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Farm Tour Report

 

20190921_081850Pretty much since the beginning of my wheel making journey my daughters and I make a yearly visit to Compass Rose Farm, located at Discovery Bay. The farm and fiber tour is the main reason, but we have made so many friends there that we would gladly go back anyway.  Here is a photo of the back of our truck with the new Art Deco Wheel and Screech safely cushioned with blankets for the trip. I think Screech looks pretty happy to be on an adventure.

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The farm is located between Discovery Bay and the Olympic mountains. Even this late in September the lush greens dominate. Apples are hanging from the trees, the gardens have lots of produce ready to harvest, and the geese are on patrol.

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The farmhouse sits on the high ground above the farm. Below it are the garden beds, greenhouses, tool sheds, an orchard, turkeys, ducks, those patrolling geese, and then the pastures with the Icelandic sheep.  I love to wander around and find exciting little surprises at every turn.

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One of my favorite spots is the fire pit by the old cottage.  A great place to sit a spell, tell a story, or just plain sit.  Later in the day this spot had many visitors, each there for their own reasons, but each one adding to the richness of the time.

Sunday was a bit rainy and quieter than Saturday but we all had a great time regardless of the weather. Today we are preparing for next weekend when Amy and I will be going to Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon.  A vastly larger event and great fun.  If you have never gone and have the chance, I highly recommend it. Screech, Amy and I, along with the good folks from Compass Rose Farm, will be there to welcome you!

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Art Deco Wheel 2.0

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The little Art Deco Wheel attracted a lot of interest and it finally sold to a nice couple from Texas.  Suzanne did request a few changes, which I was happy to do.  She is a cat person and wanted a cat somewhere on the wheel.  After some head scratching and thinking, I settled on a Deco style design of a cat and a ball of yarn, limited to black paint only.  The wheel is now home to a small black panther kitten who is lounging on the lower horizontal frame member. I tried to take a close-up but that little rascal is almost impossible to catch with my camera. It is cute and somewhat hidden, as requested.  I also replaced the large bobbin/flyer set with a narrower set. The new flyer has an Art Deco flare to it too.  I am glad to have made the additions. They took a very nice wheel and made it even better!  Thanks Suzanne and David!

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New Art Deco Wheel

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Actually this is only half new.  In 2015 I made the first Foothills model. It was a Christmas gift for my daughter Amy but she has her faithful old raven wheel and very limited time to spin. So this Foothills has lived a very quiet life. The latest wheels I’ve made have had Amy thinking again. She has some great ideas for a new art wheel. And we have OFFF coming up soon with the need for something for show and tell. So, the first Foothills I ever made has been completely stripped down and re-built into a sassy happy little Art Deco wheel.

20190910_124802The wheel is built of light toned figured maple and cherry.  as I considered options for an art upgrade, I eventually ruled out animals and paintings and decided to stick with the clean graceful lines of the machine itself. Art Deco seemed the perfect direction to take it.  My wife Maxine got into the spirit of the project and offered to let me choose a few of her vintage buttons to add spice to the project. Between the treadles you can see one of her buttons. It really adds a focal point.

20190910_124635This is not the best photo but on the handle is another of Maxine’s treasures. In fact it really set the standard for the rest of the wheel. I had stashed away some square faceted black glass pieces years ago and I used one for the center of each hub and also for the speed changing knob between the big wheels.

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Here is one more photo to show the other side. The wheel needs a few more coats of varnish and some new bobbins but it is just about ready to test. It is for sale if anyone is interested in a fun smaller Olympic wheel.  The price is $1950.  You can call me at 360 488 7910 or email me at olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com.

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Meet Screech

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The next three spinners on my work list have either not responded or requested a delay. So rather than trying to juggle more spinners I decided to take some components already made and finish this wheel. I have fallen in love with little owls! As research for this wheel I watched a number of videos featuring owls that live with human companions. They are so doggone cute and sweet! Months ago I did the same kind of research regarding donkeys. They are cute and sweet too! It’s a good thing I have family members watching over my impulses or we would have a few more pets. This little owl is actually sculpted life size and set the tone for the rest of the wheel. I gave him a sort of  an inquisitive posture as if hearing or seeing something pretty interesting. I named him (or her) Screech because it is a Screech owl.

