January 2018 News

The big news for me is that I became a Grandma.  Welcome to Aleta Marie.  

The big news for me is that I became a Grandma.  Welcome to Aleta Marie.  

I wanted to pass on this Holiday greeting from our friend and fellow woodcarver, Anom and his family.  

I wanted to pass on this Holiday greeting from our friend and fellow woodcarver, Anom and his family.  

Grapes and Leaves Graduate Martha did a stunning job.  She has already started her second project, an ash mallet.  The difference between the woods is like night and day.  Basswood is soft and almost creamy in texture when cut with sharp tools.  The ash is a ring porous wood that is tough and stringy.   

Grapes and Leaves Graduate Martha did a stunning job.  She has already started her second project, an ash mallet.  The difference between the woods is like night and day.  Basswood is soft and almost creamy in texture when cut with sharp tools.  The ash is a ring porous wood that is tough and stringy.   

Every year Doug has been carving his wife a three dimensional wood Christmas card.  This year it was influenced by their vacation to Japan.  

Every year Doug has been carving his wife a three dimensional wood Christmas card.  This year it was influenced by their vacation to Japan.  

Robyn is finally happy with her Bear carving.  It took a couple of tries and she was not smiling when she first started carving the bear in what turned out to be a rather punky piece of sugar pine.  After ditching the pine she got some Redwood which, although hard to carve, turned out really great.  The Redwood had pretty open growth rings and was dry so she is on coat # 12 of Watco and he is still sucking it up.  

Robyn is finally happy with her Bear carving.  It took a couple of tries and she was not smiling when she first started carving the bear in what turned out to be a rather punky piece of sugar pine.  After ditching the pine she got some Redwood which, although hard to carve, turned out really great.  The Redwood had pretty open growth rings and was dry so she is on coat # 12 of Watco and he is still sucking it up.  

Good Job Amelia!  The raised letters on this complicated character were extremely difficult to carve.   

Good Job Amelia!  The raised letters on this complicated character were extremely difficult to carve.   

Amelia's little sister Katherina joined us and carved a fish and then added the most glorious colors.  

Amelia's little sister Katherina joined us and carved a fish and then added the most glorious colors.  

Sarah came to get some help with her woodcarving.  She is an artist and taught herself to carve.  She has a great eye and is totally fearless but was frustrated with some of her results.  We worked together and she got through most of the steps of the Grapes and Leaves project.  I was so pleased that she felt like she learned a lot from the project.  Hopefully she will get to join us again but it is a long trip from Alaska.  

Sarah came to get some help with her woodcarving.  She is an artist and taught herself to carve.  She has a great eye and is totally fearless but was frustrated with some of her results.  We worked together and she got through most of the steps of the Grapes and Leaves project.  I was so pleased that she felt like she learned a lot from the project.  Hopefully she will get to join us again but it is a long trip from Alaska.  

Maize is starting her third project.  This one is a Book Box.  The cover and spine are out of Butternut and the "pages" are out of Basswood.  The pieces are all cut and there is a rather complicated series of steps to glue all the pieces together.  Some pieces have glue and some don't in order for the box to work.  Thank goodness Maize is a bright and attentive woodcarver because she caught me right before I was going to glue the wrong piece.  

Maize is starting her third project.  This one is a Book Box.  The cover and spine are out of Butternut and the "pages" are out of Basswood.  The pieces are all cut and there is a rather complicated series of steps to glue all the pieces together.  Some pieces have glue and some don't in order for the box to work.  Thank goodness Maize is a bright and attentive woodcarver because she caught me right before I was going to glue the wrong piece.  

Randall finished his dog portrait out of Cypress.  The grain does a nice thing over the back and haunches.

Randall finished his dog portrait out of Cypress.  The grain does a nice thing over the back and haunches.

Randall finished his dog portrait out of Cypress.  The grain does a nice thing over the back and haunches.

Randall finished his dog portrait out of Cypress.  The grain does a nice thing over the back and haunches.

Conor finished another tiny critter. Carved, painted and wood burned basswood. 

Conor finished another tiny critter. Carved, painted and wood burned basswood. 

This was a repair job I did last month.  The carving was from Brazil and a piece broke off and they didn't have the piece.  The top left shows where the damage was and the piece missing.  The top right shows the edge and the reason that it broke.  The carving was from one piece of wood and the light area was the sap wood.  The sapwood had beetle damage.  From the surface there was only a couple of tiny holes but the edge shows the channels that the bugs chewed.  That was probably the reason the piece broke there.  The bottom two pictures show the repair.  I used butternut to try and match the color and texture of the wood, although it is softer than the original wood.  The patch and seam show on the back but I was able to match the design and wood burning pretty closely on the front. I am hoping that with aging the color will get more yellow and darker and will be even closer than it is now.  Conor finished another tiny critter. Carved, painted and wood burned basswood. 

This was a repair job I did last month.  The carving was from Brazil and a piece broke off and they didn't have the piece.  The top left shows where the damage was and the piece missing.  The top right shows the edge and the reason that it broke.  The carving was from one piece of wood and the light area was the sap wood.  The sapwood had beetle damage.  From the surface there was only a couple of tiny holes but the edge shows the channels that the bugs chewed.  That was probably the reason the piece broke there.  The bottom two pictures show the repair.  I used butternut to try and match the color and texture of the wood, although it is softer than the original wood.  The patch and seam show on the back but I was able to match the design and wood burning pretty closely on the front. I am hoping that with aging the color will get more yellow and darker and will be even closer than it is now.  Conor finished another tiny critter. Carved, painted and wood burned basswood. 

November 2017 News

Welcome to Memo and Alex, new Grapes and Leaves Grads. 

Welcome to Memo and Alex, new Grapes and Leaves Grads. 

Welcome to Arielle and Daniel

Welcome to Arielle and Daniel

Rise finished this piece a bit ago as a gift for her sister.  The carving has been gifted and we can share it now.  The low relief horse head is carved from a beautiful piece of ripple grain basswood. 

