Friday, December 25, 2009

My new toy

Flying pig ornament, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Merry Christmas to me! I received a Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8 Macro IS USM lens -woooohoooo!

I gave it a trial run this morning, using my old ring flash that I used with my 35 mm film SLR. My new lens has a filter size of 67 mm, but my ring flash is for 52 mm. I put an adapter ring on. I was worried that the reduced ring size would have a big impact on the imaging, but, aside from losing some of the field of view, it worked just fine.

Here are some of my ornaments and flower shots from today using the ring flash:

Lesotho angel

My Lesotho angel - collected in 2003.

Richard's ornament

Richard's first Christmas ornament.

Ndebele ornament

An Ndebele ornament, collected in South Africa.

Angel Dachshund

One of my dachshund ornaments - definitely not a portrait of Emma. She was quite a hellion today.

Santa in a canoe

Steve's new ornament that his folks gave to him.

Some flower shots:





And now for the penultimate scary shot (the scariest was of Steve's nose!):

Emma snoot

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunrise over Waterman Farm

Sunrise over Waterman Farm, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

This morning brought the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen in central Ohio. What a wonderful way to start the day, and what a nice reminder that the winter solstice has come and gone and the days will be getting longer.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas (or other significant religious or non-religious celebration of the season). Christmas 1999 was the first day I did any turning and so tomorrow marks my 10th anniversary as a wood turner. What an amazing ride that has been.

Ten years ago on my birthday in October, Steve gave me a minilathe. It sat in the box until Christmas morning because I didn't have any turning tools. So, Christmas rolls around and there's a big, clunky box under the tree. I thought it was probably something for the kitchen and so I was less than enthusiastic about opening it. I had made a family rule some years before then that no one was to give me a utilitarian gift for the kitchen (after having received, year after year, the gamut of small kitchen appliances and gadgets, which usually meant more work for me).

I think that big clunky box was the last to be opened. I was so very pleasantly surprised to find a set of wood turning tools. I knew nothing about sharpening, didn't have a grinder, but I really, really wanted to give them a try and so I rushed down to the basement, pulled the lathe out of its box, set it up on my workbench (much, much too high for turning), put a piece of wood between centers and started, right then, to teach myself to turn. Catches? You bet! I learned from each one of them.

I have a wonderful neighbor across the street. His name is Walt Betley and he's been turning now for 77 years (he's 88). He soon set me straight on the proper use of my new tools and he sharpened the set for me. Needless to say, I bought a grinder and sharpening supplies and straight away learned the value of sharp tools.

I took every project across the street to Walt for his honest critique. He's a retired army colonel and so had no qualms whatsoever in telling me what was wrong with each piece. However, he also told me how to fix it. I well remember the day when I took a bowl over for his critique and he handed it back to me without a single criticism. That was within six months of the beginning of my adventures as a wood turner.

Funny thing about turning bowls and gift items and not being able to give them all away: I got bored with brown and round before the end of my first year as a wood turner. I walked into our local Woodcraft one day and saw a whole wall of carving chisels. Simple surface enhancements in the form of lines and divots soon ensued. Not long after that I discovered acrylic paints in one of the craft stores. The sign above the display said something about their being useful for painting wood. Hmmmmmmm - I think you can see how my style of work had its beginning.

Carving, painting, wood burning, whatever - I wanted to see what would happen and I experimented to my heart's content. I didn't know I was breaking tradition - I was just pursuing my curiosity.

I went to my first AAW symposium in 2001. I brought three small painted and textured bowls with me to display in the instant gallery. I sold all of them - imagine my shock and pleasant surprise. The next year I attended the symposium I brought the first of my botanical motif designs. My large platter was selected for the instant gallery critique, and I was invited to exhibit with del Mano gallery. Shock of all shocks! I had been turning for all of 2.5 years and was invited by the premier gallery of craft art? Wow!

Needless to say, I wasn't quite prepared for that kind of attention since I didn't even know I had any artistic talent. I had always thought that artistic talent meant you could draw or paint. I can't draw, and didn't think I knew anything about painting. How wrong I was. I discovered, through working with wood, that I can envision things in 3D and bring my visions to life. I taught myself to paint, and I'm self taught in turning and carving. I do take every opportunity to take a class with a master turner when we have visitors to the club. I'll continue to learn at every opportunity.

