Wedding Cake Toppers

How often someone deviates from mainstream standards when it comes to the cake toppers? I don't know, but I was taken by the request to design such toppers inspired by a particular Caribbean bird species, the bananaquit. I started with sketches and shared them with the bride to be, just to be sure we shared the same vision...  Update: 15 May 2017 the cake toppers now finished and in the future couple's hands, actually they were picked up on March 31...

Then, after we settled the conditions, I embarked in this new adventure...challenge...these two birds required very long anchoring prongs which needed to be strong and concealed...the challenging part.

...and it took time, and time...

The Marriage of an Old House and a Dilapidated Shed

Well, I had lots of materials salvaged from a couple of old structures and these materials were taking too much space inside my woodcarving shop and wood storage shed, so instead of crying about it, I set off to build me a chicken coop and garden shed combo. The footprint is exactly 5' wide x 16' long x 10' to ridge. The windows were also salvaged from a sunroom someone upgraded, they are crafted from white cedar, nice!  I set them up on pivots, so no frames required, just swing out and fresh air blows throughout the room, nice.
The Skeleton

The Rooster that Won't Crow
So yeah, every chicken coop should be ruled by a loud beaked rooster, but in this case the Rooster will be a silent sentinel mounted atop a prominently display beam. The one I set here in the photo is not the final one, just a test. I still have a lot of interior work to do and some exterior detailing and painting before Winter's arrival. Hopefully I will be able to get it all done and have it ready …

Cardinal Pair Prep Work and more...

I have been "mentally sketching" out the general details for another Cardinal woodcarving job, basically, a pair perching close together, attentive to their surroundings. Not yet settled on any solid idea. Also awaiting completion is the sitting Eagle and more recently, the prospects of another Chickadee Nestbox composition. So it's time to get busy with these, before my workshop gets too cold to hold carving tools on my hands. Will post the sketches at a later time as well as updates of work in progress. 1/31/2017 update....unbelievable almost two years since I posted about the Cardinals...which aren't yet completed...why? Too busy with other bigger$$$ projects and life.

I did work on another Chickadee Nestbox, actually, I completed two, one went off to California...the other one I kept.

Americana Black Walnut Bald Eagle  Half Spread Sitting Eagle A project that had been on hold for over a year now, awaiting for visual signs of wood block drying behaviour. The now stable thick block of Black Walnut had been cut from a large tree felled in a Pulaski, VA church parking lot about 11 years ago. I had cut the log in sections 5 to 6 foot long for easier transport and storage. I wanted the "Eagle" to be "accurate", yet resemble the old Americana and German styled eagles often depicted in seals and statuary in a sitting pose with half spread wings. Due to size, both wings required to be separate component in a double mortise/tenon keyed arrangement I had developed before for another large scale "bird".

                                                                           Head Detail

 This photo shows the oversize tenon required for holding the right side wing in place.

         The photo above shows the full body, one piece block of black w…
Lots to Do... The Art Studio For quite a while now I've been working to restore an old (1870's) doctor's office which stand next to the old Colonial home he had built for his family, our presently renovated home. It's a good size building with a simple old times charm and original materials that are in great shape, which makes for a less costly undertaking. I began by leveling the structure, removing all the wood siding and insulating the walls from the outside, then replacing and adding additional windows to allow for more light to reach into the interior and to help with ventilation. A wall towards the back (the doc's office) was removed and the wide horizontally configured planks preserved for future reuse. Most of the work has been done with only the tedious trim painting and new roofing.

Downy Woodpecker Woodcarving (Finished) A few days back I received a request for a Downy woodcarving and so have been working a few hours per day getting it ahead for delivery June 9th. It's not a complex project, but one that requires time and detail work. Trying not to miss on the nice weather opportunities for outdoor fun, while my son is back from college, I have been working on it mostly at night. The 3 most recent pictures show the finished work, kiln dried Eastern White Pine was used for the bird, a pyropen to detail all feather groups and Jo Sonja acrylics to apply the color markings of the species. Quality glass eyes are inserted and eyelids created/molded by hand to add realism and to serve in securing the eyes permanently. The display was set of a split branch of Oak that was extensively worked to show the best grain patterns.

 Carved from kiln dried Eastern White Pine, pyrographic pen detailing of feather groups and final application of color. The bird will be mounte…
The Puerto Rican Parrot: Amazona Vittata Genoma Project