Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trials, pitfalls & learning curves

These redwood projects have been a challenge for both myself & my wonderful helping husband. While we both have a very creative mind, we may not always have enough knowledge to equal the creativity.

The Visions I have for these trivets & soap dishes are so clear in my mind. I can clearly see the finished products in all their beauty. As we go along in this creative process, we are both learning that alterations may be needed. Plans may need to be changed. Visions may be altered. Finished products may look different than those first Visions.

We are both working on these with tools we already have & our own muscle. We first sliced wood at a friend’s house (because we really had no way of doing that here), but to avoid having to go back there for each step, we have been working with what is here, at home. And the knowledge we have here, at home.

You would think this would not present much of an issue. And at first it did not. But somewhere along the line, something happened. It’s funny actually, to think about it. Somehow, lines were just a bit off, angles were just a bit off & there was no fixing them.

So, we’ll have some imperfections. We’ll have some ‘creative’ lines perhaps… but the shimmering beauty of these pieces & the mesmerizing knot work will still shine thru! That is part of the beauty of handcrafted right? The uniqueness & imperfections of each piece? There is no doubt that these did not come off some assembly line in China.

Oh, we're excited too, to have found feet for the trivets. They will be made from slices of recycle wine corks! I played with slicing them this morning & it will work great!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Redwood Collection … in limited edition

The exquisite lines of the grain, the breathtaking color, & the eye catching holes & knots combine to make this very limited edition of Trivets, Soap dishes & Elemental tiles.

These pieces were born from majestic northern California Redwood trees almost 25 years ago. From trees of unknown ages, the pieces used to create this limited edition line were thought of as scrap, leftovers, unsuitable for use. Once saved from the mulch pile, they waited patiently to be discovered by my artistic eye. I knew when I first saw them, I could bring their beauty to life again in a new, and yet unknown way.

Once the ideas began to flow for something useful, I began my quest to find the right designs to bring out as much of the wood’s history & character as I could. That is how these beautiful & unique pieces were born. Trial & error led me & my husband to come to the finished designs to be unveiled here soon. No fancy tools were used, as we are simple people, using (fairly) simple tools. 2 saws, 2 sanders & many (wo)man hours is what stands behind these creations. We don’t have endless tools to choose from, so modifications in original designs had to be made. But we still feel the outcome showcases the beauty of each piece.

When you hold these pieces in your own hands, you’ll almost hear the stories within them. You’ll see the natural shimmer in the grains & you’ll feel the history in your heart. You’re hardest decision will be choosing which piece to buy for yourself, after choosing the ones to give as gifts.

Once the products are unveiled & made available for sale, their quantity has very definite limits. When they are gone, they are truly history. I was gifted this limited supply of wood. When the last piece is sold, they will be but a memory… a memory I will cherish forever as an artist.

Unveiling is scheduled for October 1, 2011.Can you wait?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Help me help the animals

September Promotion

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. How to help out a few local places & encourage sales in my shop. So here it is …

For the month of September 2011, I will be donating $2 from each sale (thats going to be each ITEM!) made from my Zibbet shop to two local causes. The $2 will be evenly split between TheWenatchee Valley Humane Society & the Wenatchee Police Dept K-9 Fund.

Boxer/Pug mix ready to adopt!
Our humane Society is always in need of supplies to help with the care of the shelter animals. Being an animal lover & having adopted 2 dogs from them, they hold a special place in my heart.Right now, I really have my eye on this gal to the left. I would love to give her a forever home right here! Hmm .... I'll keep ya posted on that one!

I was listening to the radio this afternoon when I heard our local police dept was looking for help with funds for their K-9 unit. They need new dogs & training to expand their unit. Knowing they help to sniff out drugs & narcotics & keep us all a bit safer, this also speaks to me. Those dogs provide a huge service. I hope to be a small part of their training by providing a donation!

I would love to have a nice check for each of them on October 1st. My first goal is just to raise $100. That’s $50 for each cause. That’s 50 sales.Okay, its actually just 50 items which could be less sales if you buy more than one item!!! And yes, even the $2.95 prints are included which means $2 of that will go to these awesome causes!!!

Please, help me help the animals. Every item, every sale counts. And if you are not able, please help me spread the word to those who may be able!!! Thank you all !!! And I will be posting more info about both places soon as well.

