Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Marquetry Sewing Box

This is a small sewing box that I created out of another mahogany cigar box.  I call it the "Arm Chair Sewer" since it is the perfect size for sewing on a button or hemming.  It would also be the perfect size for a hand quilter to take to a quilting class or bee.  The design is made of maple, walnut, cherry, with small accent pieces of dyed poplar.

I added dividers to the inside of the box and three dowels to hold three full size spools of thread.  I lined the lid with vintage velvet that I dyed a soft moss green and trimmed it with some vintage lace.  The lid has a pocket to hold embroidery scissors and a small bamboo vial to hold spare needles.  I made a matching pin cushion stuffed with wool from my own sheep.

Both the front and the back are done in a checkerboard design with walnut and maple squares.  The overall dimensions of the box is 5 3/4 inches x 4 5/8 inches and is 3 1/2 inches tall.

Top of box

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Snowy Sunset

When the clouds finally parted a bit just about sunset the colors were just staggering.  I just had to share these  beautiful photos.  It's moments like this that really inspire the artists soul...

It makes dealing with the snow more than worth it.  It brings a silence and awe with it - the sounds all muffled with the snowfall and the air crisp and sharp.  Oh my.....what a lovely ending to the day.

Sheepish Saturday

Chilly Persuasion
What a difference a day can make in the Pacific Northwest!  Yesterday it was in the 40's and there was an end in sight to my ice rink paths and driveway.  I had to clean off my satellite dish 4 times during the news this morning as it kept freezing up!  Today it is mega snow - not the nice kind.  Not the sweet fluffy, will go right through the snow blower kind, but the heavy, wet, you gotta man handle it with a grain shovel kind.  The weather guessers keep saying there is a back side to this but I haven't seen any sign of it and the wind is blowing this into drifts.   Every trip outside to clean off the dish, the sheep sang out "Are you coming yet??"  "Hey - you in the puffy coat - we could use a little extra hay this afternoon!"  (baa, baa, baa...)  So - being the softy that I am, I relented and did my chores early!  (Not to mention, I just wanted to get it over with and get back to my spinning wheel )

Mission accomplished!  Back to spinning my wheels.  Let's just hope the power stays on so my chili will finish cooking.  If you are slogging around out there - stay safe. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spinning The Blues

dark blue hand painted merino single
dark blue plied
It's been a long, strange winter this year.  It started out with early cold and snow and then fizzled out into a cycle of rain, snow, lots of ice, more rain, more snow and lots of dark gray days.  We tend to get a lot of those gray days here in the winter with low light.  Yesterday the news was wind - lots of wind with gusts up to 50 mph.  I am happy to say that my power bumped a few times but much to my surprise and joy, stayed on.  Around here when we get high wind warnings, I fill the milk jugs with water "just in case" and make sure there is a 5 gallon bucket in the bathroom for flushing.  I know, sure as I am sitting here, that if I don't, the power will definitely go out!  Well friends, since I was well prepared, the power stayed on.  You see, that's how it works in Sheri-land.  If I hadn't filled the jugs I know for a fact the opposite would be true.  So I got the added bonus of good light while I worked at plying the singles into yarn.

I finished plying the first bobbin while watching Nightline last night.  I find the irony of watching  high tech gadgets being manufactured in China with the tour of Apple's production line quite amusing as I am immersed with the peace of my decidedly "Low tech" spinning wheel.  If the power had gone out, I still would have plied the yarn because I am the power behind this little "machine".  I have to admit that I would rather do it with electric light than battery light & kerosene lamps but the beauty of it is that it really doesn't matter...

aqua, purple & teal single
I'm pretty new at the dying process so I am more than pleased at how my hand painted fiber is turning out.  The fiber I worked on yesterday was some singles that I started spinning on Saturday and was finally ready to ply.  I never know how it will actually turn out until I get it plied.

aqua, purple & teal 2-ply

I love the way this yarn turned out.  This is going to be a yummy color to knit with.  I still have quite a bit left to ply but I couldn't wait to share this lovely color.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dragonfly Box

Here is another one of my marquetry projects.  This was done on an upcycled wooden cigar box.  I like working with the cigar boxes as they are actually made of mahogany.  I love the Art Nouveau period with all of the winding arches in the designs.  They are very challenging to cut but as you can see, the end result is so worth all the effort.
                   This box is 10 3/4 inches by 7 3/4 and is 2 1/4 inches deep.

The woods used in this design are maple, birds eye maple, dyed poplar, pear wood, rainbowed poplar, walnut, and the wings out of this incredible dyed white figured maple called the pearl.  I wish the photos could capture the movement in the grains of the pearl veneer - they actually look shimmery.  The dragonfly eyes are cut from paua shell veneer to add a pop of color.

The inside lid of this particular cigar box was painted with logos and because the lid is inset I couldn't veneer the inside of the lid as I originally planed on.  I covered the inside lid with decorative paper and added a padded velvet bottom.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Marquetry - The Healer

The Healer - pre-finish
I have been playing with my camera today, trying to take photographs that are accurate in color but without the problem of "shine".  It's very difficult to get a good photo of these pictures when they are finished even without a flash.  The lacquer shines even without any direct lighting making it so hard to get an accurate portrayal of the finished piece.  Unfortunately without the finish, the true colors don't shine through.

I did this piece a couple of years ago but never got pictures of her sprayed.  I call this piece The Healer.  She carries the world in her hands.  We all have the capacity to heal ourselves and therefore our own worlds.  It is that idea that inspired this piece.  The world in her hands is made of two kinds of shell veneer- one layer of paua shell and tiny pieces of grinaco mexico shell that make up the continents.  The piece is made from Rainbowed poplar, pear wood, oak, walnut, dyed poplar, white anagre, and silver dyed lacewood.  Face and hand details are done with Lyra colored pencils.

The Healer - lacquer finish

Figure detail

In the figure detail picture the shine shows with white lines on the edges of her cloak and in her hair.

I have shared the unfinished pictures on the MJF forum but this is the first time I have shared the finished pictures.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Picture Progress

For those of you who have been following my progress on this picture, I just thought I would post what I have been up to.  It's been slow but steady.  I finally finished roughing in the two little girls this afternoon so I thought it was a good time for an update.  For those that are interested in what types of wood the picture is made from, there is mahogany, silver dyed lace wood, maple, dyed poplar, rainbowed poplar (natural colors - greens in the foreground), aspen, pear wood, & dyed Castillo also walnut & walnut burl and maple burl.