Rise finished this piece a bit ago as a gift for her sister.  The carving has been gifted and we can share it now.  The low relief horse head is carved from a beautiful piece of ripple grain basswood. 

Owen finished his basswood Greenman face.  The piece of wood was 4" thick, allowing for the beautiful deep relief of the overlapping leaves.  

Owen finished his basswood Greenman face.  The piece of wood was 4" thick, allowing for the beautiful deep relief of the overlapping leaves.  

Art, part of our regular Thursday morning gang, finished this great piece This friendly elephant ives on the wall in his garage to keep his reusable grocery bags ready for the next grocery trip.  This piece is basswood painted with acrylic paint.   

Art, part of our regular Thursday morning gang, finished this great piece This friendly elephant ives on the wall in his garage to keep his reusable grocery bags ready for the next grocery trip.  This piece is basswood painted with acrylic paint.   

Daniel, after finishing his Grapes and Leaves, carved this snake wrapped walking stick.  It is carved from Jelutong and the snake scales are punched with a large 1/2" metal letter "D" stamp.  It makes a great scaly snake skin texture.  

Daniel, after finishing his Grapes and Leaves, carved this snake wrapped walking stick.  It is carved from Jelutong and the snake scales are punched with a large 1/2" metal letter "D" stamp.  It makes a great scaly snake skin texture.  

Bradley finished this Intarsia Unicorn made from basswood and redwood with wood burned and carved details.  

Bradley finished this Intarsia Unicorn made from basswood and redwood with wood burned and carved details.  

The San Francisco class through the Randall Museum is over half way done.  The kids class finished their first project and are now all working away at diverse second projects.  We have magic wand, soccoer ball, releif carved tree, aptical illusion releif and and abstract being worked on.  

The San Francisco class through the Randall Museum is over half way done.  The kids class finished their first project and are now all working away at diverse second projects.  We have magic wand, soccoer ball, releif carved tree, aptical illusion releif and and abstract being worked on.  

The Randall adult class finished their Grapes and Leaves and are well into their second projects. 

The Randall adult class finished their Grapes and Leaves and are well into their second projects. 

The next generation of woodcarvers hard at work.  Echo designed, carved, woodburned and painted this wonderful low relief carving of Persephone for her little sister, Persephone's birthday.  Conor is learning an advanced carving technique for his carved prehistoric fish.  He did a lovely small texture and woodburned the eyes for his tiny critter ( the name of which I can't even pronounce let alone remember.) 

The next generation of woodcarvers hard at work.  Echo designed, carved, woodburned and painted this wonderful low relief carving of Persephone for her little sister, Persephone's birthday.  Conor is learning an advanced carving technique for his carved prehistoric fish.  He did a lovely small texture and woodburned the eyes for his tiny critter ( the name of which I can't even pronounce let alone remember.) 

Welcome to Randall and Maize.  What a wonderful way for a father and daughter to spend a Saturday afternoon.  

Welcome to Randall and Maize.  What a wonderful way for a father and daughter to spend a Saturday afternoon.  

More of the younger generation of carvers, hard at work.  Maisie is using the elbow clamp technique for sanding the outside of her Alaska Yellow cedar bowl.  Bella is wrapped up with riffling her Jelutong Cat sculpture. 

More of the younger generation of carvers, hard at work.  Maisie is using the elbow clamp technique for sanding the outside of her Alaska Yellow cedar bowl.  Bella is wrapped up with riffling her Jelutong Cat sculpture. 

I had a couple of interesting commissions in the last few months.  This one although small was very difficult.  It involved wood burning a customer requested Quote and specific font on the lid of a treasured wooden burl box.  The whole lid was only  1 1/2" by 3 1/2".  It was very, very challenging.   

I had a couple of interesting commissions in the last few months.  This one although small was very difficult.  It involved wood burning a customer requested Quote and specific font on the lid of a treasured wooden burl box.  The whole lid was only  1 1/2" by 3 1/2".  It was very, very challenging.   

The second piece, also lettering, was an inscription carved on the back of a teak bench.  Lots of things made this one hard.  It was a birthday present with a time deadline, there was a shipping company hold up and numerous problems just getting the piece to me, then rush carving, and rush pick up but in the end it all came together.  When the customer picked it up they told me the story of "Multa Amoris."  The bench was for their mother's birthday.  The saying was what their father signed on all of his letters.  The father had recently died so it was somewhat of a memorial.  I was so glad that it worked out well in the end.  

The second piece, also lettering, was an inscription carved on the back of a teak bench.  Lots of things made this one hard.  It was a birthday present with a time deadline, there was a shipping company hold up and numerous problems just getting the piece to me, then rush carving, and rush pick up but in the end it all came together.  When the customer picked it up they told me the story of "Multa Amoris."  The bench was for their mother's birthday.  The saying was what their father signed on all of his letters.  The father had recently died so it was somewhat of a memorial.  I was so glad that it worked out well in the end.  

Another commission that I just finished was this stand for this lovely vintage mannequin head.  Following are some pictures of the process.  

Another commission that I just finished was this stand for this lovely vintage mannequin head.  Following are some pictures of the process.  

Step one was to work with the client to come up with a design.  This was done with a small clay maquette (the model shows up in a later picture.)  The next step is to find wood that will work.  Here is some of the Jelutong that I got from the pattern maker shop last year.  

Step one was to work with the client to come up with a design.  This was done with a small clay maquette (the model shows up in a later picture.)  The next step is to find wood that will work.  Here is some of the Jelutong that I got from the pattern maker shop last year.  

The base of the head needed to seat closely to the top of the stand.  There is a 5/8" steel rod that comes out of the bottom of the head.  I used a hand plane to get the fit as close as possible.  

The base of the head needed to seat closely to the top of the stand.  There is a 5/8" steel rod that comes out of the bottom of the head.  I used a hand plane to get the fit as close as possible.  

