Let there be music and creatures with wings.
Larches do not throw off just the cones, but whole twigs. So during a dry spell, the forest floor under larches is just like a huge tinderbox just waiting to burst into flames. That may be one reason why larches also have very thick bark that is capable of resisting flames for quite a long time, similarly to the bark of for example sequoias or cork oaks.
I tried to make two sheaths out of crappy leather first, and it is a good thing that I did, because not only the measurements did not fit the first time, but the stamping and carving were not very good either. Who woulda thunk that making the basketweave pattern is a lot harder than YouTube videos made by master craftsmen make it look like?
The second time I got actually better, but I think I will make a third one before going to the good leather for the final product. Although I did cut a piece of good leather for experiments too and it does work differently (better) than the old crappy one.
In due course, I have made several new tools.
I had to make myself several new tools because those that I bought did not cover all I needed. I want to make a basket weave pattern on part of the sheath, but the store where I bought the rest had none and on other stores, I could not find one that I liked. Also, the beveler was a bit too big for some of the works that I need to do and the set lacked a mule foot tool, so I made one of that too although I do not intend to use it right now.
I have made all this using a hammer to drive the stamps, and that turned out to be not optimal. Apart from mushrooming of the tool ends and flaking off of the chrome-plating, I thought that the hammer hits unnecessarily hard. So I took out my lathe and started to make a mallet.
I took an old furniture leg from beech wood for this, although it is not optimal. It is hardwood, but not nearly hard enough. I will probably have to replace this soon as it gets chewed up fairly quickly, but it should last at least for one project. I have already an idea of how to make a new, better one with replaceable head, but that will have to wait for now – for that I first have to find out if I can buy or find suitable materials. If not, I will either try to find or glue-up a big enough piece of jatoba or black locust, since those are a lot harder and thus can withstand more abuse.
And since building the lathe for just one thing is not worth the hassle, and I need to learn lathe work anyway, I have also taken another furniture leg and turned myself a burnishing tool, from beech wood too. Sycamore, black elder, or cherry would be better for this (they have smaller pores and are more homogenous), but I did not have a suitable piece of any of those quickly available, and this should suffice. Next time I have the lathe on the table, I will probably make a burnishing wheel for the drill press, but with the amount of leatherwork I am currently doing, this is enough. I soaked the mallet and the burnisher in boiled linseed oil and they are drying now. One cover should suffice, so tomorrow they should be ready to use, at least the mallet. The burnisher won’t be needed for a few days yet.
A few of the smaller, deceptively simple figure studies today. I love the way Beardsley captures so much complexity using high-contrast, geometric lines. It’s hard to believe that he was only 19 when he began work on this book.
Today I’m sharing a few of the smaller portraits from the book. The last illustration is one of my favourites. Beardsley uses negative space brilliantly, and his simple line drawings create compellingly complex faces.
Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet
Yes, I know, that’s similar to the post in October about the little one’s cake, but we are in for another Pokémon themed cake. It was #1’s birthday on Sunday and she wanted a Zorua cake. Well, actually she wanted a Reshiram cake, but I balked at the idea of trying to make one. There’s being ambitious and there’s being stupid. I think it was my most complicated motive cake so far as it does not have a simple geometric form as a basis but the cut out of the Pokémon and the decoration took me almost three hours.
The cake is vanilla and cherries, the filing is German mango buttercream and roasted almonds. I then covered everything with Italian buttercream and added several layers of fondant. It was delicious and pretty.
Well, hello there. It’s been a while since Jack and I were here, and we hope you’ve all been keeping well. I don’t know about the weather where you are, but ours has been hellishly hot and dry. It’s been difficult for Jack to get exercise because he still has a lot of hair to shed, despite daily brushing and he overheats quickly. Mostly, though, he’s just getting old. My Bubba is 12 now, and this summer, for the first time, I see the weight of those years hanging on him. He’s slower, fatigues quickly, and he’s lost his delightful prancing gait.
Despite the physical changes, Jack’s attitude remains cheerful, and he still wants to play and go for adventures. I’ve been worried, though, that he couldn’t make it all the way around any of our trials, so we’ve been taking shorter walks just around the block. This helps meet Jack’s physical needs, but not his emotional ones, so this morning I got up at the crack of dawn, fed Jack, packed a large thermos of water and a smaller one of coffee, grabbed my camera and keys and took the boy out to Trillium Woods. That’s a 1 km looped trail with several benches along the path, and it’s Jack’s favourite walk. The entire route is shaded by giant trees, and I crossed my fingers that Bubba could make it from bench to bench and back to the car, and he did! We went slowly and took water at each bench stop, but Jack really struggled to make it up the hill at the end of the trail. We stopped twice for him to catch his breath, and I was getting concerned that bringing him was a bad idea, but one plodding foot after another, Jack finally made it to the top where he beamed with happiness and contentment. Next time, we’ll walk in the other direction, which puts the hilly section at the beginning of the walk, instead of the end. For now, Jack is blissfully sleeping, and I feel like the luckiest mommy in the world because I get to be his mommy.
Many of the figures in Beardsley’s work are androgenous, and as you can imagine, this created quite a stir during the Victorian times in which they were published. Despite the controversy, or perhaps because of it, Beardsley’s work was well-considered in art circles and the book sold moderately well. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some of the more well-known figures in the book, but I wanted to introduce a few select examples today as a signpost to the overarching theme of androgyny.
Artwork via: Enchanted Booklet
I have decided to make a sheath for the knife, but since the blade and the fittings are quite fancy, a plain leather sheath would be unbefitting. So the time has come for me to learn some fancy leatherwork. As you know, I am quite fond of making my own tools, but this time around I have decided to bite the bullet and buy some basic stuff for starters.
These are really just the basics – a swivel knife and six basic stamps, a beveler, and a groover. The cheapest ones there were to find.
I will surely make some of my own tools in the future, but these should, hopefully, suffice for a start. They do not allow me to make anything that cannot be done with the tools that I already have – but they allow me to make those works much easier, more consistently, precisely and quicker.
Now I am going to cut up an old leather handbag and test some design ideas.