Kirra Flame On Glass 2017

We’ve just returned from a 6 day road trip (motor cars, hotels, airports and airplanes) for the Kirra Galleries 15th Flame On Glass Exhibition. This is also the final Flame on Glass Exhibition. As far as I’m concerned, this show is the most prestigious gathering of torch work glass artists in Australia at Australia’s most […]

via Flame On Glass 2017 at Kirra Gallery — Su Bishop Glass Art

Happy with that!


Grey Hollows Series

The  Clarence River Arts Festival is over for 2017.

We are quite pleased with ourselves.

Su managed to win 1st place and Peoples Choice in the Jewellery class with her Grey Hollows Series necklace and pendant.  The piece featured blown hollow beads – some decorated with blown shards, some etched and some as they came out of the kiln.

Su also picked up 1st place in Craft for her Fishy Fantasy piece.


Fantasy Seascape

Of course, Su was very pleased, and very proud.

I managed to pick up a couple of Highly Commended awards.  OK – no prizes, but not to be sneezed at.  Some consider Highly Commended awards to be an ‘encouragement award’ – kind of well done but not good enough.  But Highly Commended awards are given out at the judges discretion – they are only given if the work is of a high standard.  For me, a Highly Commended award for my Moebius Strip in the Sculpture – Fine Arts section and a Highly Commended in Woodwork for my Banksia Hall Table are really better than I could have hoped for, especially given the quality of the competition.


Banksia Hall Table and Moebius Strip sculpture.

Happy with that!

Happy with that!

Banksia table #1

Hall table from Banksia

I finally finished this hall table.  The table has been an exercise in procrastination – but then it has been a fairly high risk project.  With just enough timber – maybe not quite enough – there was no room for error.  And the table incorporated a bunch of new techniques and joinery.  David Pye’s ‘workmanship of risk’ and Murphy’s Law both apply!

The table started with a slab of Banksia that I bought from the local slab shop (Australian Timber Slab Creations in Townsend).  A few days later, Dean and Pauline opened their shed to the local Woodies for a sale – and I found the matching consecutive slab.  Each end was a bit wild, but there was about 1.5 metres of clear straight timber in each.

Banksia is a very showy timber – it has a quiet grain pattern, but a glorious lacy figure similar to Silky Oak.  The colour is a deep golden brown, with pink tones.  The timber isn’t hard, but it is light.  I’d never worked with it before, but I just loved that figure and colour.

A live edged hall table started to take shape – a slender, light and elegant table that showed off the very flashy timber.

With all the uncertainty, I postponed a start several times – I even made another small table, just to check on the design.  The design required a good deal of hand work – legs splayed outwards just slightly, the legs had a curved taper, and through mortises in the apron.  I fussed over those tenons in the apron – I worried that they would distract from the clean lines, but in the end, I think they made a nice highlight.

By the time the table was finally sanded, assembled and ready for the finish, there was a good deal of physical and mental energy invested.  The process of applying the finish is just another opportunity to stuff it all up.

I tested four different finishes before deciding to go with my favourite Feast & Watsons Floor Seal Oil – a polyurethane and tung oil blend for hardwood floors.  It doesn’t affect the colour much, and it is fairly forgiving in application – I brushed it on, and wiped it off with a pad, taking care not to overwork the finish.  Four coats on the top, three on the undercarriage, then some Gilly Stephenson Carnuba wax.

Happy with that!




Finding the Rhythm…

“The man nowadays who is able to do a job at his own pace is one of the fortunate ones. Then to one he’ll either be a craftsman with a small workshop of his own or a man working at a hobby. A feeling of enjoyment so much more often accompanies work that is freed from outside control, when that control takes the shape of a nagging foreman or an impatient boss. The queer thing is that when these no longer have to be encountered, our own moods and temperaments want to take charge, as variable as the weather and just about as dependable. It is then that the craftsman has to assert himself and put the mood in its place, knowing very well that it will play high jinks with his work if he isn’t careful. Once he has really started, no matter how lazy or disinclined he may have felt, the odds are that the mood will recede, the work will catch hold of him and bring an enjoyment of its own.”

— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1947

This extract was published on the Lost Arts Press blog page.  The text is a delightful window into another world.  To most of us, England in 1947 is as incomprehensible as Xanadu or Timbuktu.  The phrasing, the choice of words, the tempo of the text are quaint, but the underlying sentiment is absolutely accurate.  For me, ‘shed time’ is another time zone entirely.  Outside, hours and days fly past, but inside, if I let it, time is suspended, absorbed in the process of making.

For more of this extract, and more of Lost Arts Press, click here.