Time to glue the two pieces of wood together.  Since they were both oversized I only needed to have a good fairly tight joint, the position only needed to be "sorta" close.  I used inner tube stretched over the top to apply even pressure.  

Time to glue the two pieces of wood together.  Since they were both oversized I only needed to have a good fairly tight joint, the position only needed to be "sorta" close.  I used inner tube stretched over the top to apply even pressure.  

When the glue was dry it was outside to remove massive amounts of wood with the angle grinder and a very coarse 4 1/2 " Kutzall dish wheel.  It made Lots of dust and was difficult to control but I did it.  The finer details and smoothing were done with my Balinese tools and Italian riflers.  

When the glue was dry it was outside to remove massive amounts of wood with the angle grinder and a very coarse 4 1/2 " Kutzall dish wheel.  It made Lots of dust and was difficult to control but I did it.  The finer details and smoothing were done with my Balinese tools and Italian riflers.  

The roughed out piece sat next to the maquette where I could look at it for several days.  I sent off pictures to the client and we both agreed that it was too tall.  So back to the shop to cut 2 1/2" off the bottom and do some other small adjustments.  Then the final filling and sanding and prepping for the client to have it painted.  

The roughed out piece sat next to the maquette where I could look at it for several days.  I sent off pictures to the client and we both agreed that it was too tall.  So back to the shop to cut 2 1/2" off the bottom and do some other small adjustments.  Then the final filling and sanding and prepping for the client to have it painted.  

July 2017 News

Welcome to some of the new Grapes and Leaves grads.

Welcome to some of the new Grapes and Leaves grads.

Lorraine finished this piece.  The story behind this one is that the director of the hospital where the large "St. Clare Healing a Child" lives liked it so much he kept it in his office.  When he retired Lorraine carve this for him as his own piece.  Now the original piece can be in an area where everyone can enjoy it.

Lorraine finished this piece.  The story behind this one is that the director of the hospital where the large "St. Clare Healing a Child" lives liked it so much he kept it in his office.  When he retired Lorraine carve this for him as his own piece.  Now the original piece can be in an area where everyone can enjoy it.

Then she starts another one.  Lorraine got this piece of Elm that was from one of my teacher's students. It  must be 35 years old and there was still a drawing that Ben Shaw had sketched out for his student John.  It is hard, hard, hard and beautiful. 

Then she starts another one.  Lorraine got this piece of Elm that was from one of my teacher's students. It  must be 35 years old and there was still a drawing that Ben Shaw had sketched out for his student John.  It is hard, hard, hard and beautiful. 

Doug made a trip to Japan and brought back this beautiful carving.  It is so delicate and beautiful.  A masterful combination of tool marks and detail.  

Doug made a trip to Japan and brought back this beautiful carving.  It is so delicate and beautiful.  A masterful combination of tool marks and detail.  

Twiggy joined us from the Randall Museum class.  She carved her Grapes and Leaves and then carved this beautiful mask.  it was her very first Mask and she did a wonderful job of adding texture (gun checkering tools) and color.  

Twiggy joined us from the Randall Museum class.  She carved her Grapes and Leaves and then carved this beautiful mask.  it was her very first Mask and she did a wonderful job of adding texture (gun checkering tools) and color.  

Another Randall Museum class project.  This is a lovely Alder bowl.  

Another Randall Museum class project.  This is a lovely Alder bowl.  

Elena finished her cat carving.  

Elena finished her cat carving.  

Joy finished her Mermaid mask carved in Basswood.  She used some stone spheres for the eyes so when it is held up to the light they have a soft glow.  She was inspired with the color and it is hard to even tell this is a wood piece.  It has a look of ancient metal.  

Joy finished her Mermaid mask carved in Basswood.  She used some stone spheres for the eyes so when it is held up to the light they have a soft glow.  She was inspired with the color and it is hard to even tell this is a wood piece.  It has a look of ancient metal.  

Radhika  loved carving this plum abstract so much that when she finished she started a second one that is way bigger.  Can't wait to see how it turns out.  

Radhika  loved carving this plum abstract so much that when she finished she started a second one that is way bigger.  Can't wait to see how it turns out.  

Rise carved this staff from Birch.  She left some of the bark on as random rings.  The top and bottom were capped with copper and she added occasional "dots" of copper by drilling and inserting heavy copper  wire.  

Rise carved this staff from Birch.  She left some of the bark on as random rings.  The top and bottom were capped with copper and she added occasional "dots" of copper by drilling and inserting heavy copper  wire.  

Dave just finished his Spruce fish.  Not too long ago this was a log he brought into the studio.  It is a lovely piece.  

Dave just finished his Spruce fish.  Not too long ago this was a log he brought into the studio.  It is a lovely piece.  

Dave just finished his Spruce fish.  Not too long ago this was a log he brought into the studio.  It is a lovely piece.  

Dave just finished his Spruce fish.  Not too long ago this was a log he brought into the studio.  It is a lovely piece.  

Not all carving are big.  Michael brought in this sweet foot that he is carving.  

Not all carving are big.  Michael brought in this sweet foot that he is carving.  

I did a little bit of playing around.  I carved this light sconce from Jelutong and added the glass eyes that were left over from the Treeman project.  This piece now lives in my bathroom and greets me every morning reminding me to carve for fun as much as possible.  

I did a little bit of playing around.  I carved this light sconce from Jelutong and added the glass eyes that were left over from the Treeman project.  This piece now lives in my bathroom and greets me every morning reminding me to carve for fun as much as possible.  

With all of the going through "stuff" it brings up old memories. I have been remembering my teacher, Ben Shaw.  He was a remarkable man.  

With all of the going through "stuff" it brings up old memories. I have been remembering my teacher, Ben Shaw.  He was a remarkable man.  

Part of dealing with ending my cabinetmaking business is having to deal with things that I stored at the cabinet shop.  One of them is a teak coffee table that I made 35 years ago when I worked at the Teak Hot Tub factory.  It was well used with rings, stains and scratches but the wood underneath was beautiful.  

