Monday, April 18, 2011

Plans Gone Awry

PeterC went out of town this weekend to take a 3 day metal bashing course and I planned, while he was gone, to get at least one garden bed planted and covered with the old windows. This would of course be three weeks earlier than normal. However, as the title of this post says plans went awry.

The weather, which had been holding cool and moist all last week, turned cold and wet. The temperatures have been hovering just above 0ÂșC since Friday. The wind has been blowing wildly, trans-locating several garbage cans in the neighbourhood. And, it has been extremely wet. So wet in fact that walking anywhere in the yard results in squishes, and in some places you are going to get your feet and lower legs wet. Needless to say the garden has once again been put on hold.

But, fear not dear readers, the time did not go to waste. Since I couldn't do much outside I decided to concentrate on getting stuff done inside. I decided it was a good time to start increasing my inventory. You see, I decided I was going to be a merchant at the SCA event that the local group is hosting in June. While that may seem like a long way away it is relatively short considering that everything I sell is handmade.

So I have been working away all weekend making pouches, brooches, nalbinding needles, and even an embroidered belt. I also worked on my chip carved box. In fact it is almost finished. Just a couple more coats of varnish and some buffing and it will be done. I did remember to take pictures this time. Better yet, I got PeterC to take the pictures when he got home last night.

It is a good thing I always have several projects on the go. Otherwise I would have been stuck looking for something to do when the weather turned and my outside plans had to be scrapped.

Monday, April 11, 2011

First SCA Competition

This past weekend I entered my first SCA Arts & Sciences competition. This competition was what they call a Blind A&S. The project could be finished or not and documentation was strongly encouraged. Each project was judged to be beginner, intermediate, or advanced. A winner from each category was then chosen.

I entered a small chip carved box, unfinished as I only found out I could enter the competition a week ago. This was not my first chip carving but it was my first ever box, made from scratch. I did complete my documentation. I felt it important to have complete documentation since the box was not going to be complete.

My project was ranked as advanced - an accomplishment in my opinion, but I did not win with my entry. I did get a special token from the Baroness who was extremely impressed with my entry.

The feedback on my project was quite good. All the judges were impressed with my documentation, especially the photos I was able to include of the extant objects and tools of the trade. The feedback on the box was very good from two of the judges and ok from the third judge, who was the technical expert in wood working.

It turns out the very things that made my project advanced were also the very things that kept me from winning. Hand cut joinery that wasn't perfect. Sides that were a tiny fraction unequal in height. Complicated chip carving that unfortunately chipped out on the narrow ends. Stuff like that. So all in all a learning experience.

I enjoyed the creation process and learned from the judging process. This will not be my only A&S competition. In fact I intend on entering a project in every upcoming competition at every event I attend, assuming of course that there is a competition held.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Latest Commission Piece

I've been really lucky recently to have gotten several commission orders. I've done nalbound hats and mittens, painted shields, and some sewing. The most recent commission was a love spoon.

The person placing the order wanted flowers and hearts, but otherwise left the design up to me. Here is the finished product. I'm quite happy with how it looks, and I hope the person purchasing it is, too. It is carved from 1/2 inc basswood and is about 11 inches long by 2.5 inches at it widest point. The flowers and the claddagh are in low relief. The finish is a gel stain to create the antique look covered with a low gloss butcher block oil and finish.