Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Island of Doctor Piper

Part of the fun of doing this is being surprised by the experiments in form and design. Especially when I first started learning pen turning, what I intend and what came out in the end are at times very different things. I confidently make a cut or series of cuts, "knowing" how they'll turn out, only to stand at the end thinking, "How in the ... ?"

One of my favorite examples of this was "Crazy Spider." The idea was a wave design in purple heart and canary wood with an offset inlay line. After the fairly simple cut and glue of the purple heart and canary, I turned the blank 90 degrees and cut another wave, inserting a padauk inlay and then just gluing the two pieces back together. The surprise came when I turned it on the lathe. The width of the pen just happened to coincide with the peak of the inlay wave. Sanding to that point created the red padauk "X" that came out in the final pen. It may not be pretty, but it sure is unique! I've been able to duplicate this a few times, but it's not easy.

Another fun thing is to just cut and assemble, with no idea what's going to happen. Most of the Sanitarium Line are like this, at least in specific shapes and patterns. They're designed to be abstract, so if they make a discernable shape it really is a surprise. I thought this one looked like some kind of Picasso-style eye when it turned out. That silver dot, by the way, is a piece of aluminum I had no idea was in there.

I used to make fun of abstract art!

I want to know! What surprises do you get at your work or hobby?