Part of dealing with ending my cabinetmaking business is having to deal with things that I stored at the cabinet shop.  One of them is a teak coffee table that I made 35 years ago when I worked at the Teak Hot Tub factory.  It was well used with rings, stains and scratches but the wood underneath was beautiful.  

After spending the weekend sanding and scraping the Teak coffee table now has a new life as a desk top. 

After spending the weekend sanding and scraping the Teak coffee table now has a new life as a desk top. 

Another end of an era project.  This gorgeous 52" x 58" x 2.5" piece of old growth  ripple grain Redwood used to be a dusty, scratched lunch room table at the cabinet shop.  After lots of sanding and scraping it now has a new life as my headboard.  Makes me smile.  

Another end of an era project.  This gorgeous 52" x 58" x 2.5" piece of old growth  ripple grain Redwood used to be a dusty, scratched lunch room table at the cabinet shop.  After lots of sanding and scraping it now has a new life as my headboard.  Makes me smile.  

April 2017 News

Week one of Bali Mask Carving and I had finished one mask, that is often referred to as instructor assisted.  Anom would show me the step by doing it on one side and I would try to replicate it on the other side.  The smiling face mask was my second mask.  The bottom right is what Anom was working on that first week.  

This marking tool was one that Anom Inherited from his grandfather.  It is basically a notched square with the three dimensions needed for cutting out blanks for a mask.  Almost all masks that are worn use these proportions with slight variations if you would want an especially long nose or extra on top for some sort of hair.   

This marking tool was one that Anom Inherited from his grandfather.  It is basically a notched square with the three dimensions needed for cutting out blanks for a mask.  Almost all masks that are worn use these proportions with slight variations if you would want an especially long nose or extra on top for some sort of hair.   

A few days after I got there Anom had his friend come over and cut mask blanks from a freshly cut Pule tree that had fallen in a local temple.  The tree had just come down about 2 weeks before I got there.  His friend was incredibly skilled with the chainsaw.  You can see the marking square in his hand.  After cutting the logs into disks of the correct length the two of them figured out how to get the maximum number of blanks from each round.  There ended up with almost no waste and the corner of the pie shaped piece was often saved for ears.  

A few days after I got there Anom had his friend come over and cut mask blanks from a freshly cut Pule tree that had fallen in a local temple.  The tree had just come down about 2 weeks before I got there.  His friend was incredibly skilled with the chainsaw.  You can see the marking square in his hand.  After cutting the logs into disks of the correct length the two of them figured out how to get the maximum number of blanks from each round.  There ended up with almost no waste and the corner of the pie shaped piece was often saved for ears.  

The next morning I arrived to this beautiful stack of mask blanks waiting for carving.  Because of the careful planning there was almost no waste.  

The next morning I arrived to this beautiful stack of mask blanks waiting for carving.  Because of the careful planning there was almost no waste.  

I was introduced to a couple of brand new tools.  In the past carving at the weekend workshops Anom has brought us roughed out blanks.  Now I got to use the layout tool, a large Balinese hatchet and an ax to try to get the piece of wood to that same roughed out state.  So I spent about 8+ hours learning, or trying to learn to use these new tools.  It was very humbling to say the least.  It has also renewed my empathy level for new woodcarvers as well. 

I was introduced to a couple of brand new tools.  In the past carving at the weekend workshops Anom has brought us roughed out blanks.  Now I got to use the layout tool, a large Balinese hatchet and an ax to try to get the piece of wood to that same roughed out state.  So I spent about 8+ hours learning, or trying to learn to use these new tools.  It was very humbling to say the least.  It has also renewed my empathy level for new woodcarvers as well. 

After roughing out a blank with some Pule wood that was drier, I got to try the fresh cut wood.  Maybe I was just nervous starting on such a special piece of wood, but I swear the wood was vibrating.  It was exhausting work but what a feeling of accomplishment just to get it to this point.  

After roughing out a blank with some Pule wood that was drier, I got to try the fresh cut wood.  Maybe I was just nervous starting on such a special piece of wood, but I swear the wood was vibrating.  It was exhausting work but what a feeling of accomplishment just to get it to this point.  

I should know this by now: Don't temp the Gods!  Working away on my smiling faced mask and having lovely conversations with Anom on teaching, family, state of the world, etc. Foolish me I say "I have never carved though the front of a mask"  The Gods smacked me down for my smug remark.  I held the mask up to the light and I had literally come paper thin in one spot.  You could probably read through the wood it was so thin.  Humbling.  

I should know this by now: Don't temp the Gods!  Working away on my smiling faced mask and having lovely conversations with Anom on teaching, family, state of the world, etc. Foolish me I say "I have never carved though the front of a mask"  The Gods smacked me down for my smug remark.  I held the mask up to the light and I had literally come paper thin in one spot.  You could probably read through the wood it was so thin.  Humbling.  

Most  days at the hot part of the day I would put water on my head and lay on the cool tile floor to cool down.  After my near disaster I spent extra time looking at these beautiful carvings.  

Most  days at the hot part of the day I would put water on my head and lay on the cool tile floor to cool down.  After my near disaster I spent extra time looking at these beautiful carvings.  

Week one mask. Pule wood (some of the older, drier wood) The dark marks under the eyes are pitch pockets.  I love where they ended up but had nothing to do with that.  We call that lucky carving.  Photo by P. Walton

Week one mask. Pule wood (some of the older, drier wood) The dark marks under the eyes are pitch pockets.  I love where they ended up but had nothing to do with that.  We call that lucky carving.  Photo by P. Walton

Week one smiling mask. Pule wood (freshly cut Pule wood, repaired "almost" carve through )  Photo by P. Walton

Week one smiling mask. Pule wood (freshly cut Pule wood, repaired "almost" carve through )  Photo by P. Walton

Week two it was on to doing all the steps myself and using a new wood, Hibiscus.  It was much harder and denser than the Pule but wonderful to carve since it has beautiful colors that are especially vivid when first cut.  The piece of wood was about four finger longer than the normal mask length and I choose to leave that so that I could use it for "hair." 