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The painting on this side represents a local scene where one just might be lucky enough to spot a little owl. Moonlight nights are so special and the deep blues go handsomely with the tones of the wood. The owl is perched in a madrona tree in this painting and my little Screech is perched on a nice piece of madrona wood as well.  I have used other pieces of this wood on the treadles, footman rods, and a few other places too.

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The scene for this painting is along the walk Maxine and I often take with our dog. Occasionally we spot an owl  and this place seemed just the right  background for another owl painting. Deep woods and lots of green are two of the most difficult things to paint convincingly. I did my best to achieve an accurate impression of the place. One of the ways I use to get a fresh perspective of a painting is to look at it in a mirror. When I applied this test to this painting, it seemed to come alive! I had a sense that somewhere burrowing through all that brush was a squirrel or two. Perhaps a raven in a tree. Or perhaps a bunch of raucous crows have harrassed this little fellow out of his cozy napping place. He appears a bit grumpy blinking in the sun!

20190906_090527Sadly, my family won’t allow me to keep owls so I must find a good home for Screech.This wheel is not quite finished so there is a bit of a window for minor changes or additions if the new owner wishes. If you are interested in purchasing this wheel, please email me at olympic.wheelmaker@gmail.com or call me at (360) 488-7910. Thanks for looking!

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Little Woodsy Brother

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This new wheel is our smaller model, the Foothills. It was commissioned by a spinner who has two other Olympics. Perhaps you might remember the Steampunk wheel and the Peacock wheel. This little guy is their new stablemate. Even though it is smaller, I think it will hold its own with those two.

The main frame is cherry blended with natural forms of madrona. The big wheels and assorted accents are myrtle. The spinner requested that I not use paint on the wheel.  That is like asking a pianist to play with only one hand!  I was also asked to add some insects for interest. After a lot of head scratching, I remembered my daughter Rebekah had produced a number of beautiful little jewelry pieces using some of my scrap wood and her fancy wood burning equipment. So the beetles on the treadles and on a couple of knobs are fashioned using this technique.

20190824_092023I inset myrtle pieces into the treadles as a home for my beetles.  Also, above the bobbin you can see a tiger eye stone added just for fun.

20190824_092050Instead of my usual round hub in the middle of the big wheel, I crafted a stylized butterfly. The wings have a copper shimmery varnish over them and instead of the usual wood screw covers I used some faceted dark mother of pearl pieces. I felt they would add a bit of delicacy to the rustic wheel. Now I hand it over to Amy for testing and pretty soon it is off to meet its new pals.  Thanks for looking!

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New Wheel is Finished!

2019-07-29 15.49.38This wheel is meant to appeal to a class of people who love a certain series of books. You know who you are. If you are not among this group, I hope you will enjoy seeing this wheel anyway.  It was fun to build and challenging to incorporate so many unique elements into the design.

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This side is even wilder than the other.  Somebody is just a little crazy and it might be me, or maybe the guy who wrote the books.  One way or the other this wheel is heading out soon to its new home in Minnesota.  I will miss it!

 

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New Wheel Taking Shape

20190628_141414Renae, my new wheel client, is a fan of a book series  involving a place called Discworld.  Like with so many other wheel requests, I had not heard of DiscWorld. She sent me a book with many illustrations and I have used it as a guide as I respectfully try to make a wheel using this theme but avoiding any potential copyright infringement.  The concept involves a flat world  being carried on the back of four elephants who in turn are standing on a great cosmic sea turtle.  In this first photo you can see the head of a turtle emerging from the handle of the wheel.  On the front foot of the wheel is the beginning of a piece of luggage that will have a bunch of human feet surrounding the botttom.  Don’t ask me why – I am only a simple craftsman.

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Between the two treadles is the home of a small and rather pathetic little dragon named Errol.  I happened upon a nice copper fireplace match holder and modified it to make the dragon’s lair.  I felt it went along with the theme of the books. There are paintings being planned for the big wheels and other art additions too. Stay tuned!