Here are some shots of the finished Backgammon Table I worked on for Dry-Kye Rustic Furniture of Oakland, Maine. For more info make sure you check out my previous post detailing my part in the making of this piece.
Back in the Fall I was asked to do another woodburning on a tabletop for Dry Kye Rustic Furniture out of Oakland, Maine. This was the most unique piece we’ve done together and I had a blast working on it.
This table was commissioned by a professional outdoorsman who wanted a backgammon table for his new house in Maine. The craziest part was that he had the legs from an elk that he had shot mounted to be used for the table legs. My Dad is a bit of an outdoorsman who has made a few gun racks with deer hooves from his own deer so I thought this was a project I could really get into.
Given the unique legs on this piece I didn’t think it would be right to simply make a backgammon board with the traditional solid black and white triangles. This needed something extra. Colleen had the idea to make the lighter triangles look like feathers so I thought if the black triangles were made to look like fish scales it would bring land sea and air together by having the backgammon board compliment the elk legs.
Once I laid the board out in pencil I had to burn every line by hand without the use of a guide, I tried to use a metal ruler but just couldn’t make that work. I made a semi- circle stamp for my burner that would do consistent sized scales to ease the pain of outlining hundreds by hand. Each dark triangle was comprised of about 45 full sized scales, so that still meant that there were about 540 individual scales that I needed to shade.
I figured that to do 1 inch of one side of a feather it took me an average of 35 strokes of my wood burner. With there being 12 light triangles that measured 7 inches long, and with each feather having 2 sides, that tallied up to at least 490 lines per feather. There were 12 feathers so it took approximately 5,880 lines to complete them all.
Here’s some detail shots of prints Colleen and I had made up of my recent work. To see the actual patterns and for more detailed descriptions check out the individual listings at Dirigo Craft & Supply Co.
I’ve always been drawn to MC Escher’s tessellations and wanted to try my hand at making some of my own. I started with something I had a strong personal connection to, the Bald Eagle and Brook Trout. This pattern is very similar to the birds and fish in Escher’s Sky and Water I woodcut. By taking some of the anatomical relationships from one of his pieces, and figuring out some of my own, I found an approachable way for me to teach myself how these tessellations work.
These are the first five pieces in a few series’ I’m currently working on. I have several more patterns in the works including some more from the Predator & Prey series, more cryptids like the Sasquatch for a Monsters & MYTHsteries series, as well as more from the Birds of Every Feather series like the Spring piece featured in my Earth Day post.
Photographs by Colleen Caron.
This piece, tentatively titled Spring, is a culmination of everything I went through this winter, and everything I have learned about and the cycle of life during my 25th year on this planet. In the span of four months I lost both of my grandparents on my Mother’s side, my beloved cat Tony, and my first but not last chance to be an uncle. I usually don’t mind Maine winters but this one couldn’t have been over soon enough. I was ready for spring and for a couple weeks I drew these birds waiting for it to get here.
Springs arrival and its warm embrace were quickly tainted when I was working on finishing up the coloring process of this piece. This is what I was doing during the week of hell that took over Boston with the bombing and the violence that followed. Being the proud Mainer that I am and a lifelong fan of Boston sports and the city as a whole, the events of that week we haunting. I feared for my friends down there living in and around the city and I still don’t understand why these things have to happen.
The basis of Spring was the relationship between flora and fauna, and the interweaving elements of the natural word that make everything work. The themes of unity and diversity, and the sense of togetherness that I wanted to depict were initially based around views I took from my grandparents. Mainly how they would accept everyone for who they were, and the understanding they had that its other people’s differences that teach us about who we are as individuals, but also who we are as people. This wasn’t a lesson taught just for self-discovery but to help us discover the abundance of diverse beauty in all aspects of life, and in all people.
It’s Earth Day, and it’s the one week anniversary of the Patriots Day bombings. There is still a little work to be done on this but it seems like a fitting day to share it. We need togetherness if we want to go anywhere as a species, not just individuals, societies, races or religions. Spring is about how diverse elements come together to create something better for the greater good, it’s a symbol of the harmony that exists in the natural world.
