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Monday, May 7, 2012

Approaching the cage...

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Laura here, again... I think I mentioned already that I was a little excited at the prospect of making a cage of roots. As much as people always seem to enjoy moving parts, I thought this might warrant a little further discussion.

Hmm. So, when I started thinking about approaching the cage, I thought, what are the defining characteristics of the cage? Is it that there are 4 posts? Not necessarily, but there usually are 4, and they are usually all parallel, evenly spaced, relatively straight and usually the back posts are aligned behind the front posts when you cut the blank.

Yeah - I didn't want to do that.

Really, the main considerations for designing balls in a cage have to do with carving and finishing access, and containment of the balls. More specifically, having access for your tools (including your hand holding the tools, in the positions you need, with the leverage you need) to all parts of the inside and outside of the cage and the balls, not to mention being able to hold the work piece without breaking it while carving and finishing the cage, the balls, OR any other part of the spoon! AND, the other big consideration is that you need to make sure to keep the balls contained. No escaping! There's a balance to maintain.

Now, when Dave and I decided we'd have 4 caged balls in this spoon, I immediately started to think of how to make it different than the typical caged balls. I envisioned roots and vines, and even took a few pictures....

So here I was, having all these lovely visions of organic, climbing, meandering roots, and then I think of a typical cage. Here's a typical very simple cage with a couple egg-shaped balls, so you can see what I'm trying not to do, too:

This one only has two balls, and it's laying on its back, so they're spread out. If it had four, the cage would probably have been longer, and when it stands upright, as spoons usually do when they are displayed, they'd all just sit in the bottom, and you'd have a boring, empty cage. So I also figured I'd subdivide the cage a bit, either with branches, or by the irregularity of the posts themselves. And since I'd do that, I guess I didn't need to have all the balls the same size, either, which could allow me some more interest with the thickness of everything, too. That's another thing about cages - they to some extent need to be as deep as they are wide. So - with avoiding a plain cage in mind, here's the first thing I drew...
I was a little worried I might scare Dave too much with that one, though (it kind of abandons all the helpful tools like symmetry, parallel lines, reference to the front & back of the board, etc.) so I drew another, a bit more like the typical form...

Note - on this second one, I may have some of these tapering posts opening up a little too much, but I figure we'll probably build them out a little more with some more foliage or something. It's just a start.
Anyway, I really liked the first one. But the more I thought about it, those nagging questions kept coming back to me - like - What kind of wood are we going to use? Who is going to carve first? Anyway, I sent them off to Dave to make sure we were even still on the same page, and see what he thought about either of them.

He liked the drawings, and confirmed that direction-wise, we still seemed to be on the same page, which was great to hear. Of course he had the obligatory words of caution about the twisted cage, which I fully expected and absolutely fully agreed with - I just AM, perhaps, a little bit of a glutton for punishment. ;)  While he was reviewing them, I think another consideration started to bother me, though - and that was about strength. I am really counting on a pretty strong wood choice, I think - and even with a strong wood choice, all the weight we're talking about having in all the rest of this spoon may be too much. This only represents about the bottom half of the spoon - and by far, the lighter half. The twisted cage doesn't stay with the grain of the wood - so it loses a significant amount of strength that way. So - I decided I may just save this one for something smaller of my own, and try again for our root cage here. So I shared my thoughts with Dave, told him I thought I'd go for something in between the two drawings above, with a little more focus on strength, and by the way, what wood did he want to use? 

So, this is what I drew next.

I've heard back from Dave, and we agree - we'll go from here with the cage. Still don't know what kind of wood he has in mind, though. ;) I know he's working on all sorts of wonderful things up around the tree in the upper part of the spoon, though, so I'm looking forward to seeing what's next!!!

Don't forget to get your tickets to win this spoon! I really think something special is brewing here!

1 comment:

  1. Great work Laura and a fascinating post :) For all the latest Eisteddfod news go here:- http://www.storyforgestudios.com/americymru/directory/events