Sunday, October 14, 2007

Whale of a gift

I am a woodworker, this is my creative outlet of choice. I love designing and building furniture, but I also love the little personal things, that are fun to create. Things like signs, jewelry boxes, bird houses, frames, etc. At Christmastime, I love to give things I've made, if I can manage the time. One year I had visited a woodworking gallery with my girlfriend's parents. They had a lot of beautiful things there. Karen, my partner's mother, had expressed an interest in the napkin rings shaped like animals. They were basically flat cut outs of animals with a hole bored into them to hold a napkin. She said, "I'd love some napkin rings of whales, and if someone were to make them for me, I would need eight". This seemed like a pretty direct hint to me. She and her husband Jim had recently purchased a home on a cliff overlooking the Ocean in Northern California. They had to finish it, and they did so with natural maple moldings with cherry pegs. Even the kitchen was all cherry pegged maple. I decided to make the whales out of maple, with cherry pegs for eyes. I started by joining some maple planks together, then cut them into blocks. I designed them so the hole would not be through the whale, but where his tail would curl around to hold the napkin. I bored a napkin ring sized hole through the block, sketched out the shape of the whale, and then my girlfriend Elizabeth (who sanded a ton, and was a big help) and I, removed all the material that was not part of the whale. After we were done carving, we sanded them smooth, then waxed them. It was fun to do, and even more fun to give!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

More than a whale of a gift ... eight of them!! They are most beautiful functional artworks, I especially like the thought that went into their design!

RED MOJO said...

Thanks Anon. That's very kind of you to say. I think they are one of my most favorite things too.

Wieneke said...

Ooooohhh!!!! You are an artist. I like the story how you made these rings. I can see you did the job with great care and love.

Anonymous said...

I like the one wearing a beanie and matching tail best :)

RED MOJO said...

Wieneke, Thank you, "You are an artist" is a very high compliment indeed. They were time consuming, but worth every minute.

Anon, Wow, you must've blown up the picture and really studied them to notice thier little hats. I am grateful for that level of appreciation. You probably saw a couple spots I could've sanded more too!

Ces said...

Woodworkers are artists and you are an artist, a very good one too. I love my bird house (the side wall opens like a garage :-)

These are wonderfully beautiful gifts and the whale with the beanie could use a skateboard :-)

My father-in-law is a woodworker an I treasure every gift he has given me. I love wood.

You are admirable, amazing.

P.S. I owe you something. I have not forgotten. I will email.

RED MOJO said...

Ces, Thank you so much. That really means a lot coming from someone who's art I admire as much as yours.
I'm glad you like your birdhouse. Do you have it yet? I was a little worried about how well it would travel.

I'll be waiting patiently for your expert guidance on the other matter.

kj said...

wheeeee! what a high level of artwork! very very very very very very impressive.

of course i know this already, having seen your attention to detail and top notch skills.

what a whale of an art tale....

:)

RED MOJO said...

kj, Thank you very very very very very very much!
Your gush is making me blush :)

tsduff said...

Wow! Your skills are fabulous. sigh. I wish I had an art gene... then I could just make art (I like ceramics and sculture - maybe I'll yet discover I have talent chipping stone:)) and move to Iceland. LOL - they go crazy for "good" hand made art in Iceland. I love your work.

RED MOJO said...

tsduff, shucks, thank you! I'm sure you're talented at something artsy. I see from your blog, if those are your shots, that you are a very talented photographer. Keep trying different mediums, you'll find your niche :)