Nourishing Our Creativity

French Horn #2 - Steven Kennard 2011
French Horn #2 – Steven Kennard 2011

Creativity is fed and nourished by the things around us and our experiences. Some of those are visual, some are more visceral. For all of us our ability to create is fed by those things. Photography (making photographs) compels me to be observant of my surroundings and my environment in a broad sense and in a more focused sense in the details. I believe our brains have the capacity to record everything that we see and the subconscious memory of that is often visible in the things we subsequently create ourselves. This can be seen in forms, surface textures or colour, for example.

Composing images requires a careful balancing of elements – what is to be excluded, what included and how these elements are placed within the frame – to create the visual harmony along what, in photography is a two dimensional plane. Three dimensional works whether turned items, sculpture or even furniture all need to have the same consideration applied to achieve successful results. For me, the creating of images and the creating of three dimensional works are interrelated and connected and often this relationship can be seen in my work. Sometimes this connection is clear, at other times more subtle.

We need to keep feeding our brains and imaginations using the elements that are available to us wherever we might be.

Original Post November 21, 2011:

Symphony Nova Scotia had an annual fundraiser and asked Nova Scotia artists to create something using some of their old and unusable musical instruments. I got this wonderful French horn (which I still managed to play as you can see if you look closely at the photograph below) and made a series of photographs of it.

Imagine the music this instrument provided for so many people for years and the pleasure that it gave to those who played it.

French Horn #1 - Steven Kennard 2011
French Horn #1 – Steven Kennard 2011

Celebration of Tradition

Celebration 3 - African Blackwood, Cocobolo- Steven Kennard 2015

    Celebration 3 – African Blackwood, Cocobolo- Steven Kennard

I was honoured to be invited to submit a piece this year for the Professional Outreach Program
(POP) of the American Association of Woodturners “Out of the Woods: Traditional Form Revisited” auction which took place in conjunction with the 2018 AAW A on Portland, Oregon.

This Celebration box is the third in a series of boxes of mine showcasing the rich beauty of the different woods they incorporate – African Blackwood, cocobolo, thuya root burl. Clicking on the picture will take to to my gallery of more of my turned boxes and other work.

Celebration 3 open showing tray - African Blackwood, Cocoboloo - Steven Kennard
Celebration 3 open showing tray – African Blackwood, Cocoboloo – Steven Kennard

Celebration 3 open - African Blackwood, Cocobolo - Steven Kennard
Celebration 3 open – African Blackwood, Cocobolo – Steven Kennard

Salt, Pepper and Spice Mills – Rescued From the Flames!

Pepper Mills by Steven Kennard 2018
Pepper Mills by Steven Kennard 2018

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.

There is currently no Shop where these can be purchased (online) but contact me if interested as I will be happy to help you.

Getting ready to demonstrate at the New Zealand Woodturning symposium

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.

Steven sanding a new box to take to New Zealand- Ellie Kennard 2016
Steven sanding a new box to take to New Zealand for the Symposium- Ellie Kennard 2016

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.

My most attentive student - Photo by Ellie Kennard 2016
My most attentive student – Photo by Ellie Kennard 2016

It is an honour to have been chosen by Lee Valley Tools

Lee Valley catalogue late summer 2016 - featuring 3 of my boxes
Lee Valley catalogue late summer 2016 – featuring 3 of my boxes

… 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

 

The Show Must Go On is up For Bids!



The online bidding has begun for the auction of pieces to benefit the Professional Outreach Program of the American Association of Woodturners. I am proud to have a piece in it and it can be seen here along with all the other wonderful pieces of turned art,(full auction here: http://www.auction2016.woodturner.org/Contemporary-Wood-Art-Auctions-2016_as42602 )

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 …”

Woodturning New Zealand International Symposium 2016

New Zealand Woodturning Poster Symposium 2016
New Zealand Woodturning Poster Symposium 2016

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.

The Show Must Go On!

The Show Must Go On! box open showing tray - Steven Kennard 2016
The Show Must Go On! box open showing tray – Steven Kennard 2016

This box, titled “The Show Must Go On!” was made specially for an invitation I received to submit a piece for the American Association of Woodturner’s annual exhibition and Professional Outreach Program auction. The theme for this year’s auction is “Patterns” and so I decided to pursue a design that has been going around in my head for a few years. I have used the exterior of this box as a canvas for the creation of geometric shapes. Although the patterns seem to be static, they take on different forms depending on how the top of the box is placed on the bottom. The shape of the tray is also triangular when seen separately from the box, as it lies on its side, mimicking the triangles on the exterior as well as the small diamond shaped finial on the tray pull. The body of the piece is made in cherry wood, which I have textured and painted with gesso. The rings are in African blackwood and the interior is lined with polished cocobolo.

This box will be displayed along with all the other wonderful works at the AAW Gallery of Wood Art in St. Paul, Minnesota, from March 6-May 23 2016. There will be a simultaneous live and online auction which is scheduled for June 11th.