Enjoy the journey, not just the destination

It’s an often (over) used quote in various forms across the internet but this morning in a Facebook conversation it actually seemed apt to use it.

A friend of mine had posted a picture of a hand carved avocado that judging by google is all over the internet, so I’m not too worried about reposting it here. (If it’s your image, please ping me a msg and I’ll happily credit it to you.). It’s an amazing bit of food art that took an hour to make.

Carved avocado

One of the comments on the photo was “One lost hour..” which is what triggered my response and also got me to thinking about the work I did in the workshop yesterday, playing with and developing an idea that takes the Rennie Rose you’ve seen in it’s previous form to an image that was influenced by some pictures of Glasgow Style stained glass panels.

I had worked recently on the computer to create a vector based image of the panel that I had chosen to try and re-create, and on the computer the image worked quite well. What I didn’t account for is my lack of practice with the scalpel when it comes to cutting these Friskets out! (Sharp blades are the key!)Rennie Rose PaneThere’s a lot of long sweeping curves on this image and if you don’t keep the knife moving smoothly it becomes very visible once you’ve painted the object and removed the mask. Likewise on the straight sections, the use of a straight edge is important.

Rennie Panel Bowl

Whilst I wasn’t happy with the finished image on the bowl, I decided to remove the bowl form anyway so that I could see how the image developed. This gave me a chance to play with proportions and to practice some of the more delicate cuts that are needed when working on an already decorated piece.

With the usual size bowl removed, the piece did not feel right and the bowl needed to be widened. It was at this point I had what the artist Bob Ross used to call “a happy little accident” that resulted in quite a major change to the bowl size. Taking this design opportunity for what it was, I decided to create a deeper bowl with a slight undercut to practice a cut that I’m not overly comfortable with.

This unfortunately upset the balance of the design completely and with a little prompting from the long suffering other half, decided to remove the design completely and turn a test/practice piece into a really nice looking Ash bowl.

Ash bowl

In the end, over the course of a few hours I was able to test and refine a number of skills, test a couple of new surface finish techniques that I wasn’t sure would work on airbrushed acrylic, challenge myself with some difficult cuts that I’m not comfortable with and in the end still create a pleasing bowl form that I would happily keep.

So whilst the destination changed slightly and I didn’t end up with the original intention, the journey itself was challenging and rewarding. There is no such thing as wasted time when accidents happen, merely an opportunity to test, challenge and develop yourself further.


The Rennie Rose bowl commission

I was asked if I could make a larger version of the Rennie Rose tea light as a bowl. Never one to turn down a challenge I said of course.

This time I used tracing paper to create the initial design. This allowed me to work from a larger scale printout of the original rose design and then provided room to add some additional content in the form of a stem and a bud. The plan was for the Rose and stem to lie on the left side of the bowl, with the bud pointing towards the centre.

Using tracing paper allows me to rub a soft pencil on the back of the outline, then lay the tracing paper over the piece once the front has been turned and sanded. Then with care you can re-trace the outline of the design on top of the tracing paper, which leaves an imprint of the soft pencil in the same style that carbon paper would (but with a lot less mess and more control.)

Drawn outline

Once the design was on the wood, a large piece of frisket was placed over the top and the design cut out.

Cutout the frisket

Then the fun bit of adding some colour. First the Naphthol Red Light in the centre of the rose and the bud, followed by subsequent additions of Carbon Black to darken the red before it reaches full black at the outer edge of the rose. Then black on the stems and outer edges of the petals and bud.

First spray

The magic really happens when you first remove the frisket. It never ceases to amaze me how the image changes.

Mask Removed

With the mask removed, it’s time to take the centre of the bowl out and prepare the piece for a few coats of lacquer.

Finished and lacquered

The finished piece.