth fee then you are really not that serious about attending. You can spend more than $15 buying lunch at Tim Hortons. All I can say is that if you are truly interested in attending this event then pay up!

There are still openings for a rope weaver, a marqueter, a cornhusk doll maker, a salvage metal artist/garden art, and a potter. If you fall into any of these categories or know anyone who meets this criteria then by all means sign up or let others know about this event.

Here is an aerial view of the fair ground and the vendor area. It is going to be an exciting  event!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Sometimes, my initial impression about what a piece is going to be or how it is going to go are not the same as how the piece actually turns out. That is how this piece sent. It started as a piece of wood that my wife found on the beach when I was in China in January. She showed it to me that night when we talked on Skype. You have to understand that I had watched THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS on the plane going to China so the images of that documentary about the Chauvet cave were still very much in my mind. When my wife showed the piece to me I immediately thought of the horse paintings in the Chauvet cave.

That was the image that I carried with me until I returned to Canada. Even after I started working on the piece I had the horse image  in my mind. It was only as I began to shape the wood into a horse that I realized that it was not going to work. It was at this point that I had to make a decision. Do I try to force the wood into the shape of a horse or do I stop and take a hard look at the piece of wood that I was holding in my hands and honestly try to see what it is that the piece wanted to be.

I took my time with it. Actually, I took several days of looking at the piece, putting it down, coming back to it several hours later, looking at it in different light at different times of the days. Then came the moment of inspiration! I recalled the first line of the poem. THE LAMB, by William Blake; "Little lamb who made thee?" That was it, the piece would be a lamb. When I started to look at it as a lamb instead of a horse, everything began to fall into place. the proportions were right . The bump that some lambs have on their head emerged as I worked the piece. It all came together quite quickly and I carved the piece in less than a day.

One of the big surprises that emerged from this carving was the eye. As I started to remove the material where the eye would be I noticed that the wood was forming a natural eye all by itself. I only removed enough wood so that the eye would be fully formed. It was as if the eye had been there all the time. i was very pleased with this discovery.

As I sanded the lamb after I finished carving I decided to sand both sides of the piece. I continued to sand both sides as I used finer and finer grades of sand. In the end, both sides were presentable. The back of the lamb appears almost as the negative of the front view. In any case, wherever the lamb is placed both sides should be available for viewing.

After sanding and applying four treatments of Tung oil the color and wood grain showed beautifully. I am extremely pleased with the way this piece of driftwood that my wife found on the beach turned out.

Friday, March 9, 2012


when I was away in China I worked on another piece beside The Mermaid. The second piece that I took with me to China was just a piece of wood. I had thought that it would be an animal figure. I was not sure what kind of animal it would be but I knew it would be an animal. After I did some preliminary carving to create a general animal shape it became evident that it would be a dog. My youngest daughter's rottweiler, Diesel,  came to mind so I used the rottweiler species as a model for my carving. I found many examples of rottweilers on the internet that helped me as I modeled my piece. It was remarkable in a way, I did most of the roughing out on a rainy Saturday afternoon in my hotel room in Nanning, China. I did the final shaping, sanding and finishing when I returned home to Canada.

After I had finished sanding the dog with the last grade of sandpaper, 800 grit, I decided that the dog needed something to sit on. I found a piece of found wood in my collection of found wood that I thought was perfect. I sanded the base but not to the same luster as the dog. I wanted the base to have a wind swept, water worn look to it. In addition, I thought that the dog required a name. I decided to call him Sea Dog. I roughly carved the name "Sea Dog" into the front of the base to give it a ragged looked then I sanded the entire area where I had carved the name to give it a washed out look.

After treating the base with several solutions of Tung oil cut by thinners I applied a coating of cabinet makers wax to seal and protect the surface.

Now, everything is assembled. Sea Dog is attached to his base with a dowel pin that I glued into a hole in the base and a corresponding hole in the bottom of Sea Dog. i was a little nervous because there is not that much material in the base of Sea Dog and I did not want to break through the wood with my Forstner bit that I used to drill the hole.

The last thing that I did was attach the two glass eyes into place. I used two old pins that had rust heads. I cut the pins short then pushed the pins into Sea Dogs head which firmly seated the glass eyes into position. I do have to say that Sea Dog has a forlorn look sitting on his piece of floating debris.

Sea Dog ensconced on his bit of driftwood

He definitely has a mournful look!

You can see how the piece of wood that Sea Dog is sitting on is well worn

This end is almost completely eroded

I left most of the wood intact in the back, holes and all.

some of the letters are clear and prominent. Others have almost completely faded away.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Well, here she is, The Mermaid, mounted on her stand. I chose this piece of wood to be the stand because it gives the appearance that she is rising up out of the ocean on a crest of a wave.

I glued her to a post and tried to make it as inconspicuous as possible. I wanted to create the illusion of floating. When I look at The Mermaid from a distance she reminds me of the first time that I saw the statue of Nike in the Louvre. When you stand at the bottom of the steps and look up you see this magnificent ethereal statue of Nike hovering at the top of the stairs.

 In the following pictures you can see the shell that The Mermaid is cradling against her chest. It would appear that she is protecting it.

I am happy with the way The Mermaid has turned out. Unlike the Siren who has a raw, overpowering sensuality, The Mermaid has a more ethereal quality that us just as alluring. She will be just as effective in luring sailors to crash onto the rocky shores that they inhabit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Yesterday, Saturday, March 3, 2012, my wife and i went to The Ideal Spring Home and Garden Show at the Careport Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. The show was on from Thursday, March 1st until Sunday, March 4th.

We were at the Careport Centre just before it opened at 10:00 AM. Saturday was a busy day for us so we wanted to get to the show right at the beginning so we could spend the morning there and leave by half past noon.

After getting into the show we did a quick walk around to get an overall look at the show. One of things that was featured was how to convert a shipping container into livable outdoor space. I was an interesting concept but  do not see myself purchasing a shipping container and converting it into a backyard gazebo anytime soon.

We spent most of our time from 10:30 AM until 12:30 PM attending the seminars at the Ideal Super Stage which was set up at the back of the show.

The first seminar that we attended was Joe Levesque who is the executive chef at the international center in Toronto. He did an excellent presentation. With his assistant they cooked Cajun shrimp with Quinoa salad. Everyone attending has a sample plate of shrimp and Quinoa salad. It was very tasty.

After Joe Levesque cooking seminar, we watched Reena Nerbas talk about Garden With Less Toxins and More Onions. We really like her point of view of using natural products that we have around the home to control insects and pests that are less harmful to the environment. Reena has some really great ideas. One idea that I like a lot is making a tea out of rhubarb leaves and using it as a natural pesticide. This is great because I have always cut off the rhubarb leaves when I harvested them from the garden and put them in the compost because I knew they were poisonous to eat. Now I can serve tea to all the pesky little critters that assail our garden. Our hospitality will be their undoing!

After Reena, there was another seminar by Rob Rainford called Born to Grill. Rob Rainford is a very entertaining guy. He is funny yet he projects a sense of authority and confidence that makes you want to pay attention to what he has to say. Rob made chicken wings from his own barbecue recipe. We had an opportunity to try his wings and they were delicious. My only regret is that I did not have a chance to try his super hot wings. It was past 12:30 and it was time to go!