Week two it was on to doing all the steps myself and using a new wood, Hibiscus.  It was much harder and denser than the Pule but wonderful to carve since it has beautiful colors that are especially vivid when first cut.  The piece of wood was about four finger longer than the normal mask length and I choose to leave that so that I could use it for "hair." 

It was so fun carving the Hibiscus wood.  I never knew what would surface as I carved.  The coloring was marbled and not like any wood I have ever carved before.  Carving the wood wet is such a different way of working.  

It was so fun carving the Hibiscus wood.  I never knew what would surface as I carved.  The coloring was marbled and not like any wood I have ever carved before.  Carving the wood wet is such a different way of working.  

By the end of the week the Hibiscus was about 75% done.  I have continued working on it since my return.  Photos by P. Walton

By the end of the week the Hibiscus was about 75% done.  I have continued working on it since my return.  Photos by P. Walton

Anom not only is a fabulous carver and teacher he is also a community leader.  Here he is preparing offerings for families that are about to start building.  He carefully inscribes text and images on various objects that will go at the base of the building.    

Anom not only is a fabulous carver and teacher he is also a community leader.  Here he is preparing offerings for families that are about to start building.  He carefully inscribes text and images on various objects that will go at the base of the building.  
 

The doors to my room. Each set of doors in the building were carved with similar but individual floral designs.   Everywhere there was such beauty.  

The doors to my room. Each set of doors in the building were carved with similar but individual floral designs.   Everywhere there was such beauty.  

My alarm clock, 5 year old Gustu.  Every morning I would hear the doors lightly rattle and this little voice calling " Sheri, Sheri are you awake?"  In the evening I would ask what he learned at school and he would proudly say "Transportation"  He also shared his cold with me.  

My alarm clock, 5 year old Gustu.  Every morning I would hear the doors lightly rattle and this little voice calling " Sheri, Sheri are you awake?"  In the evening I would ask what he learned at school and he would proudly say "Transportation"  He also shared his cold with me.  

The hardest thing for me was the traffic.  I have never seen so many scooters.  They drive on the opposite side of the street and pedestrians have no right of way.  I couldn't tell what the rules of the road were but it all seemed to somehow work.  

The hardest thing for me was the traffic.  I have never seen so many scooters.  They drive on the opposite side of the street and pedestrians have no right of way.  I couldn't tell what the rules of the road were but it all seemed to somehow work.  

My most gracious hosts, Anom and Dayu.  I was treated so well.  

My most gracious hosts, Anom and Dayu.  I was treated so well.  

I stayed with Dayu's mother just around the corner from where I was working.  She was an amazing cook and made sure I had breakfast and dinner.  She spent many hours of the day making some of the leaf baskets for the daily offerings.  I loved watching her make them.  There was not a wasted movement.  

I stayed with Dayu's mother just around the corner from where I was working.  She was an amazing cook and made sure I had breakfast and dinner.  She spent many hours of the day making some of the leaf baskets for the daily offerings.  I loved watching her make them.  There was not a wasted movement.  

Here is the last day carving.  Ketut, in the background, sands many of Anom's mask's.  Some of you have heard my story of Made, the lovely gentleman that packed up my tools and masks for my return home.  He carefully packed everything and did a wonderful job.  Anom was on the phone when he was done so I asked him if I could give him something for his work.  He really spoke no English  so I reached into my wallet and handed him a bill.  He was ever so gracious and motioned thank you with a big smile.  Later that night since I had a hard time with converting rupiahs I checked my phone app and to my horror found that I had given him a 14 cent tip.  Luckily I saw him the next day and was able to give him a more appropriate tip.  We both had a good laugh about it.   

Here is the last day carving.  Ketut, in the background, sands many of Anom's mask's.  Some of you have heard my story of Made, the lovely gentleman that packed up my tools and masks for my return home.  He carefully packed everything and did a wonderful job.  Anom was on the phone when he was done so I asked him if I could give him something for his work.  He really spoke no English  so I reached into my wallet and handed him a bill.  He was ever so gracious and motioned thank you with a big smile.  Later that night since I had a hard time with converting rupiahs I checked my phone app and to my horror found that I had given him a 14 cent tip.  Luckily I saw him the next day and was able to give him a more appropriate tip.  We both had a good laugh about it.   

I carved next to this wonderful stone carving everyday.  

I carved next to this wonderful stone carving everyday.  

Tool sharpening in Bali is very different than what we do here.  It seems as if the stones are sort of in between oil stones and water stones. They are softer than oil stones but used with water.  There is no slurry from the stone like when you use a water stone.   

Tool sharpening in Bali is very different than what we do here.  It seems as if the stones are sort of in between oil stones and water stones. They are softer than oil stones but used with water.  There is no slurry from the stone like when you use a water stone.   

Can't wait to go back.  

Can't wait to go back.  

February 2017 News

I am heading off to Bali to be a carving student with Mask carver  IDA BAGUS ANOM SURYAWAN.  Upper left mask is a traditional Balinese mask by Anom.  Below that is my first Bali Style mask that I did with some assistance from Anom.  The other two are Bali style masks that I did on my own.  I have no idea what I will be carving while I am in Bali.  Maybe it will be more of the traditional style and maybe more Sheri style.  

I am heading off to Bali to be a carving student with Mask carver  IDA BAGUS ANOM SURYAWAN.  Upper left mask is a traditional Balinese mask by Anom.  Below that is my first Bali Style mask that I did with some assistance from Anom.  The other two are Bali style masks that I did on my own.  I have no idea what I will be carving while I am in Bali.  Maybe it will be more of the traditional style and maybe more Sheri style.  

