Time flies - probably rather faster than I can manage to make shavings, judging by the length of time between this and the previous blog post! It's been so long, I've forgotten what I've done in the interim. I do know that today I spent a huge amount of time fiddling around with a green screen set up in my workshop. Was it worth it? Maybe not, but it was fun! And it was frustrating too...I mucked about with lights and software settings for ages and still didn't get a perfect result. However, it was just about good enough to use in my latest video - Metallic Effect Ash Bowl. I'd love to know what you think of it. This was the first time I'd used Martin Saban-Smith's Intrinsic Colours, water-based stains. I enjoyed using them and the end result was really pleasing.
I've also made a few festive tealight holders - great for table centrepieces. Similar to the ash bowl above, these were coloured with stains and metallic paints. It was fun to do something a bit smaller than my usual twelve inch platters, but I can't wait to try out some of the techniques on wide platter rims.
I also had a go at mixing up the colouring in textured pieces by using strongly contrasting colours in the textured part of a platter rim next to the surface of the rim. This came out much better than it looked like it was going to at one point! However, that's not an unusual experience with the colouring experiments I've tried - just keep going until you get what you like, as you can always sand it off and start again (the blue tealight holder is the third version!).
And the year is ending on a high with a mention in the latest Chestnut Products newsletter - with a link to my website, no less - and a set of Intrinisic Colours to try out from Martin Saban-Smith.
When I started this website in April of this year, it was mainly to support the first time I'd put my work up for sale in one of the Artist Open Houses in Brighton in May. I'm ending the year with 30+ YouTube videos (and subscribers are going up - over 700 now!), I've done a couple of club demos, and have three more lined up for next year, and I've got a notebook with a load of ideas I haven't even tried yet.
I've just signed up to Artists Open Houses for the new year - if you're a venue looking for turned wood art this May or next Christmas, please get in touch!
Have a great end to the year.
Well, October has flown by....here we are at the end of British Summer Time, fireworks are going off sporadically in the area I live, and in a couple of days' time we'll have to take cover from the trick or treating marauders...
Today, I got time in my workshop and I decided to have a go at using blutack as a masking agent with spirit stains. I also decided to use the time to see what difference was made by using sanding sealer before applying the stains. The instructions say to use the stains on unsealed wood. For my experiment I sealed one half of the blank only. There were definitely some differences in the finish, as pictures will show later.
If you've been a fan of some of the woodturning channels on YouTube, you'll have seen the craze for sending stickers to promote your own site/channel/business. I decided it was time for me to join the club after I went to Yandles for their September show and I bumped into Jim from Jimson's stuff and Nick from NZWoodturning. It was great to meet some YouTubers in the flesh and both of them had stickers to give out. I mentioned them in my Orange Splodge and Splatter video.
It's September...school is back in session....the summer is over....and I managed about half a day in the shed the whole summer holiday! Still, today made up for this lack of turning time as I was asked to do a colouring and texturing demo at West Sussex Woodturners. So, today I probably spent as much time in front of a lathe as I did for the whole six week summer break.
The lack of activity also means that there is no new video to post - I hope to sort that out soon, but I might be tempted into the three hour drive to Yandles next Saturday for their autumn show...
I have also been asked to do a demo next summer - woodturning events secretaries have to plan ahead. No doubt I'll blog about this nearer the time.
Today's demo covered a range of different colouring techniques - I'll let the pictures talk for themselves - and the second part of the demo covered some texturing techniques with the Proxxon mini angle-grinder. I finished by colouring two rims completely which I'll finish at home and take to the next club meeting.
It was a really enjoyable morning, and has certainly whetted my appetite for doing more demonstrations. So if you are an events secretary for a club, please keep me in mind!
I finished off one of the partially completed pieces from my last demo in July at South Downs Woodturners. It's had a car lacquer applied over the spirit stains and acrylic paint. One of the members of South Downs has organised some gallery space in a Shoreham gallery for club members to display work for sale. I'll be putting this piece in, along with a couple of others, in the hope that someone will like them enough to buy them.
I've got some ideas for the next video, another texturing and colouring one. Terry, if you're reading this, it might well feature the pink I mixed up today...watch out on my channel.
Have fun turning!
I've had my first go at demonstrating - and I survived the experience! I've turned in front of people before, but never as the main attraction, so I was rather nervous when I found myself standing in front of about fifty people at my club meeting at the start of July. I'd been asked to demonstrate some of the texturing and colouring work I've been playing around with since February this year. It was borrowing the club's Proxxon long-neck grinder that got me started in this area, so I suppose it was fair to pay this back in some way.
Well, it's Sunday evening...one week left until I'm putting my latest bowls and platters up for sale. I got four more finished today, so I have 14 ready for sale, once I've given them a wax and a buff, which shouldn't take long (he says hopefully...). I might get another couple or so done during the week.
These four have been around for a while, just waiting for the centre to be cored out. The textured blue one is probably my favourite of the four from today, though it came out darker than I intended.
