Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I do.

A while back, I created a gift for some relatives to use at their wedding reception.  The idea was to create a monogram of their initials, and then to carve it as a decoration in the colors they had chosen for the wedding.  Also, it needed to be lite weight.  They wanted to easily hang it on a wall without having to put in any nails and/or screws. In fact, they wanted to hang it from a vent high up on the wall.  I decided insulation foam was just the ticket.  It turned out to be very popular.  I have done a couple more since then, but the most common request was for them to be larger.  I generally decided to not do them until I got a larger machine and could do them more efficiently.

Now that the Christmas rush has calmed a bit, I took some time this morning to design a sample.  In this case, it's carved in 2" thick foam...and carved with a "V" shaped router bit.  I'll prime it, and then paint it in some popular wedding colors.  This one is 4 feet tall by a little over 3 feet wide.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa's Helper

One of the things I enjoy about  Christmas are the special projects clients bring that will be presents for friends, neighbors and family.  Each of them is unique and I get a chance to be one of Santa's elves...carving, sculpting, painting....finishing. I really enjoy it.  The down side is that I can't show any of it until after the holidays!
These last couple of weeks, I've worked on at least 3 movie prop reproductions with my own twist, a dozen special spoons, and several others that I  can't even describe for fear of giving a hint that might reveal too much.  Rest assured that I've taken plenty of pictures and look forward to sharing them at the beginning of the new year! 
There are still 5 pieces to carve and finish in the next couple of days as well as the completion of a web site for a local's good to be busy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Teamwork For The Win

     My friend Scott Lindley (his friends call him Cornbread) is one of the people who help set up all the great Walldog events that I attend.  It takes a lot of work to help a community plan for 150+ painters to come and paint more than a dozen murals in a few days.  Scott does it well.  He thinks through the challenges and brings each community a unique set of options to make it all happen.  In addition, Cornbread is a sign guy as well. He's either drawing new designs, hand painting signs or creating interesting kinetic sculptures that require a mind like his to envision. 
     Cornbread called awhile back to tell me he'd sold a set of signs to the city of Arcola. They will identify one of the parks.  He asked if I might be able to help out and do some of the carving for these signs.  I was happy to oblige.
     I worked with Scott to identify the difference between the artwork he sent, and how I'd need it in order to easily carve it.  Together, we identified a few changes that would make life easier for us both, and I went to work.  He picked them up and headed for his own shop where he'd paint them, and add the posts.
     I got a call from him today, and he'd headed for Arcola to do the installation.  It was great just to be a part of it, and I'm happy Cornbread was able to deliver his vision to the neat little town of Arcola where we spent this last summer painting murals.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I have had a few people ask exactly what things I made for the Zdroj family, and while I did some blog posts about most of the pieces, I thought I'd share the final images. 

We enjoyed the show last night and I am very fortunate to have had so much support from friends, family and neighbors.  There has been, at the very least, a significant spike in visitors to my web page.  As friends on facebook shared links and photos, I realized that the potential audience looking at what I do became huge.  Thanks everyone. I'll let you know when Kevin Bacon calls.

Monday, December 3, 2012

1 Year Later....

     A year ago I was approached about helping a family in Texas for Extreme Makeovers Home Edition.  The folks at CarveWright have helped with several of the episodes and now I was going to get a chance to participate.  That would have been exciting enough, but the subject matter was Star Wars.  That was amazing news.  I'd get to create something based on Star Wars and get to help someone at the same time!
     Originally, it was scheduled to air not long after production.  With that in mind, I had posted some things here in anticipation of the show airing.  It was not to be.  The show was cancelled just as they completed the build.  Those of us involved were told the show would eventually air.
     It was a bit sad, but I realized that the best news was that the Zdroj family from Bastrop just made it under the wire...whether the show ever made the light of day, I knew I'd had a small part in helping a family in Texas that lost their home due to a horrible fire.  The father loves Star Wars, and so do I.  I had to inform friends and family that I didn't know when or if the show would air.  Life moved on.
     Because I knew the show was produced near Christmas, I assumed that if it did air, it would probably be near the holidays this year (What a LONG time for the construction company and other folks who helped make it happen to wait!).  As the holiday approached, I contacted Mizzy Zdroj (the volunteer firefighter whose home and family were the subject of the show) and asked if she'd heard anything.  She told me she'd let me know as soon as she found out.  Eventually she contacted me to say that it would air Dec. 3rd.  Best of all, she said that they loved the pieces I'd sent.  For me, that was more important than the air-date.
     I believe I mentioned last year that my daughter loved the show, and tonight I can sit with her and Ashley and watch one of the last episodes.  We'll finish decorating our Christmas tree, make some popcorn and try to see if we can spot the items I created.  We'll also see the hard work that hundreds of other people put into building that new home in under a week.  By comparison, my 3 day journey to  re-create some movie posters and a few other pieces of my own was a walk in the park.
     I don't know how much air time my pieces will get, but that's not really the important part.  Seeing how it all turned out, and just knowing I was able to contribute is the real payoff. 
    So, if you are one of the folks who wondered about it all:  It will begin this evening on ABC.  I would suspect that if my work shows up, it will be close to the end of the 2 hours as they decorate and eventually show the family the rooms.
     To say I did it without some help would be false.  Thanks to Joe and Chris Lovchik from CarveWright, Todd Farden from Parksite (they provided the pvc material for the project),  Howard Elijah for many great tips on air-brushing, Dan Sawatzky (from carving to painting to believing in making anything possible- he's been a dear friend and teacher), Mike Meyer (Promoter of paint and making memories). Thanks friends.
     Bring on the Stormtroopers!
Steampunk Robot, not included.