One of my favorite teaching assignments is to teach multi generations.  In January Dave's wife, daughter and several female family members made the trip to DC to join the Women's march after the inauguration.  While the Women folk were off marching Dave and his son Chris and Grandson Zachary joined him for the day carving.  I loved having the family carving together.

One of my favorite teaching assignments is to teach multi generations.  In January Dave's wife, daughter and several female family members made the trip to DC to join the Women's march after the inauguration.  While the Women folk were off marching Dave and his son Chris and Grandson Zachary joined him for the day carving.  I loved having the family carving together.

Welcome to new Grapes and Leaves graduate, Owen.   

Welcome to new Grapes and Leaves graduate, Owen.   

Lee's look of surprise is perhaps because she thought she would never finish the Grapes and Leaves. She did and it looks good.  

Lee's look of surprise is perhaps because she thought she would never finish the Grapes and Leaves. She did and it looks good.  

Sasha finished his grapes and leaves in two weeks.  He is a natural at carving.  

Sasha finished his grapes and leaves in two weeks.  He is a natural at carving.  

Devon made this case in a local makers' workshop but did a massive amount of wood-burning in the carving studio.  He also made a beautiful ribbon maple handle.  

Devon made this case in a local makers' workshop but did a massive amount of wood-burning in the carving studio.  He also made a beautiful ribbon maple handle.  

The kids class at the Randall After school class are an amazing bunch this time.  They all finished their flower carving and are carving bowls, spoons, sporks and fish.  

The kids class at the Randall After school class are an amazing bunch this time.  They all finished their flower carving and are carving bowls, spoons, sporks and fish.  

Tim is carving fish for a fish rattle.  Knife work is a more advanced skill and he is handling it like a pro.  

Tim is carving fish for a fish rattle.  Knife work is a more advanced skill and he is handling it like a pro.  

Ronan is a returning student at the Randall Kids carving class and has been working really hard on his totem/Tiki pole.  I am so proud of how his skill level has just continued to increase.  Good Job! It is a really challenging project.  

Ronan is a returning student at the Randall Kids carving class and has been working really hard on his totem/Tiki pole.  I am so proud of how his skill level has just continued to increase.  Good Job! It is a really challenging project.  

More wood-burning by Echo. 

More wood-burning by Echo. 

I was asked to carve letters to go above the plaque I carved last year.  It was fun to revisit an old piece and see that it was doing okay.  

I was asked to carve letters to go above the plaque I carved last year.  It was fun to revisit an old piece and see that it was doing okay.  

I have been doing several rush jobs for some fraternity groups.  It is always challenging and fun.   You should have seen me flipping the 4'x8' sheets of plywood around on my bench and I only cut into the bench once.  

I have been doing several rush jobs for some fraternity groups.  It is always challenging and fun.   You should have seen me flipping the 4'x8' sheets of plywood around on my bench and I only cut into the bench once.  

Now picture me doing this in a lovely tropical setting.  I'm off to carve in Bali for 2 weeks. 

Now picture me doing this in a lovely tropical setting.  I'm off to carve in Bali for 2 weeks. 

Remembering a Special Woodcarver

 Erin Tucker with a hand carved bowl, colored as was her style in the brightest colors she could find. On October 11, 2016 Erin went to "carve with the Angels"  

 Erin Tucker with a hand carved bowl, colored as was her style in the brightest colors she could find. On October 11, 2016 Erin went to "carve with the Angels"  

Erin had her very own style which always included beautiful colors and her unique interpretation of the ordinary which always came out looking extraordinary. 

Erin had her very own style which always included beautiful colors and her unique interpretation of the ordinary which always came out looking extraordinary. 

Her work was always colorful and full of joy.    

Her work was always colorful and full of joy.    

October 2017 News

Welcome to new Grapes and Leaves graduate, Ray.  

Welcome to new Grapes and Leaves graduate, Ray.  

Although Catherine finished this box last month it had to wait for the newsletter since it was an anniversary gift for her sweetie, Erik.  This was a hand carved box from a piece of Plum wood.  The top was sliced off and the bark remained.  A lovely contrast to the highly polished woodgrain.  

Although Catherine finished this box last month it had to wait for the newsletter since it was an anniversary gift for her sweetie, Erik.  This was a hand carved box from a piece of Plum wood.  The top was sliced off and the bark remained.  A lovely contrast to the highly polished woodgrain.  

Echo's little sister,  5 and 3/4 year old Sephy, finished her flower.  She didn't let a broken arm keep her from finishing.  

Echo's little sister,  5 and 3/4 year old Sephy, finished her flower.  She didn't let a broken arm keep her from finishing.  

Echo carved and colored this deep relief Skunk.  She did a great job coloring the piece to really accentuate the the deep carving.  

Echo carved and colored this deep relief Skunk.  She did a great job coloring the piece to really accentuate the the deep carving.  

Art for the past 4 years has hand made Christmas ornaments for his grandkids.  This years carved and painted angels turned out really nice.  They are not overly detailed or carved and have a wonderful folk "Art" feel.  Lucky Grandkids.  

Art for the past 4 years has hand made Christmas ornaments for his grandkids.  This years carved and painted angels turned out really nice.  They are not overly detailed or carved and have a wonderful folk "Art" feel.  Lucky Grandkids.  

I was driving a few days back and saw a sign saying Free Firewood.  You know what that means to a woodcarver.  I picked up this piece of Liquid Amber. It is a section of the trunk where several large branches originate. I am hoping there will be some interesting grain.  

I was driving a few days back and saw a sign saying Free Firewood.  You know what that means to a woodcarver.  I picked up this piece of Liquid Amber. It is a section of the trunk where several large branches originate. I am hoping there will be some interesting grain.  

September 2016 News

I have been using some of my Balinese mask carving skills and trying out carving  some green wood for a mask.  I got this wood from my friend Susan Koenig from a large tree branch she had to remove.  It was quite wet and easy to rough out.  

I have been using some of my Balinese mask carving skills and trying out carving  some green wood for a mask.  I got this wood from my friend Susan Koenig from a large tree branch she had to remove.  It was quite wet and easy to rough out.  