Two of them have videos you can see either on my website or on my Youtube channel. I'll be doing videos of the other two in the near future. But now my thoughts are having to turn to my first demo on Thursday this week. Some of you know I'm a teacher, so standing in front of a group of people shouldn't be too daunting, but the prospect of that group being woodturners rather than 15 year olds, makes it a bit different. We'll see how it goes!
I do occasionally get to bore my students with my woodturning tales. They sometimes ask me what I do with the turnings. Well, now I'm selling them, but before May this year they just got piled on top of the piano...which coincidentally is where the majority of my sale stock for next week is.
It's been good fun, mostly, getting these new ones done, but I'm not sure it's something I'd enjoy doing for my day job - I don't know if it would still have the same fun or enjoyment attached to it, along with the pressure of having to make sales to pay the mortgage. So it will continue as something I do alongside my day job. That's not to say I wouldn't enjoy doing it day after day when (if) retirement comes along....but that's a long way off still!
Wish me luck for the demo on Thursday!
It's texture time again! This week, although output has been rather low, I've been working on a couple of new platters for the show at Parham House in July. I'll need to go into production mode this weekend though to make sure I've got enough work to display. The Proxxon long-neck grinder has been out of its box and I've used it for a couple of different texturing effects. I know some people prefer the smooth, sanded, machined surface of a platter rim...but some prefer a bit of texture too, as I found out at my Open House in May. So I was determined to make sure I had some textured pieces to offer. One of the platters has been finished, though I haven't quite decided its name yet - it's currently called Hot Red Etched Rim.......hmmmm, does sound a bit like a painful medical condition.
Today will be an all-day shed day! I need to produce new stock for a show in July as the Open House in May was so much more successful than I imagined. I have three bowls left so will need to be productive today. I'm looking forward to doing another show - a rather different set-up this one as it's at a Garden Weekend at Parham House...and my work will be with two other woodturners' work who produce great turnings. I don't think either of them do much colouring work, so hopefully this will make my work different to theirs.
Well, the second weekend of the Open House has ended. We had our private view on Saturday as well, which was great. I was lucky enough to have family and friends ready to part with cash to buy bowls and platters, which was also great - thank you family and friends!
Earlier in the day I managed to get this bowl completed, going from its unfinished state on the left to the finished one on the right.
I decided to try a colour in the bowl as well, which obviously spoke to someone, as it was the first thing I sold on Saturday. There is blue in the colours mixed on the rim and the bright blue in the bowl itself helps to bring this out.
There's been a huge jump in my Youtube subscribers as well, since Mike Waldt's shout out on Friday - about 90 new subscribers, more than doubling what I had previously! Thank you again, Mike - and thanks to all my subscribers, old and new! I've just posted my latest video as well, showing how I decorated this platter.
It's Friday, finally, which means tomorrow is the second weekend of my Open House. It's been a long week at work, so I'm really looking forward to doing something completely different this weekend. I've got three nearly finished bowls to add to my stock that I might get completed early tomorrow morning, if I can keep away from checking my Youtube channel for new subscribers and comments after a magnificently generous 'shout-out' from Mike Waldt in his latest video. Just saying thank you seems like too little, but thank you, Mike! It's greatly appreciated.
This generosity of spirit is something I've really enjoyed since joining my first woodturning club four years ago - free advice, offers of help, having a trunk chainsawn into blanks, a year long loan of a Woodcut Bowlsaver and McNaughton Bowl Corer, constant encouragement, and of course some gentle deflating of the ego! Not to mention the triumph of an occasional raffle win...
I also hope to get some more video work done this weekend. I'm trying to avoid repeating things in my videos, with the focus on different colouring and texturing techniques. There are plenty of great videos showing how to turn bowls, so my focus will remain on colouring and texturing for now - there are a couple of new ones in the pipeline that I hope to get out soon. The photos show the results so far of a couple of different airbrushing techniques. The blue and green platter video is nearly ready, hopefully by the end of this weekend. The platter itself was one that was bought last week...and this takes me to the subject of pricing work. I didn't really know how to price it as I had spent a lot of time on it (partly because after I'd done the airbrushing, I ruined the finish with some not very good lacquer work so had to sand everything off and start again!) The finished platter was about 11 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. I settled on £35. Does this seem right to anyone? Too cheap?? Too expensive??? (Though, probably not as it did sell!) I'd love to know your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment.
I think that pricing must be the hardest decision when we start selling our work and we're just delighted to have people like it. I also feel that I'm still at an early stage of this marketing and selling malarkey. Perhaps it takes a few displays of work to feel comfortable with pricing it higher.
Finally, this week's purchases - are there any weeks when I don't buy something turning related - might lead to some new videos as well. These were reduced on Amazon this week and I thought they might be fun to use to try some new texturing ideas. The diamond wheels are very thin so could produce some quite fine work. It might be a while before I get to try them out with the remaining Open House weekends to do. I've also been offered some space to exhibit my work in early July, so I'll have to be doing some of the things I know how to do to get some stock ready for this, rather than venturing into something new....well, I say that, but the temptation might be too great!
If you've enjoyed reading my blog, it would be great to hear from you, or to have it liked and shared. Have a great weekend yourself!