03 November 2005

I've Been Certified!

Certification Entries

At the October meeting of the Pacific Northwest Woodturning Guild, I brought in these five pieces to be juried. Twenty-four suspenseful hours later (I always get nervous about things like this!) I got the call that said, basically, "Congratulations! You are now a Certified Member!"

So what exactly does this mean? In our guild jurying process, a guild member submits three to five pieces which are examined and rated in areas such as profile, proportion, originality, technical difficulty, workmanship, etc. The scale is designed so that relatively simple items which are well-executed can hold their own against more complex and innovative pieces. The idea is to determine if the turner consistently works to a reasonably high level of quality, independent of individual style or area of interest.

As you can see from these pieces, my current work is not wildly original nor technically challenging (unless you count getting just the right tightness of lid to please everyone!). But they were rated well in other categories, and the ratings were apparently very consistent from piece to piece, which is even better!

About the Pieces

The two classically-shaped weedpots in the front row were turned from the same block of myrtlewood.
Larger Myrtlewood Weedpot
I recently read Mike Darlow's book on Woodturning Design, and so I was paying particular attention to the curves and angles on these two pieces. They were turned specifically for the jurying. The finish is walnut oil. I deliberately did not wax or otherwise buff these to a shine, because the shapes and the coloration of the wood reminded me of those big stone vases one finds in old formal gardens. Of course, at 2.5" tall, even the larger weedpot shown here would be lost in the weeds!

The oldest piece is the maple burl box in the back row. I turned this about four years ago, and it is in my own collection. The lid is loose enough to be taken off one-handed, ideal for a desktop container. The interior space gently follows the outside contour near the base, and the finish is shellac and beeswax. Bigleaf maple burl is tight-grained, and the wood gives a satisfying "snick" when the top is replaced.

The tulip-bud walnut weedpot in the back is simply sensuous to hold, which is one reason I haven't actually put any dried arrangements in it yet. It is a marvelous piece of figured walnut, about four inches tall, and no two sides look anything alike. As I recall, the finish is Watco Natural Danish Oil, followed by beeswax. I made this about a year ago, and I was so pleased with the shape and the beauty of the wood that even before the piece came off the lathe, I had decided "This one's mine!"

This little shellac-finished pill-box is made from some older big-leaf maple that I acquired in the fall of 2003. The tree had been about 250-300 years old when it was taken down due to age and decay.
Maple Pillbox
The colors are darker than one usually associates with maple, but the wood works beautifully. The interior of the box is straight-sided and flat-bottomed, while on the outside, the lid and base have matching "thumbprint" hollows. Although the smallest piece, at less than 1.5" tall, this was the most challenging, because I originally sanded the opening in the base just a touch too loose, and I had to do some creative reworking of the lid. It worked out very well in the end, because the figure lines match up even better than they did at first. The lid now is a very snug "pop" fit, which it seems was not to the taste of some of the jurors, but I think it is quite appropriate to a pill-box!



At 11/11/2005 07:23:00 AM, Blogger Dave said...

That's some neat looking stuff. I've always liked things made out of wood. I used to have a antique cigar case (pocket sized, held two or three) that was crafted in a similair fashion.

If you didn't live so far away I've got two Elms and a bunch of big Cedar logs I'd give you! The Cedars will probably end up becoming fence posts, because I'd hate to pile 'em up and burn 'em.


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