The past 10 years has been a wonderful journey in discovering and expressing my artistic talent. I feel so fortunate to have a great job, a great family, good health, and the time to play with wood. I've met so many interesting people through wood turning and have seen a lot of interesting places through my demonstration opportunities. I'm represented by del Mano gallery, The American Art Company, The Real Mother Goose gallery, Nina Bliese gallery, and several others when I'm invited to exhibit. Yep, it's been a fantastic 10 years.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wood Carver's Hands

Wood Carver's Hands, originally uploaded by SWolfeNI8W.

Steve did some photography of me in my studio this morning. I'm working on a very complicated leaf vessel, which has already been on my bench for about 20 hours of roughing out. I just finished the shaping of the outside and am now moving to the inside rough out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Chihuly at the Franklin Park Conservatory

Chihuly abstract, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Franklin Park Conservatory has a Chihuly exhibit right now. It's always fun to see Chihuly's work in the conservatory, sprinkled amongst the plants. Here is some eye candy for you to view the exhibit through my eyes. As much as I enjoy seeing the sculptures, I always like exploring the abstract aspects of the work.

More images from the exhibit:

Chihuly - 1

Chihuly - 8

Chihuly - 2

Chihuly -6

Chihuly - 3

Chihuly - 5

Chihuly - 4

Chihuly - 7

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Busy weekend, busy season

I sure don't know how this year has flown by so fast. Sometimes I feel like the Red Queen alá Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass - "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

I sure did a lot of things this year, including an amazing trip to the Himalayas of Nepal in May, and a trip to China in February and Mexico in September. Maybe that's why the year has gone by in a blur. Approaching the winter solstice, I always reflect on what has happened in the past year. I think this has been one of the most interesting of my life, but I don't know that I've really accomplished all that much. Well, I take that back, actually. I found out what it was like to live in a stress-free zone while I was trekking in Nepal. I try to remember what that was like when deadlines are looming as they are now. And, yes, I know - I'm not giving myself enough credit for all the things I accomplished this year - that's just me, and I don't take myself too seriously.

As winter approaches I'm trying to reflect on all the happy things that I experienced during the year. The short days together with the overcast skies are hard on me. Seasonal affected disorder - yes, that sums it up pretty well. I don't mind winter per se, but the days without sunshine are not my favorite ones of the year. However, I'm starting to appreciate those gloomy days for the photography opportunities they present. I really like bringing out the contrast in the clouds as a backdrop to something interesting in the foreground. There! I feel better already ;-)

I hope everyone who follows my blog has an enjoyable holiday season. I'm looking forward to watching Emma, my miniature dachshund, discover her presents under the tree on Christmas morning. I feel another YouTube video looming in the near future.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More wearable art

#7 Carolina cherry burl, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I've had a sufficient number of queries about whether my earrings are for sale that I decided to sign up for an Etsy account. So, if you're interested in acquiring unique earrings made from wood and sterling silver, please check my Etsy page.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Wearable art - my new distraction

#11 Carolina cherry burl, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I have a confession to make. I'm an earring junkie. I love dangle earrings - especially handcrafted, wearable art. I can't go into an art gallery that carries jewelry without buying some beautiful handcrafted earrings. Thus, I've been percolating an idea of my own. My internal dialogue has gone something like this:

"I'm an artist. I work in wood. I love earrings. Why don't I make some carved wooden earrings?"

So, I'm starting to dabble in wearable art in addition to my wood turning and sculpting. They're actually pretty challenging in many ways - the small scale, carving symmetrical shapes, and capturing the organic beauty of the wood.

I'm starting with burl woods that have been hanging out in my shop - mostly scraps left over from other projects. I'll start buying some nicely figured woods dedicated to wearable art projects in the future.

If you click on the image, it will take you to my Flickr album where I've posted some other examples. I would really like some feedback at this early stage of my experiments. Thanks for taking a look.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Central Ohio Woodturners Meeting - November 2009

Just a few pics from our recent club meeting for you. Steve took the people pics, I took the turning pics.

This is me, taking photos of our show and tell and president's challenge offerings. Actually, at this moment I'm setting my aperture and shutter speed. I shoot these images on manual mode in RAW format. I use Aperture with Nik Software plug-ins for processing.

Walt Betley, my neighbor from across the street and the wonderful gentleman who got me interested in wood turning. Walt's been turning for about 75 years now. Steve captured Walt perfectly - always a smile and something smart to say.

Fred Dutton demonstrated hat making - not an easy thing to do on a mini lathe.

Jim Burrowes and Barbara Crockett did the beginner's corner. The topic was natural edge bowls.

This beautiful goblet was turned by Dennis DeVendra. Dennis is blind and I'm amazed at how accomplished a turner he's become in the past year.