Spring is dedicated to all those loved ones I lost this winter, and to everyone who was affected by the events that transpired in west Texas and Massachusetts this past week. Happy spring, happy Earth Day, just be happy.
This is actually an older burning I did back in 2011 but I have been moving around so much I have had a hard time keeping track of everything. This ended up being one of those things and just like the subject matter, this piece was seemingy in hiding for a while.
I was finishing up the buffalo skull burning which had an image inside an image and the idea for this piece just came to me. Being in the mindset of working with multilevel imagery like that and watching MonsterQuest at the time this was bound to happen. It was real late at night, or early in the morning I should say, and I felt like I couldn’t go to bed until I got this piece out of my system so I just stayed up and finished it.
It is fitting how it came to me so late because my fascination with Bigfoot started when I was younger and would stay up late watching TV specials about the subject whenever they were on. Ever since I’ve been fascinated with myths, legends, cryptids and all kinds of undiscovered phenomenons around the world. Bigfoot really opened the door to my exploring Maine’s unique myths like the Shagimaw and becoming fascinated with other “monsters” like the Kraken.
I used the most iconic frame of “Patty” from the famous Paterson-Gimlin film, and framed her within a typical Bigfoot footprint. Since finishing this piece I have become even more interested in the subject and I am thinking I will revisit this composition and do a more realistic, and less stylized rendition of it in the future.
For this commission the client wanted a burning on driftwood with an anchor, a Bald Eagle, and the American flag. This was a gift for someone from Cape Cod and to bring a couple of those requested elements together with the recipients hometown, the lower arm of the anchor was made to look like Cape Cod. This made it appear as if that arm was corroded, as if it had been planted in one place for a long time and then suddenly removed by the eagle. This was actually very appropriate considering the person this was for is attending school in another state. A unique feature of this piece was that I used a pre-existing hole from a nail as the hole of the anchor’s ring where the chain would be attached.
Life’s kind of been on fast forward for a few months. Since my last update in October, I lost my Grandfather on November 13th, my Grandmother on December 8th, and my cat Tony a month later on January 8th. On January 9th the tides finally turned with news of an addition to the family. I believe this is the beginning of a turn-around, and there is also a lot more to look forward to this year. I have a lot of recently completed pieces to share and some exciting projects in the works.
My Grandparents Bernard and Vivian have always and will forever be two of my biggest influences, both in how I carry myself and how I celebrate Maine and its people in my work. Bernard Bean or “Bunny” as we called him was a larger than life figure. His ability to retell a story from any period of his life and recall every aspect of every character involved was unparalleled, and he had a lot of stories to tell. In his life he worked as a Maine guide with his father, and was a part of some of the last log drives in Maine. He also worked as an electrical superintendent and retired as the manager of construction for the Wade and Searway company. After high school he attended the Navy’s Airman School in Memphis, Tenn., and graduated as an aircraft engine mechanic. He served proudly on the aircraft carrier USS Cabot for two years and 11 months, serving during the Korean War until his discharge on Jan. 14, 1952.
That year he returned to civilian life and married a woman who had been infatuated with him since she was just 11 years old, my Grandmother Vivian. A top student, she completed only one year of high school because of her mother’s passing. Her mother’s last request was that Vivian keep her six siblings together and help her father raise them. At the young age of 15 she took to this task and also worked the night shift at Kennebec Veneer Mill, while caring for the family during the day. She overcame five different types of cancer throughout her life and through it all kept a positive outlook. In fact I can’t recall ever hearing her complain about a thing. Always a symbol of strength and perseverance her favorite song said a lot about her character and the way she carried herself, “Que Sera, Sera” (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). I am incredibly lucky to have known these two beautiful people, and I owe them endless thanks.
Tony, you know I’m gonna miss you little guy. You big orange beauty, have fun in kitty heaven.