Those who know my work will see that I have begun producing something quite different from my boxes. The story of how this happened is an interesting one.
I have firewood delivered to me every year, and every year while stacking these pieces, I discovered wood that was far too beautiful to end up heating my home. Every year I rescued some of these, putting them aside to dry in my workshop, saving them for… I wasn’t sure what! They were local maple, with lovely figuring, I just couldn’t stand the idea of burning them. So the piles of rescued wood in my workshop grew and grew and grew until this year I couldn’t move around for the stacks of them. I knew the time had come to give them a purpose. And so here they are! I present you with my latest project, the first collection of (for the most part) “Rescue” grinders, for pepper, salt or spices. They are made mostly from the maple from my firewood, with the exception of the few I have made in walnut and cherry. All are lovingly hand turned, polished and finished, each is unique and every mill features a ceramic Crushgrind® mechanism which is guaranteed for 25 years and is a pleasure to use. The finished grinders, though made with material discovered in firewood piles are in no way inferior to those made with commercially available wood. In fact they are superior, as this kind of beautifully figured wood is just about impossible to buy. I guess they are burning it all now. That is such a terrible waste. I wish I could go through all the firewood piles to see what treasures there are to be found. In the “Rescue” mills in particular I see the creation of a useful, beautiful object that will give pleasure for many years to come and I find that intensely satisfying in itself.
I just heard the sad news of the death of Stuart McLean. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his crew and photographing his show in 2009 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. The video I made of the photographs is accompanied by one of his best loved stories, as told by Stuart himself. It’s a very funny story and typical of Stuart’s wonderful story telling talent. He was a Canadian literary treasure who will be sorely missed.
It’s always exciting to go to a Woodturning Symposium as a demonstrator, with the buzz that builds up around the trip. I like to take some work with me, something new if I can, so you see me here sanding the body of a new box before attaching the finial. I leave for New Zealand on the 25th of this month. Not long now before I go. If you are there, stop by to see it and say hello.
While Ellie was taking the above photograph I moved aside and she spotted my latest student watching sanding techniques from an unusual angle, under the lathe. Joni has recently become obsessed with woodturning, as do so many once they are introduced to it.
“Steven’s collection Turned Boxes takes the visitor on a whimsical journey through the intricate designs and fantastical forms of his turned wooden box creations. Each is unique and shows the beauty of a piece of art crafted by a master artisan.”
… to have three of my boxes featured on the front cover of their late summer catalogue. For those outside of North America, Lee Valley is the Go To Place for fine woodworking tools. I also teach box making workshops there from time to time.
Thanks +Lee Valley Tools Ltd (photo by Lee Valley Tools) #tools#woodturning#woodworking#craftsmanship
I have to thank my photo scout, Joni, the Border Collie, for finding me these little models last night. And also my lighting assistant, +Ellie Kennard for holding the flashlight. These two poor little kits were immobilized by the barking of my scout and their mother was nowhere to be seen. I can only assume that they were reunited in the night (and lived happily ever after) as in the morning they were nowhere to be seen.
“The Show Must Go On by Steven Kennard
Steven Kennard Canning, Nova Scotia The Show Must Go On Cherry, cocobolo, African blackwood, gesso, acrylic lacquer Turned textured, burned and painted box with tray 4.5″ x 3″ Artist’s Note “Initially inspired by the checkered floors found in historic French buildings, I have used the exterior of this box as a canvas for the creation of geometric patterns. Although the patterns seem to be static, they take on different forms depending on how the …”
In fact the snow began as soon as I took this and got back in the car, a real blizzard, one of the ugliest days of the winter (so far). I don't know what this crop is, but though I wanted to identify it, the weather was so cold and miserable that I just couldn't bring myself to go into the field to find out. It's not Brussels sprouts as I thought at first. Let' hope Spring is soon coming.
I’m looking forward to demonstrating at the Woodturning New Zealand International Symposium 29 September to 2 October 2016. There are some amazing turners who will be there, so check out the site linked on the poster. And why not come along?
New Zealand looks like a beautiful location to visit. I will definitely be bringing my camera along on this trip as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.