The “flume” bench is built, and I am in the midst of the staining/finishing process. I ended up deciding that dovetails were the best design decision for both ends of the bench. Cutting them was a bit tricky, as there are no flat surfaces involved. But when you are cutting joints by hand, the irregularity of the surfaces is incidental. It boils down to marking well and sawing well. The African mahogany is not particularly forgiving, as it is very dense and prone to chipping, but I managed to make it work and am pleased with the results. I ended up cutting the bottom edge of the the vertical “keel” support into a curve to eliminate the last bit of strict geometry. It extends into a mortise in each leg, where it is fastened from the outside with a wedged dowel.
I’ve been thinking about benches as expressions of transience, as they tend to encourage you both to take a rest and to move on. When sitting on this bench, the variation in form actually made me want to move around and try out each contour for degrees of comfort. The slight slope reinforces the sense of transience, making “flow” a visceral and tangible experience for the sitter.
Christine keeps busy with the camera, Florence loves the water, and I can't stop collecting
Yesterday we returned to our home after our annual trip to the east coast. We relaxed for a week at the beach in NC before heading to the woods in SC. We look forward to these trips as an opportunity to catch up with our family, but they are also one of the most inspirational and productive times of the year for us. Christine has been pursuing documentary photography projects at both locations for the last six years, and the project in SC is one where we collaborate. More on that later.
I have included four images of some of my inspirations from the trip. This year I was really taken by the worm-eaten remnants of shells, which have many of the characteristics of Chinese scholar’s rocks in miniature. I settled for photographs in most cases, as I am trying to be increasingly selective about what I drag back to my studio. I was also able to dig up some nice additions to my rock collection from the fill dirt around my parent’s property. I am considering the purchase of a few tons next year just so that I can sort through it for treasures. There are always potholes on the lane that need filling, after all.
For the past six years or so I have been trying to reconcile the tangible and intangible aspects of media and images. With these ink wash paintings on rice paper, I use a plastic backing instead of blotters in order to super-saturate the paper and preserve wrinkles when the paper dries. I work the images from both sides until I settle on the “front”. Although in the past I have used white tempera to reclaim lights, lately I have begun to use torn paper. I’ve also torn pre-painted sheets of rice paper in order to match or contrast existing tones. The physicality of the wrinkles and the torn paper provide a counterpoint to the otherwise intangible tendencies of the ink wash. The paintings above are still in progress. They are interpretations of the landscapes that I appreciated while in Italy, filtered through memory and adjusted as compositional experiments.