All orders will also receive a coupon good for 20% off a future purchase & include a thank you gift!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sneak peak of soap dishes & trivets ...

My hubby & I worked hard today to make some progress with the wood pieces. Not only did I get more sanded, but he & I worked out 2 designs for the soap dishes & got to see the first squared off trivet. I have to admit, I’m having more fun seeing the soap dishes come together than the trivets … but it’s all been fun! I’m learning more about sanding as I go … mainly that I didn’t know enough before!

Top is trivet. left is soap dish design 1 & right is design 2.
So here you can see what all three things look like, rough cut.

The trivet has been sanded some. You can see how nice it looks compared to the soap dishes.

The soap dishes tho, are still rough & will be nice & smooth when finished.

And here is how they look when wet. The wet look really brings out the grains & is what they will all look like when finished. I am leaning towards a nice satin finish. For the trivet I believe we'll use a Danish Oil finish. It will soak into the wood nicely & be heat resistant. The soap dishes will have a polycrylic water based finish which is good to use on things coming in contact with water. 

The soap dish with just the slat cut into it will have a nice beveled/rounded top edge done with a router. The other soap dish design will have the sharp edges rounded a bit, but not actually router-ed, just softened. The second design has feet too. We talked about making some kind of nice concave area in them but since we don’t have a full blown wood shop at our disposal, doing that would be truly cost prohibitive.

It may be another week before we see more progress, but who knows. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Moving in new directions ... Finally.

Finally. I’m finally moving in a forward direction. This time, it’s not with photography. It’s with wood. Redwood to be precise. I was gifted several small boxes of what amounts to scrap (2x6) pieces full of knots & knot holes. The lengths vary from 6 to 15 inches, with most falling in between there. My mind began racing with ideas the minute I was asked if I’d like to have them. That was early this year.

I tried to think of things to make that would be both functional & pretty. And not require too much work or work that was beyond my abilities. So far, I have 3 ideas that will finally see the light within a few weeks. One is to make trivets, focusing on the knot holes. Another will be altar tiles, again focusing on the knot holes, but adorned with tiny stones. The last (for now) idea is beautiful soap dishes. I’m excited to create all three. The only difference between 2 of them is marketing & a few stones.

left is dry, right is wet. look how gorgeous the grain is!
I have learned that this wood came from & was milled in Northern California over 20 years ago. It was all cast aside as scrap. Had my neighbor (who worked there at the saw mill) not saved it from there, it would have been ground up into chips & gone … who knows where. I am thankful to have this chance to breathe a new & artistic life into some of the pieces.

I have learned that to preserve the beauty of the wood, I need to seal it. Otherwise, left to weather, it will turn grey over time. The wood will not rot, just weather, as it is a long lasting wood, like cedar. I wanted to keep it natural but wet looking as the beauty of the grain would then be there for all to admire. But, purely natural finishes will wear off & need to be re-applied. That is not practical for items being sold. And for the soap dishes, I needed something that could withstand both water & commercial soaps since not everyone will place only all natural soaps on these. For the trivets, I need something that can withstand some heat. Looks like a nice clear polyurethane finish will do the job for all 3 items. I will have to double check the heat part this weekend.

My outside work area, doing the 1st rough sanding.
Cleaning these pieces up presents a few challenges. Redwood splinters are infectious & require immediate removal. Redwood sawdust is poisonous when ingested by humans & requires a mask be worn when sanding. Fun huh? I don’t’ mind taking the cautions tho, as I know the results will be more than worth it. Good thing about redwood? There are several types of bugs that hate it! I don’t have any around here, but if I did, I would have plenty of dust to shoo them away! Talk about getting an education!

So the creation process began with slicing the pieces in half so they are basically 1x6 instead of 2x6. I then get to sand each piece smooth. Next I will mark on each piece a nice square area around the knot (or knot hole). My hubby does the cutting but I’ve done all the sanding. When he cuts off all the extra ends, we’ll decide on 2 styles of soap dishes based on how much wood is left. We’ll also decide on what type of edge rounding we’ll do on the trivets & the soap dishes. Then will come assembly where needed & finally… a beautiful finish. I promise to take pictures as the process progresses.