|Welcome to the 116th edition of Creative Woodworks and Crafts! For this issue's editorial, we're hearing from a few of our regular contributors!
Once our latest scroll saw project is on display, whether in our own home or at a friend’s, we sit back and enjoy it. Our lives are so busy that we often lose sight of the fact that we are supposed to be taking pleasure in the process. After all, scrolling is fun!
Am I using the right piece of wood? Should I cut it this way or that? Am I perfectly on the line? What is the correct paint color? Exploring the answers to these questions is how we grow, but don’t let it be a deterrent to the enjoyment of scrolling.
I’m not saying don’t try to improve. I’m not saying don’t care about wood choice or paint color. What I am saying is don’t forget to take pleasure in finding the wood, delight in choosing the pattern, enjoyment while cutting the design, and value in your finished artwork.
Having never followed a project plan to the letter makes the Reader’s Gallery one of my favorite columns in Creative Woodworks & Crafts. I appreciate seeing how our readers will add their own personal touches and change a project, whether due to a lack of the specified materials or just to make it different.
Intarsia is an art form that lends itself to the creative mind. Although some people feel an intarsia project should be made using only the natural colors of the wood, about half the people I’ve talked with like to use light-colored wood and stain the pieces. In my opinion, either style is fine, as long as you’ve enjoyed making the project. When you’re in your shop, you’re the boss, so do it your way. One fellow I talked with made my eight-point buck project and replaced the wooden antlers with those from a buck his son had bagged. Now that’s being creative!
So, the next time you find a project you like, don’t be afraid to do your own thing with it...and share it with us by sending a photo to Reader’s Gallery so we can all enjoy your creativity.
I remember buying my
first scroll saw and
how addicting scrolling became. I spent hours making kindling for the campfire! Every night I’d get that familiar holler down the stairs, “I’m going to bed now,” which of course is another way of saying to shut everything down for the night. About six years ago, I stumbled upon intarsia, and it was even worse than when I had begun scroll sawing. I was actually designing in my sleep, only to wake up thinking, “Darn, that was a nice project,” but not remembering how I made it! I realized I had finally found something in my life that I thought I was good at and loved to do at the same time.
So six years later, I’m doing pretty much the same thing. I design and develop new intarsia and various other woodworking projects, I still get that holler down the stairs, and I’m still creating new projects in my sleep.
One of my greatest rewards is when I get an email with pictures showing what others are doing with patterns I have designed. When designing and making a piece, I use the types of wood that I think look nice. When you are making a project from a pattern, you should try and use your own creativity. The color suggestions and design itself are just starting points. You can add or delete things or use colors of your own choosing. I’ve seen other people’s versions of my patterns that leave me wondering, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
If you’ve never attempted an intarsia project, this is my best advice—try it! Start with something on the simpler side. After two or three projects you’ll find yourself wanting to do more complex designs. The next thing you know, you’ll be off and running. Intarsia is like playing cribbage. You spend the first few games scratching your head trying to figure it out. After a while you start getting the hang of it. Once you understand the concept, you realize it’s actually a fairly easy game, and the more games you play, the better you get. Happy Cutting!
Inspiration: defined simply (in Roget’s American Heritage Dictionary) as “stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.” Long ago, my inspirations were out-of-the-ordinary spectacular Florida sunsets or professionally manicured and meticulously maintained rose gardens. Those were the things with which I wanted to grace my precious canvases. I felt that perfect objects would create perfect art. How could someone find fault with the best of the best in subject matter? When I couldn’t convey them perfectly, I gave up and put my pencils down for many years.
At some point in my life, I got over my fear of my work being criticized. (This sure makes it bearable when my husband tells me he doesn’t like one of my patterns!) When my husband and I started woodworking, I had so many ideas about what we could create in this new medium that I started drawing patterns. As Kerry cut them out and gave me feedback, I was able to design and improve a little each time. Now, I am inspired by my simple roses that bloom all the way through November in front of my porch, which is a far cry from the well-manicured gardens that I used to select as subjects for my art. The same goes for a brilliant piece of curly maple or mottled mess of burled redwood. Sometimes a pattern just draws itself before me on the wood. The unbelievable part of this whole process is that other people like my creations! It is a blessing to me (and extremely humbling) that other people like my drawings enough to devote their own time to cutting them. I would just like to say, “Thank you.”