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.
Although I only had one day to spend in New Zealand sightseeing, thanks to my new found friend Tref, I managed to get to see far more than I would have on my own. Clicking on any of these photographs takes you to my New Zealand Through My Lens gallery.
I caught a Ferry which took me from Half Moon to Auckland. It was a stormy day and the bright light when it appeared was a striking contrast to the dark and angry storm clouds. I liked the way the silhouette of the lighthouse was haloed by the glow of the dramatic sky.
Gannet Rock With Gannets
Gannet rock is a beautiful natural habitat for these wonderful birds. As you can see here, they spill over into the cliffs around, where they breed. I could have spent all day here.
Gannets on the Rocky Cliff
These beautiful birds were constantly moving around, preening, squabbling, mating, nest building and generally having a great time.
Gannets, Gannets, Gannets!
A closer look at the gannets on the cliff shows the activity of gathering materials and arranging into what are their nests. These are pretty primitive rustic things, just a few sticks, feathers and bits of debris. They don’t seem to feel crowded as their personal space seems to be defined by slightly more than the distance each one could reach to peck his neighbour with his sharp beak.
The woodturning symposium in New Zealand where I was demonstrating finished on a Sunday and my flight wasn’t until Tuesday night. Thanks to the kindness of one of the attendees, Tref Roberts, I got to experience as much of the beauty of this country as was possible in one day. I had a whirlwind sightseeing tour of the area, where it was Spring time and the weather was very dramatic and changeable, which only intensified the experience on this unforgettable day. I will have a gallery of my images taken on that day and here is the first, on the shore of the beautiful North island.
The first day of my arrival in New Zealand (or was it the -1 day of my arrival, as I lost a Monday in there somewhere?) I thought I would take a little stroll around the neighbourhood and see where I was. I looked up on this roof and saw what looked like a flat stuffed animal lying on this roof. As I got a little closer to it to get a better look it moved its head and stared at me.
This character seemed amazed to see a Pom walking down his street! He was relaxing in the hot sun of this lovely Spring morning. He had to be the first thing I photographed on my trip.