For more pics of the evening, check out the photo album on my Facebook wood turning page:

Turnings and people pics from November Meeting

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Entrance to Orton Hall

Entrance to Orton Hall, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I thought my readers might enjoy the comments that are posted on my Flickr page with regards to the history and uniqueness of Orton Hall. Click on the picture to navigate to the Flickr site.

I took this photo just after sunrise this morning. It's an HDR of three photos plus some post processing using the Nik software plug-ins for Aperture. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Recent work

Sphere # 6 - top view, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I finally had time to take a photo of my most recent sphere in the series, "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu. This one is #6.

You can click on the image to go to my Flickr set that has examples of my recent turnings. Some of the turnings in this album are available through del Mano or Arrowmont. This one is currently in my possession. Inquire if you're interested in adding it to your collection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunburst at Clear Creek No. 1

Sunburst at Clear Creek No. 1, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Fun with light painting! How cool is that?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Turning 2009 symposium

What's not to love? Great demonstrators, good fun, nice scenery and a weekend of woodturning! I'm taking a lot of photos, so will have some detailed postings in the near future. First I have to catch up on the Dublin Irish Festival, my trip to Mexico, and my hands-on class with Jean-François Escoulen. Hmmmmm, methinks it's been a busy month!

Jalopy in the forest

Jalopy in black & white, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

My first attempt at B&W processing. I just added the Nik software plug-ins to aperture and I messed around with the software for monochrome settings. This started out as an HDR processed stack of six photos. I like the B&W better than the color. Let me know what you think.

The photo was taken at Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Geese on the mall

Geese on the mall, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

Here's another image from my walk on the National Mall last Tuesday. I messed around with camera settings for awhile. This one was taken with the setting at "Faithful" - manual exposure, RAW format. I thought the effect was interesting - it looks like a painting rather than a photo to my eyes. Comments are welcomed - what do you think?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Washington Monument

Washington Monument, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I'm in the Washington DC area for the rest of the week, doing my scientific civic service. I had some time yesterday to walk the Mall and to visit a couple of museums. I took my tripod with me with the intent to try some HDR photo processing, knowing the lighting wouldn't be all that favorable by the time I arrived in DC. This is my first attempt at tonemapping a photo.

I did a lot of walking yesterday, spending most of my time on the mall rather than in museums. I did visit the natural history museum to see what their Darwin exhibit included - not all that impressive, I'm disappointed to report. The highlight of the natural history museum was their butterfly exhibit.

I also visited the Air and Space museum, not having been there in more than a decade. I went to see Alan Bean's paintings, and they were definitely worth seeing in person.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

2009 AAW Symposium, Part V: Sunday, June 28

This is the last post I'll have on the 2009 AAW symposium. At the end of this entry you'll find an index to all the posts I made for this event plus links to my Facebook photo albums.

My last rotation was the first one on Sunday morning. I had another great crowd and lots of great feedback. That made four for four - a nice feeling.

The next rotation scheduled included the instant gallery critique. The panel included Kevin Wallace, Merryll Saylan and Garry Knox Bennett. Jacques Vesery was the PoP committee member organizing the set-up and flow of the discussion. Because my sphere project received an Excellence Award, I was interested to hear what the panel would say about it during the critique. Most of the comments focused on the organic feel of the piece. I'll have to buy the symposium DVD to hear all the details.

Kevin Wallace always has interesting things to say about wood turnings.

L to R: Kevin Wallace, Merryll Saylan, Garry Knox Bennett. They had to turn around to see what was being projected to the audience.

Merryll and Garry gave each other the business throughout the discussion. I enjoyed that.

I had a few minutes to take in the trade show one more time and was delighted to have a chance to visit with Eli Avisera (with Ron Zalk). Both are from Israel.

Eli set up one of his dynamic multi-axis sculptures for me.

These are so cool, and I really love how you can play with them.

Eli is as photogenic as his turnings, don't you agree?

Eli sent this demo piece home with me.

The last rotation I attended was John Wessel's pewter inlay demonstration. It was so great to see him again and to watch him demonstrate. He has fun with the audience.