I find the inside of the mask almost more interesting than the front.  

I find the inside of the mask almost more interesting than the front.  

These two really old African pieces came into the studio for repair last week.  I was so honored to be trusted to do the work.  On the Male headpiece it had a very old nail attaching one of the horns. I had to gently pull it apart, scrape away the old glue, cut down the nail and slightly enlarge the hole enough that the pieces could meet cleanly.  The female piece had the neck of the baby broken and it was really challenging to get it back together.  There was no way to clamp it.    

These two really old African pieces came into the studio for repair last week.  I was so honored to be trusted to do the work.  On the Male headpiece it had a very old nail attaching one of the horns. I had to gently pull it apart, scrape away the old glue, cut down the nail and slightly enlarge the hole enough that the pieces could meet cleanly.  The female piece had the neck of the baby broken and it was really challenging to get it back together.  There was no way to clamp it.    

Got a picture of the pieces before I repaired them but didn't get one of the completed pieces. 

Got a picture of the pieces before I repaired them but didn't get one of the completed pieces. 

Lorraine finished up this wonderful Chinese Elm abstract piece.  She used the existing cracks to guide her design.  The dark heart wood is exposed in some of the creases and makes the whole piece quite dramatic.  

Lorraine finished up this wonderful Chinese Elm abstract piece.  She used the existing cracks to guide her design.  The dark heart wood is exposed in some of the creases and makes the whole piece quite dramatic.  

Here are some finished projects from the past month.  George and Amelia both finished up carved basswood flowers.  Dave finished his lovely St. Francis sculpture that was inspired by a Benny Bufano piece.  Rise completed this stylized bird carved from African Mahogany.  It finished to such a lovely sheen but I think we all agreed that African Mahogany is REALLY difficult to carved and to sand.  Best left for cabinetry rather than carving.  

Here are some finished projects from the past month.  George and Amelia both finished up carved basswood flowers.  Dave finished his lovely St. Francis sculpture that was inspired by a Benny Bufano piece.  Rise completed this stylized bird carved from African Mahogany.  It finished to such a lovely sheen but I think we all agreed that African Mahogany is REALLY difficult to carved and to sand.  Best left for cabinetry rather than carving.  

Welcome to the new Grapes and Leaves Graduates, Brian, 13 year old brothers Jacob and Gabriel and Alison.  A special welcome to Ellen Crouch starting her Grapes and Leaves.  Ellen is the daughter of Al Crouch, the wonderful carver that taught me how to carve letters.  

Welcome to the new Grapes and Leaves Graduates, Brian, 13 year old brothers Jacob and Gabriel and Alison.  A special welcome to Ellen Crouch starting her Grapes and Leaves.  Ellen is the daughter of Al Crouch, the wonderful carver that taught me how to carve letters.  

Even though her due date was yesterday, Tracy made it to class today and finished up a beautiful Walnut stirring  spatula.  Two weeks ago she put the final finishing touches on the second of her candle holders.  Dedication.  

Even though her due date was yesterday, Tracy made it to class today and finished up a beautiful Walnut stirring  spatula.  Two weeks ago she put the final finishing touches on the second of her candle holders.  Dedication.  

A Look Back to 1984

Back in 1984 I carved the presidential seal for the podium of the Democratic Convention.  That was the year that Geraldine Ferraro ran as the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major American political party.  Check out some of the pictures below.  

Back when I first started teaching woodcarving I carved the Presidential Seal for the podium for the Democratic Convention that was held in San Francisco that year.  That was a few years ago.  

Back when I first started teaching woodcarving I carved the Presidential Seal for the podium for the Democratic Convention that was held in San Francisco that year.  That was a few years ago.  

Here are my woodworking and woodcarving partners for this project.  Al Croutch carved the letters.  He taught me letter carving.  He is still going strong at 90+ years.  Jon Lopez was the founder of the woodworking school were I taught my very first beginning woodcarving class.  He painted and installed the plaque.  The paint needed to be exacting and specific colors to "read" correctly on the TV screen.  

Here are my woodworking and woodcarving partners for this project.  Al Croutch carved the letters.  He taught me letter carving.  He is still going strong at 90+ years.  Jon Lopez was the founder of the woodworking school were I taught my very first beginning woodcarving class.  He painted and installed the plaque.  The paint needed to be exacting and specific colors to "read" correctly on the TV screen.  

August 2016 News

Here are the results of the final days of the from both of the Bali mask carving workshops.  Everyone got far enough along to finish on their own.  Lots of diversity this year. 

Here are the results of the final days of the from both of the Bali mask carving workshops.  Everyone got far enough along to finish on their own.  Lots of diversity this year. 

This year I came up with a portable and adjustable workbench that allowed some of the carvers to successfully work sitting on a chair rather than sitting on the floor in the traditional Balinese style.  

This year I came up with a portable and adjustable workbench that allowed some of the carvers to successfully work sitting on a chair rather than sitting on the floor in the traditional Balinese style.  

Art decided on a clear wax finish for his smiling fisherman mask.  Patrick's mask is a portrait of his dog.  He will add some leather floppy ears and he woodburned the nose and eyes.  

Art decided on a clear wax finish for his smiling fisherman mask.  Patrick's mask is a portrait of his dog.  He will add some leather floppy ears and he woodburned the nose and eyes.  

Madeleine attended both of the workshops and came away with the laughing sister masks.  

Madeleine attended both of the workshops and came away with the laughing sister masks.  

Elena is finishing up her female Native American mask as a companion piece to her male mask from a previous Balinese Mask carving workshop. 

Elena is finishing up her female Native American mask as a companion piece to her male mask from a previous Balinese Mask carving workshop. 

In spite of my goofy smile I had so much fun.  Both of the masks that I worked on in these two workshops had smiles.  

In spite of my goofy smile I had so much fun.  Both of the masks that I worked on in these two workshops had smiles.  

