Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Alumni Notes: MXC in the Graphite World

Matthew Curry “MXC in the Graphite World” Opens at Northwest Fine Woodworking Gallery Thursday April 7th, 2011

Northwest Fine Woodworking proudly presents the fine art of Matthew Curry.   Matthew Curry’s detailed drawings in graphite and charcoal invite us to explore between the lines and experience other dimensions in fragments within the artist’s compositional cohesion. 
“My drawings are meant to evoke a sort of 4th dimension connecting the physical, spiritual and intellectual worlds.  My art is inspired by nature, malleable time, the sciences, geometry, laws of physics, and a healthy dose of jazz, fused with the joy of creating - a heady place to reside and dream.”
Matthew X. Curry studied at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture in New York.  His architectural training informs all areas of his multi-faceted career including interior and furniture design, as well as fine art drawings, woodworking and sculpture.  Prior to forming MXC Design in 1998, Matthew worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment and Orsini Design Associates in both NYC and later in Los Angeles.
Northwest Fine Woodworking is a cooperative gallery owned by Northwest-based studio furniture artists. Serving a national clientele this local cooperative opened its doors in 1980 and features the finest artisan woodwork available today.  For more information contact Northwest Fine Woodworking Gallery at 206-625-0542 or www.nwfinewoodworking.com.

(Matthew has attended several courses at the School and we're delighted to share his success)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Second Life of Trees - Northwest Fine Woodworking

The Second Life of Trees
opens May 2011 

Seattle, WA
March 22nd, 2011-

Northwest Fine Woodworking presents The Second Life of Trees, a showcase of sculptural woodwork, studio furniture, and wearable wood fashion.

Wood has been resourced and restructured by humankind for as long as there has been a humankind. No other material can claim such an elemental relationship with our species. Northwest Fine Woodworking wishes to honor the gentle giants who give their lives for our higher purposes in The Second Life of Trees which opens May 5th, 2011 in conjunction with First Thursday Artwalk in Pioneer Square. The show will feature 14 new studio furniture designs from Northwest Fine Woodworking members as well as wood vessels, sculpture and wearable fashion from our regions acclaimed artisans.

Noteworthy studio furniture pieces in The Second Life of Trees showcase:

A low tansu made from a salvaged, "murdered" Oregon walnut tree. According to Bainbridge Island artist Robert Spangler, "it looked like the tree had been shot and also stabbed by some kid who nailed steps into it to climb up". An extruded beam typically used in commercial construction is repurposed into a distinctive base for Hank Holzer's Akira Coffee Table with a cantilevered elm burl top. Natural planks and spalted maple highlight the inevitable exposure to elements all trees endure in Rich Soborowicz' "Live Edge Credenza". Furniture maker and master wood carver John Thoe makes use of the leftovers with "Table Scraps" - carved wood spoons and other vessels.

Wood turning - making bowls and vessels - has a long history of practice and Jerry Kermode has influenced a whole new generation of lathe-work enthusiasts in his 40 years of perfecting the craft. Using reclaimed clear cut forest stumps from 150+ year old redwood trees, Jerry's wood vessels draw attention to the relationship man has with his natural surroundings, including the harsh reality of our forest management history.

Jo Marsh treks the trails of our regional forests in search of treasure where others would find only debris. Her driftwood sculpture designs convey ghost images of ancient natural spirits. Voids within the gnarled, whorled wood are moved to the foreground of each design after many months of cautious scraping, carving and buffing to reveal the magnificently grained soul within. Jo sees her work as a collaborative, "kismet-induced", endeavor with nature.

Mathew Curry's multidimensional wall hangings and free-standing sculptures utilize found objects and natural treasures to convey ideas personal to the artist. By playing with texture, light, material and meaning Curry's works engage visually and prompt greater exploration by touch.

Who would have thought...high fashion constructed of exotic wood? The Bustier de Bois by renowned marquetry artist Paul Schurch is an exciting move for the Santa Barbara-based furniture maker. The outfit is made with Zebrawood veneer with the lining, skirt and ties made from Silk-Hemp cloth and fasteners in brass and recycled Rosewood. The shoes are altered wedges, clad in Zebrawood veneer, secured by a handmade bead of brass and wood. Surprisingly flexible and comfortable, the dress bends easily for putting on and taking off. Bustier de Bois will be on display only for the month of May at Northwest Fine Woodworking before heading to Del Mar, CA for another exhibition.

