Dian – Retrospective on her Quilting

Amber’s Teddy Bear quilt

In 1986 We owned a picture framing store in Vernon ” OK Make-A-Frame” . Dian along with several of our employees took an introductory course in quilting. Since then this has been Dian’s main hobby, along the way she has develope great skills and learned a lot about colour and design. In the process she given enormous pleasure to others with gifts of her work. Today every room in our home is warmed by her art.
Each of her grandchildren received a cot quilt like the one an the left.

My Favourite – Mystery Quilt
Sam’s Quilt
Japanese Fabrics

Carving – Of Green Men and Woodspirits

Green Man 1

Dian had on several occasions suggested I should try carving ethereal subjects such as wizards.
I spotted a wood carving magazine with an instructive article  by Chris Pye, a revered English carver titled “Green Men”. A recently acquired a huge slab of prime Yellow Cedar  12 ft long x 9″ thick at the butt and 30″ wide to cut a chunk about a a foot square and 4″ thick. This proved to be a most enjoyable and satisfying piece to work through and inspired me to further work in this style

Wood Spirit 1


Fir Bark Man


Carving – Retrospective

I did my first carving in the late seventies soon after I met Dian now my wife. I incise carved a name plate for our house which has traveled with us across the globe. At about the same time I carved round house name for close friends Ronnie & Marie Martin.
Now retired, I have more time to devote to developing and exercising these skills.
One stimulant was seeing the fine adze work carried out by Roy Henry Vickers under tutalage of the legendary Henry Nolla on the entire surface of RHV’s Eagle Aerie Gallery in Tofino http://www.royhenryvickers.com/artist

I took a trip over to Tofino to meet one of the resident artists that work in the Henry Nolla’s beach hut studio at the Wickinish Inn on Chesterman Beach Tofino.

There I met Chris who knew both Roy and Henry and had been taught in the skills in the use of  the adze by the latter. Chris spent a 1/2 a day with me first showing then teaching me the rudiments of adzing.

Back home in Parksville I set up a crude forge and made an adze blade from an old  14″farriers file. With that I set about surfacing a table I had put together from scrap 2″ thick lumber rescued from a mill in Ladysmith. The detail carving at each of 8 place sittings is not yet started but we enjoy using the table in the conservatory I built on the back of our home.

Adzing the Table Top
Same table with worktop covering 2010

Love Spoons – Carving

In spring of 2009 I participated in a two day workshop under the tutelage of David Western

This was an introduction to art form with an interesting history .Since then I have carved several more spoons as gifts the first being for my lovely wife Dian. I prefer to use local native woods Red Alder and Maple having found that Yellow Cedar is too soft and does not hold detail well.
I have committed to doing one each for our 3 daughters. They eachl chose the same pattern Modern Maple Leavesby David Western i’ve not started one you because it is a very difficult one :(O

Love Spoon Froggy went a courtin’
Dian Smith 1st Spoon


Some of my Early Work
Kathy & Franky’s spoon


Carving – Chestnut- backed Chickadee

Last year I took a Power Carving course at Lee Valley’s new store in Victoria given by Jim Robertson. The being one of our most frequent garden visitors the Chestnut -backed Chickadee. The course was all new stuff to me using rotary tools ( Dremel etc) to shape the bird in Basswood then using pyrography techniques to burn in the feather texture before painting. The result was very pleasing . However, I was left to finish the mounting at home which included finding a suitable stick from in our local forest and then drilling and mounting the cast metal feet to it. it took until a couple of weeks ago for me to set about the final step of forming the birds feet/ claws around the perch. If done cold the toes break :(O if to warm they may melt or deform. This is often done be heating the feet over steam or in hot water which I did not fancy. instead i elected to use my hot air paint stripper tool which has a digital temp control. Sure enough using 200degres C I was able to bend each toe in turn to a reasonably snug close fit around perch.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

I am a doer – Plugging Away

By nature I have always been a doer motto = Unemployment is a state of mind.
I am generally not comfortable when just sitting around and even then I am inclined to be working out the details of making or doing the next thing/project.
Recently I bought a Plugger from Lee Valley tool ( http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32280&cat=1,180,42240,53317) which is made to drill16degree tapered holes in trees for grafting scions.

I got the notion that if one drilled holes in wood turning blanks in patterns and revealed them when shaping the object on the lathe a very easy and interesting decorative pattern would be formed. A few days ago I put this to the test and made simple a lidded “Candy Dish”

Holes were drilled radially, axially, and tangential then plugs  made from shop scraps of Black walnut, Ebony, Yellow Cedar, Ramin, Mahogany, and Basswood. These were rough turned on the lathe then finely pointed in a pencil srapener bofore being glued in place. The rest was conventional turning practice for lidded boxes.

Day one as a newbe Blogger

Greetings all;
I thought I would give Blogging a try to enable another way to stay in closer touch with my grandchildren in far away places. Over the coming months I will try to regularly post things that they may be interested in and hope that they will respond with blogs of their own perhaps. In reality only one, Amber is old enough to set up her own blog but younger ones may not be far behind as children move to adulthood at an alarming rate.
We have five grandchildren 12 through 5, Amber and Erin in Leicestershire, Sam and Olivia in Southport and Louie in Sydney.
We have Skype (tomndi) but it has proved to be difficult to sync between the widely spaced  time zones of UK, Canada and Australia.

So we will see what the coming  months reveal.

Ok Amber are you up for this ?

Grandpa Tom