Thursday, September 29, 2011

More than a bit chuffed

Just heard that my entry into the UK Woodwork forum monthly turning competition has just come first. I expected to get a point per month for entering. To actually win anything is astonishing. Had a drink or two tonight.

My award just arrived, I continue to be chuffed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yew on yew

When we first bought this house, I made a table out of some old planks I found in the barn as we had nothing to eat our meals on. It turned out to be the most fabulous yew I have ever seen. Since we now have proper dining tables, it has been converted into a coffee table and resides in its temporary (read semi-permanent) abode in one of the bedrooms. As the kittens find any object within reach of interest, the tall yew wotsits have been removed from the kitten's area of operations and so sit on said coffee table along with a couple of model (OK toy) cars and Veronica's hi-fi (A couple of squillion watts a channel compared with my eight!).

In theory, these things are for sale. Quite how my adoring public are going to see them I'm not sure.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Natural light

We had been trying to get a photo of light showing through my pierced form without success when my wife suggested the obvious!! Sunlight. Flash just bleached all the colours or hid the points of light. I rather like it like this, will have to look into the possibilities of LED's to put inside.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another mixed day

Whilst my wife abandoned me for the day, I tried to overcome the lack of sleep (the back woke me at 4am this morning) by concentrating and failed miserably.

We have been trying to lay a concrete floor in our new 'kitchen'. This means Veronica acts as labourer and barrows in the sand and gravel and I do the artistic bit! This is a VERY slow process. I can manage about half an hour at a time and Ronnie is not much better. I removed the moulds from yesterdays pourings and am quite pleased with the resultant curve. Three sections to go.

Once that was done I cut a big bit of what I thought was walnut but am now convinced is Elm and made a big bowl. Its the nearest one in this pic. After that, I worried at my pierced form a bit more. Its getting there now but still not entirely happy with it.

All this AND feed us and the cats too. Its a tough old life init?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A mixed bag

The last couple of days has seen a mixture of action. First was to finish off the pierced and textured form inspired by the UK workshop thread on creativity and then I got brave and attacked a bit of yew that I had been looking at since I collected it. Extremely difficult turning with knots all over the place and interlocking grain galore. Definitely 'rustic', lovely bit of wood though, even more spectacular in the flesh than it looks in the pic.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A definite trend

A quick look at the last four pieces seems to reveal a trend towards the 'art/decoration/not necessarily practical'

Over the last month its been platters and bowls galore, using up the elm and walnut, so its made a nice change to sit and do minimal lathe work and concentrate on the pretty (if that's what the beholder's eye sees)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Further joys - next year's Chilli

If I thought that stringing onions was fun...... getting the kidney beans out of their packages is REALLY fun. Fortunately, we had some help from one of the kittens. The first pic shows the reality of living in France, fresh food, wine and..... MARMITE.

Doing this sort of thing makes you think. This years crops have been either too much or too few of everything. The too much we can solve by bunging it in the freezer. The too little we just have to shrug and make up elsewhere. BUT..... what would happen if we relied just on this to survive. These beans for example are far too small and too few. OK they will still make a few nice Chilli con Carne but what if we had to feed the family on them. We eat less. If it happened again next year we might not eat at all. Millions round the world are in just that situation and few will have a freezer so the excess will go rotten.

We are so spoiled and out of touch with reality in the west that I wonder if we deserve to survive sometimes. It makes me mad when I hear complaints about how the standard of living has dropped or if they can't afford the latest toy. GET REAL.

We choose to be as self sufficient as possible, some people don't have that choice.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


The kittens have now settled in... well actually thats not the point, THEY adapted to their new surroundings as soon as they saw their first meal, the two older cats have now accepted that their lives are now hell and no longer bop the little ones on the nose every time they get within two feet.

As is normal, the two little monsters have three modes with a fourth developing fast.
One - EAT, then eat again and then eat some more
Two - zoom around at a thousand miles an hour and who cares what is in the way being it animal, vegetable or mineral
Three - Collapse into an exhausted heap and sleep for two hours

Four - Switch on the motor as soon as picked up so that we think they are adorable and sweet and will keep feeding them.

They are growing so fast that I think we had better stop the food. Heaven knows what it will be like when they are full size and still zooming around. Thankfully they have a large countryside to dump all that energy into (into which to dump all that energy - for the pedants amongst you)


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Colin, one of the guys on the UK Workshop forum, started a really interesting thread about creativity and the development of ideas. Philip Streeting joined the discussion and set a brief for us to consider. He showed us some plant forms and suggested we take some element of the 'design' and use it for creating something.

It really made me think about the sort of turning I want to do and how I could somehow escape from the everyday making round objects and inject a little 'art'.

This little boxwood form is the first attempt. The outside is natural box and the inner 'egg' is coloured with gouache and then the whole is lacquered.

NOTE TO ACCOUNTANT: (Wife) I need some more tools for carving and shaping!!