Sunday, October 2, 2016

Johann International goes to the Fair

Next weekend I will again be exhibiting at the Waterford Craft Fair, in Waterford Virginia. This is a quaint little town tucked in a valley near the Potomac River which time has mostly forgotten and, by American standards, is rather "old". I like doing this show because the exhibitors all dress in period, (or period inspired) clothing and demonstrate their crafts to the visitors. This gives me the excuse to dress up without people thinking I am a 'freak' (actually I am, but no one needs to know) and provides an opportunity for me to give others a glimpse of what goes into actually making something by hand, instead of with machinery.

Carved from antique, re-claimed timber, this is my interpretation of a
16th century "strap-work" box. Inspiration for the front dovetail and rebated
back joinery comes from a mid 16th century box in the V&A

Last year, a storm washed out the event, so I was not able to participate, thus this will be my third year of attendance. (the show has been running for 74 years) Because of the work I have been doing on my moulding project, I have had no time to make anything new for the show this year, but since I had no show last year, and was 'ready' then, I will just consider time to have stood still for a year, (it feels like it has anyway) and whatever was ready last year should still be ready this year.

Many pieces which I will be exhibiting have been seen on this blog before; here is a collection of things that have not been featured yet. Most of them were made just before the blog got started and a couple of them were made quite some time ago.I thought this might be a good excuse to showcase all of them, since I probably never would otherwise. All of these pieces have been made entirely by hand without the aide of machinery, (except the sawmill that cut it, the lorry that carried it, and... OK, all the work I did was by hand)

A close up showing the strap-work detail and the hand forged iron nails which
I embellished with a file.
Yours truly, in my shop, getting ready for a show

This is a delightful little form, or boarded stool, in the late medieval style

A baroque inspired revolving top table, in cherry

An 18th century "barrel back" corner
cabinet. I formed the hinges with a file

This and the following table were commissions, but the client is kind enough
to loan them to me for the show.

Inspired by 18th century style; made of American walnut
A hanging plate rack in the 18th century French
Provincial style, made of cherry
I love boxes, and love making them. In fact, if I could get enough clients to support me in such an endeavor, I could be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my life making boxes and chests. Below are a few that I have to offer.

Oak with cherry edge-banding and an inlay of
holly and walnut. This is a traditional English
style "candle box" of 18th century form

I used a "rat-tailed" saw to cut out the core from a solid block for this box

One of my best boxes, this was cut and carved from a block of extremely
dense and hard American walnut. This wood took on a lovely chocolate
colour and a fine polish; it is not stained.  I also made the escutcheon, the
hinges are traditional 'snipe' hinges.

No; the large worm hole did not "bother" me in the least

Most people think that black locust is a nasty wood; it is a bit of a challenge
to work by hand, but I find the colour it takes on to be worth the trouble; it
quickly mellows to a rich amber.

This was another fun project that I spent way too much time on, but
enjoyed every minute of.
As I said, I spent way too much time on it!

Most of what I have to exhibit has been made in the past couple of years, but there are a couple exception, including this box. It used to be for sale; in fact I made it with the hopes of selling it at a show I did... in 1998! For some reason, no one ever seemed to be interested in buying it, now I have had it so long, that I do not wish to sell it any longer, but do still like to exhibit it.

The design for this echoes a much larger early 16th century chest in the V&A

The above picture was taken in 1998, not long after I had exhibited it in my first show. This was the third carving project I had ever attempted, and by far, the most ambitious at the time.  Not long before making it, I made an accidental discovery of a cleaning chemical which nicely darkened mahogany to a rich deep red-ish colour. I treated this box with that chemical...

The box as it looks now
The deep red colour did not last, however, and now it has mellowed out and turned much lighter. It actually has a colour which looks much older than its 19 years of age, so I am not actually disappointed with the experiment. 

Yours truly again, at a show last year, demonstrating my work

Wish me a good show for this year...

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