Holzer Akira Coffee Table
Akira Coffee Table by Hank Holzer
made from extruded bean and elm

Equinox by Mathew Curry
"Equinox" by Mathew Curry
Jo Marsh in the shop
driftwood artist, Jo Marsh
Northwest Fine Woodworking is a cooperative gallery owned by Northwest-based studio furniture artisans. Serving a national clientele this beloved wood gallery opened its doors in 1980 and is one of the largest and longest running organizations of its kind in North America.

For more information contact Gallery Director, Sharon Ricci at 206-625-0542 or director@nwfinewoodworking.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Richard Inman - Vardo in Progress

Richard Inman is a graduate of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking's Build a Gypsy Wagon class and he started building this Vardo late last year (2010). Richard took trees from his property had them milled and is using a simple solar kiln to dry the wood.

Richard graciously showed the Foundation students round his shop and the Gypsy Wagon in th emiddle of March 2011.

There are two slide show here - the first show is of our vist and puts Richard's shop in context. Richard is also a metalworker and he made his own stove to go into the Vardo!

The second slideshow is Richard's log of progress on the Vardo. Enjoy them both.

Richard's Vardo Progress Gallery

(coming soon)

Steve Habersetzer - Gentleman Woodworker

We are truly fortunate to have Steve Habersetzer in our community and on the Faculty of the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. Steve is both a woodworker and organic farmer. His woodworking is deeply rooted in the belief that all work should be sustainable and non-toxic. He does not use plywood or complex finishes.

As part of the foundation course we take the students to visit various woodworkers in Port Townsend, Bainbridge Island and Seattle. Steve was the first place we visited in our second tour. Steve has long collected wood and. as part of a small group, salvaged wood from local trees in the Port Townsend area.

Steve's shop is perfect, the octagonal shape, the layout of tools and the wonderful collection of hand tools invite questions and conversations. Steve also solved the question of how to make handle for the draws on the side tables by offering the class sections of Madrone that can be sawn to length and scribed to fit!

Steve teaches coopering at the School in the Summer and gave us a quick demo - as you'll see in the video.

Steve's Shop and Farm

Steve Habersetzer Demonstrating a Cooper's Plane

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Double Sided Tape - getting it right

Product recommendation or shop tip? We hesitate to do product recommendations but sometimes we just need to share something that works really well for us in the shop.

Double sided or Double stick tape is an essential shop supply. A good double stick tape should be easy to use - tear or cut easily, grip well and be easy to remove, leaving no residue. Most hardware stores only stock carpet tape or double sided foam tapes - these have to be cut, the backing tape fought off and then the residue scraped off or scrubbed off with a solvent. No fun!

When I was at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship (back in 2001) I was introduced to Intertape's  591 Double Coated Paper Tape. You can easily tear it with your fingers, strip off the backing tape with a thumbnail and it peels off easily - leaving no residue. I've found it to be very reliable in the shop for holding temporary jig fixtures in place, making mockups or maquettes, putting up posters in the shop. The pressure sensitive adhesive is just that if you use a clamp to press down the two pieces you're joining you'll have a tough time prying them apart.

If you can share a case of tapes with your friends you can get it for about $4.80 a roll. Otherwise Google or Amazon are your friends.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Project roundup (or is that herding?)

At the beginning of week 8 the students have wrapped up their first couple of projects and it time for them to migrate home. So we herded the various pieces outside the Port Townsend School of Woodworking for a photo shoot. The weather barely cooperated we had just a couple of minutes before it started showering.

Steve Habersetzer inspired many of the students to use bends or crooks of madrone for the draw pulls.

You can click through on the gallery for larger images.

January & February Images from the Woodworking Foundation Course

It has been an absolute delight to have the Woodworking Foundation Course running at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking. The twelve week class started on January 11th and will run through April 1.

These images should give you a pretty good idea of what it is like being in the class. The first few weeks really focussed on building hand tool skills. In a subsequent post we'll show pix of the students with their projects.

Hopefully the pix of the potluck Friday lunches will encourage you to come along and join 12-1 on a Friday through April 1, 2011.

Also you should check out Dianne Robert's Blog about her experiences on the course - WoodWorkWoman.