Not sure how things are where you live but here in Phoenix we’ve become a hotbed for the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s times like these when it’s sometimes a struggle to find the positives and not get discouraged. If you’re an artist of any kind most of the work you do is solitary in nature, your opportunity to get out happens at your gallery and art shows and these have all been cancelled or are virtual. Diane has such a positive outlook and suggests just keep on working, experimenting, and honing your skills. That way when things return settle done we’ll have pieces that are ready. The blessing comes from having something to do and a place to do it safely. I’ve been fortunate in having a few frames to make and also making cradled panels for clients. I’ll just share what’s been going on in the shop, let’s begin with this latest frame (actually 3) for Diane’s work.
This is one of her recent pieces titled Season of Hope, it is a contemporary interpretation of figurative painting. The design of the frame it needed shouldn’t be curvy, the way the canvas is divided with that strong horizontal break dictated a simple profile. For coloration, black or gilded 23kt gold leaf seemed to be too stark of a contrast to the palette. Doing the entire frame in 12kt gold leaf would be too cold. This frame consists of a flat panel with a cap going around the perimeter. Knowing it would be oil gilded I used a gray Dux burnisher sealer and Mixol #14 Oxyd to achieve the desired color. Once dry and burnished with 4/0 oil free steel wool the outer edge was taped off, slow set adhesive applied, and then gilded with 12kt gold leaf. After the oil gilding was thoroughly cured the entire frame was waxed.
There is a second frame finished identically to this one, the third is unfinished at this time waiting for its’ painting.
Two other projects gave me an opportunity to maintain/hone my hand tool woodworking skills. I view anything I make as an opportunity to work with the tools and hopefully improve my skill level. This first one, a box to hold tea bags has gotten amazing response on Facebook and Instagram. It started out because I wanted to experiment with a method of putting dividers into boxes and/or trays. The joint begins with a 45° v-shaped cut in the tray sides, which was done with a router. I cut the ‘V’ first in a piece that was oversized. It was then ripped to the required size to ensure the V’s lined up perfectly when assembling the tray. The tray was assembled using miter joints and packing tape. The inner dividers were cut to approximate length and then the ends were mitered using a shooting board and block plane. Besides chisels and saws for the dovetails it was an opportunity to use skewed rabbet, small plow, and smoothing
One final project is this small box made of Home Depot Pine and a piece of Walnut. The challenge was cutting small dovetails in that soft Pine! The lid is a different design, just wanted to experiment with the handle, you can see there is a hole in the center for “finger clearance” and then the piece inset into the groove is angled to match the ends of the lid.
It’ll make for an interesting little keepsake box for the Mesa Art Center co-op I’m in. Like everything else, it’s been closed down since the pandemic started which gives me time to experiment and keep on keeping’ on!! Stay safe and healthy.