The mask that I carved for the first workshop has a maroon acrylic wash on the back that comes through to the front for the lips, nostrils and eye lids. I worked really hard on trying to maintain the symmetry of this mask as I worked on it.  

The mask that I carved for the first workshop has a maroon acrylic wash on the back that comes through to the front for the lips, nostrils and eye lids. I worked really hard on trying to maintain the symmetry of this mask as I worked on it.  

My mask from the second workshop was more playful.  I didn't have an image in mind when I was carving but was trying for a peaceful smile.  I had lots of fun making the feather duster hair.  I actually took apart and reassembled a duster that I had been keeping for the feathers.  

My mask from the second workshop was more playful.  I didn't have an image in mind when I was carving but was trying for a peaceful smile.  I had lots of fun making the feather duster hair.  I actually took apart and reassembled a duster that I had been keeping for the feathers.  

Welcome to Grapes and leaves graduates, George, Jasper, Serenity, Niki and Cara.  Nice job!

Welcome to Grapes and leaves graduates, George, Jasper, Serenity, Niki and Cara.  Nice job!

Angel finished his Grapes and Leaves and a sweet little exotic wood heart for his very soon to be wife.  Congratulations!  Art finished his trout carving.  The low relief basswood fish was smoothed and the background left with a tooled texture and then colored with  diluted antique writing ink to get a cool watery background. 

Angel finished his Grapes and Leaves and a sweet little exotic wood heart for his very soon to be wife.  Congratulations!  Art finished his trout carving.  The low relief basswood fish was smoothed and the background left with a tooled texture and then colored with  diluted antique writing ink to get a cool watery background. 

More completed projects.  Jasper, (Simon's visiting cousin) completed a incised and wood burned letter.  Amelia shows off her Pterodactyl walking stick carved from alder.  Dave completed these lovely salad tongs from a log of Chinese elm he saved from the fire wood pile.  Good save Dave.  Tracy completed and put finish on her French Horn inspired  Cherrywood bowl.  

More completed projects.  Jasper, (Simon's visiting cousin) completed a incised and wood burned letter.  Amelia shows off her Pterodactyl walking stick carved from alder.  Dave completed these lovely salad tongs from a log of Chinese elm he saved from the fire wood pile.  Good save Dave.  Tracy completed and put finish on her French Horn inspired  Cherrywood bowl.  

DC Bill's Granddaughter, Josie, carved this beautiful deep relief carving as her second basswood carving.  

DC Bill's Granddaughter, Josie, carved this beautiful deep relief carving as her second basswood carving.  

DC Bill with his Big Boot.  A hard project to clamp but we now have it secured to the bench with a strap clamp.

DC Bill with his Big Boot.  A hard project to clamp but we now have it secured to the bench with a strap clamp.

Camille hand carved this base of Kiri wood to hold these glass "ribs."  Each piece has a small hollow recessed to locate and prevent the glass from rotating.  It is almost impossible to see the hollow so the glass appears to be sitting on a completely flat piece of wood. 

Camille hand carved this base of Kiri wood to hold these glass "ribs."  Each piece has a small hollow recessed to locate and prevent the glass from rotating.  It is almost impossible to see the hollow so the glass appears to be sitting on a completely flat piece of wood. 

July 2016 News

Don't miss the talk by Master carver IDA BAGUS ANOM SURYAWAN. (http://www.balimaskmaking.com/about/) JULY 1 7-9 PM at my studio. The suggested artist donation is $20. I know I go on and on about this but really folks, this man is magical and you will learn so much.

Don't miss the talk by Master carver IDA BAGUS ANOM SURYAWAN. (http://www.balimaskmaking.com/about/) JULY 1 7-9 PM at my studio. The suggested artist donation is $20. I know I go on and on about this but really folks, this man is magical and you will learn so much.

Here is this last weeks outdoor set up.  I rigged up for some shade and the new wood top made a great work surface once I got it off of the truck. 

Here is this last weeks outdoor set up.  I rigged up for some shade and the new wood top made a great work surface once I got it off of the truck. 

Some of the campers carved the name tags. i don't know how many name tags were make but at least 50. Big project.

Some of the campers carved the name tags. i don't know how many name tags were make but at least 50. Big project.

David of course did the grapes and leaves but for his second project worked on a carving sampler with letter carving, shell, and texture samples.

David of course did the grapes and leaves but for his second project worked on a carving sampler with letter carving, shell, and texture samples.

Sandee carved a walking stick for her second project. Here she is making used of two crossed tree trunks to hold her staff for rounding with the spoke shave.

Sandee carved a walking stick for her second project. Here she is making used of two crossed tree trunks to hold her staff for rounding with the spoke shave.

A close up of the top of Sandee's walking stick.

A close up of the top of Sandee's walking stick.

The first part of my week was to help folks to carve or stamp a name tag. Sharon used punches and markers to come up with a really fun and memorable name tag.

The first part of my week was to help folks to carve or stamp a name tag. Sharon used punches and markers to come up with a really fun and memorable name tag.

Here is a view of my accommodations. The mosquito net worked great up until the last night.

Here is a view of my accommodations. The mosquito net worked great up until the last night.

Sandra worked on an Inuit inspired bear carved from Jelutong. The pink buckets contained some woodblocks for printing fabric carved by Doreen. They were soaking in mineral oil to protect them from the ink. They were carved from end grain maple and Doreen was able to get some fine detail.

Sandra worked on an Inuit inspired bear carved from Jelutong. The pink buckets contained some woodblocks for printing fabric carved by Doreen. They were soaking in mineral oil to protect them from the ink. They were carved from end grain maple and Doreen was able to get some fine detail.

Here is our group at the group show on the final day. I have to say it was a lot of work but the carvers were fabulous and the atmosphere wonderful. Great Fun!

Here is our group at the group show on the final day. I have to say it was a lot of work but the carvers were fabulous and the atmosphere wonderful. Great Fun!