Index to all the 2009 AAW blog posts:

June 22, 2009: Just in time for the AAW Symposium
June 25, 2009: Arrived in Albuquerque for the AAW Symposium
June 27, 2009: A totally awesome day
June 28, 2009: Second day of the AAW symposium
June 29, 2009: Day three of the AAW symposium
September 16, 2009: 2009 AAW Symposium, Part I: Thursday, 25 June
September 20, 2009: 2009 AAW Symposium, Part II: Friday, 26 June
September 25, 2009: 2009 AAW Symposium, Part III: Saturday morning, June 27
September 27, 2009: 2009 AAW Symposium, Part IV: Saturday afternoon & evening, June 27

Links to all the photos I posted on my Facebook Fan Page:

2009 AAW Symposium - Thursday, June 25th (27 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Merryll Saylan and Garry Knox Bennett exhibit (27 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Spindles and Spirit of the Southwest exhibits (58 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Friday, June 26th (38 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Saturday Morning, June 27th (39 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Saturday Morning, June 27th - Part 2 (36 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Saturday Morning, June 27th - Part 3 (65 photos)
2009 AAW Symposium - Last installment (42 photos)

And that's, all, folks! If you've enjoyed the series and photos, please feel free to show your appreciation by leaving a comment here or on my Facebook fan page. If you're a Facebook member, please add yourself as a fan to that site. I post pictures there first, so if you want to know what's happening, that's a good place to stay on top of things. You can also show your support by purchasing one of my CD's (links on the upper right side of the blog page; also available on iTunes) or by making a small donation via the PayPal link up on the right side of the page. Every little bit helps to keep this information flowing your way - it does take time and effort on my part to share this information with you, plus my photographic equipment supply list is constantly growing. I'd like to keep this blog free from ads, so your help is much appreciated.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One of my favorite photos

3608.20090830.park of roses, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.

I'm trying to do macro photography without a macro lens. I like this one, so I thought I would share it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 AAW Symposium, Part IV: Saturday Afternoon & Evening, June 27

After lunch I had a bit more time to wander through exhibits and pop into a few rotations to check out the action.

Here's my good friend, John Wessels, from South Africa. He made his debut as an AAW demonstrator this year. He did rotations on turning cast pewter (shown here) and doing pewter inlay work. I enjoyed watching John demonstrate. He's sassy!

Marilyn Campbell was the center of attention here. She was being recorded for the Symposium video series. Marilyn was demonstrating her epoxy techniques.

Emmett Kane from Ireland was doing surface enhancement techniques.

Andrea Martel (Canada) was turning thin-walled vessels from green wood.

David Nittmann had a lot of 2-D work on the walls as well.

Meanwhile, back in the instant gallery, Jacques Vesery was chatting with Derek Weidmann and his wife.

Derek Weidmann received a Collegiate Award for his multi-axis, carved figure.

I stopped by the craft room to see what was going on there and found a carving demonstration taking place.

Here are some of the carvings on display.

L to R: Michael Hosaluk, Albert LeCoff and Garry Knox Bennett, visiting in the instant gallery.

Early afternoon activity in the instant gallery on Saturday afternoon included the gathering up of the auction donations that would be in the live auction at the banquet.

Jack Slentz received an Excellence Award for his carved disc.

Medallions by David Nittmann

Some interesting multi-axis turnings by Eli Aviserra.

Another Excellence Award was given to Charles Faucher.

Satoshi Fujinuma

Satoshi Fujinama

I had the last rotation of the day to do a coloring demo. Here's my supply set-up.

And, here I am, ready to go.

As soon as I finished my demo, I hurried back to my hotel room to freshen up for the AAW banquet.

Here is collector David Wahl, modeling his wife's handbag.

Jean François Escoulen waving to me from across the room.

Always a huge crowd for the banquet.

Auction donations lined up and ready to go.

Hmmm, there seems to be a recurring theme of Jacques Vesery consuming bottles of wine at the AAW symposium. Jacques, is there something we should know????

Alain Mailland is on the left and Pascal Oudet on the right. Maybe Jacques was just trying to be one of the French guys for the night.

One of the highlights of the evening was David Ellsworth presenting Merryll Saylan with the POP Merit award. I think you can tell from this photo that there is a long standing friendship between these talented artists.

Merryll was delighted with the award she was given.

It was a custom-made trophy turned and painted by Mark Sfirri.

Front. . .

. . . and back.

The most heartwarming event of the banquet was a touching speech given by former AAW president Phil Brennion, who has been heroic in his recovery from a debilitating back injury that has resulted in paralysis. The AAW set up a rehabilitation fund for Phil and he thanked the membership in person. It was so great to see him at the symposium this year.

John Hill did most of the evening's auction, but when his voice gave out, the pinch hitter stepped in. This was Rob Wallace's debut as an AAW auctioneer.

And, finally, no evening of the AAW symposium would be complete without the night cap in the hotel bar.