Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Letting go...

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When I finish a spoon and show it to people, they often say "that's a keeper" and they don't understand how I can let go. I have to admit - with other art forms, I have felt that way. But with lovespoons, I never really have. The whole point of a lovespoon is to give it away. Now, I wouldn't mind being given a lovespoon that was created for me, but I have never really regretted parting with any of the spoons I've created. Usually, while the oil and wax are drying, I have enough time to enjoy the spoon, and I usually try to take some good pictures, too. There was one time when I sold a spoon very shortly after finishing it, and I did miss it a little. There was a simple solution, though: I made another similar spoon, and that appeased my need to enjoy the first spoon a little more. Now, this Portland Eisteddfod spoon is certainly one of the most special spoons I've had to part with, and I must say, I am excited to see it raffled off! There's not much time left to make your donation for your chances to win the spoon! I wonder how Dave feels when he has to part with a spoon that he loves...
- Laura
Laura brings up a very good point about 'letting go' of the spoons when they are completed. Sometimes it is a hard thing to watch them disappear into bubble wrap and cardboard as they are prepared for voyages to new homes, but it is always comforting to know how much they will be appreciated and to know that many will become treasured family heirlooms. Our lovespoons aren't like the gift-shop bric-a-brac that clutters the internet; they are deeply personal and very meaningful artworks which have tremendous relevance to the people who commission and receive them. As much as I might miss my lovespoons when they leave, I am proud to know that I have been granted permission to be part of my client's lives and I have made something that they will cherish.
The Eisteddfod spoon has given Laura and I the opportunity to work together and share our ideas and techniques. With it, we have helped a cause we believe in and we hope it will bring great pleasure to its lucky winner! So how could we feel badly about that?
If you haven't sent a couple of bucks to the Left Coast Eisteddfod, I urge you to get in under the wire and make sure you are in the running to win this spoon!

Last year's spoon:

This year's spoon:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time running out to win the Eisteddfod Spoon!!!

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Laura and I have finished the Left Coast Eisteddfod spoon for 2010 and it is now safe and sound in Portland OR awaiting its new owner. Remember that every donation to the LCE equals an opportunity to win this wonderful lovespoon!! Just so everyone can see where and how this spoon came about, we have done a 'review' posting with some select photos of the lovespoon carving process. We hope you'll enjoy this quick snapshot of the project and wish everyone who has donated the very best luck winning it!!

For me, the opportunity to collaborate with a wonderful carver like Laura has been tremendous. The opportunity to create this lovespoon with her and to see it evolve through its many initial ideas to the final lovely spoon has been a terrific change from my usual solitary way of carving. I would really like to thank Laura both for agreeing to carve this spoon with me and for the exceptional amount of time, energy and effort she gave to the project! The Left Coast Eisteddfod has been very fortunate to have her on board!

Cheers and good luck!! Dave

This really has been a fun project, and great opportunity! I couldn't have asked for a better person to partner with on a project like this - it's truly been a pleasure from beginning to end. Thanks, Dave, for bringing me along on this adventure! Now, let's review how this spoon came to be...
- Laura

Sunday, September 12, 2010


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I am a little excited today because this week, I get to report that the spoon is finished. Last week, I'd begun the sanding. Through the week, I filed, and sanded, and sanded, and filed, and sanded, and sanded some more. Front, back, nooks, crannies.... lots of filing and sanding. I like to sand to rather a high polish before beginning the oil & wax process, so I sanded to 3200 grit. I don't know why I like to go to such a high grit - the sheen begins to appear at 600. But, I never seem to be able to stop there. Overkill, I am sure. Anyway, the spoon was very pretty, and quite whitish after all this sanding. I went over Dave's part, too, although his part was already to a nice sheen. Then, I put on the first coat of Danish oil (2nd coat for Dave's part), and all the pretty modeling and color of the grain began to appear. What a beautiful piece of wood this is! Seeing the first coat of oil is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. It's very dramatic for a few moments, and then, you sit there wondering - is it really almost done? Hmm. Pretty. :)
I followed with another 3 coats of oil over the next 2 days, drying about half a day between each coat. I also sanded once again before the last coat of oil. The spoon now has a very soft, polished finish. For the last couple days of the week, I let the oil finish drying. Then, this morning, it was time for the wax. Having sanded it so smooth, the wax polished up very nicely with a soft cloth. I use a natural beeswax polish by Briwax. I had to wax it in sections, so the wax wouldn't harden too much to polish off. Finally, though, I was done. Now, the spoon sits before me, all finished, and again, I wonder to myself - is it really done? But, I stare and stare at it, and yes, it is done.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The finishing begins...

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Well, I believe I'm done with the rough carving of the rest of the spoon. That's not to say that all the carving is done, though - as I start the sanding, I've already found a few spots where I hadn't carved quite to the depth I'd intended. As I encounter those spots, I simply make a few more chips. From here on out, though, I think it will mostly be dust. Here's what the whole spoon looks like at the moment: . The part I did still isn't oiled, and having begun the sanding phase, the grain is up, so it probably looks a little washed out. But you can see the beginning of the overall look.

This week, there was a little bit of carving I still did, mostly finishing up the back, fine-tuning around the flowers and leaves, and still more work on the eagle. I was trying to make the beak hook a little more at the end, but I didn't have a lot of room left to make a hook. Exaggerating that hook at the end would have been nice - Dave reminded me that in a lot of the Northwest art, they do that, and I do think that's very effective, but I didn't have room on this eagle. I trust people will be able to recognize that this is an eagle, nonetheless. Another very eagle-y feature is that division between the white head feathers and the dark body feathers. Obviously, I won't be making different colors, so I tried to make it look like the head feathers overlap the body feathers. I am pretty satisfied with the effect here. More shallow relief. :)

Finally, I started sanding, or, to be more correct, filing. I began cleaning up quite a lot of nooks and crannies with my trusty needle files. I think there are two main advantages of needle files vs. sandpaper. Firstly, files work in the nooks and crannies because they are solid, not paper. Second, files don't leave grit that can dull your blades in case you carve any more. In the broader areas, though, where I'm sure I'm done carving, and I need to smooth away all my chisel marks, sandpaper does work fast and well. On most spoons, I tend to spend almost as much time sanding as I do carving. When there are lots of details like on this spoon, the filing and sanding is quite a challenge. So, Here is as far as I've come this week - mostly just on the front. I expect I will spend most or all of next week filing and sanding, getting to finer grits, preparing for the next step, which will be oil. I am VERY excited for the oil, as the shadows and grain really come alive with the oil.

It's nice to be getting into the final steps! Especially because Americymru's Left Coast Eisteddfod is just a few weeks away! This week, in Portland, the North American Festival of Wales is taking place. If you're in the area, or can get there, be sure to stop in at the Americymru table, along with all the other attractions. Remember, donations to the Left Coast Eisteddfod can be chances to win this spoon!