Nothing like a deadline to focus your efforts …

It’s all too easy to putter around the shop, trying this and testing that, and generally wasting a lot of time.  Sign up for a show, however, and the approaching deadline motivates you to get things done.

On Saturday, June 13th from 11 am to 6 pm, we’re going to be at the Toronto Art Crawl in Liberty Village.  I’m pretty impressed with the organizers who are promoting the event and have scored a major sponsor with Varekai, Cirque du Soleil.

The issue is that I have sold out a few key products, and I have had a few more “cooking” in the kiln, so it’s suddenly time to get cracking!

A while back I scored a few barrels and a pile of interesting wood and had all sorts of ideas dancing around my head.  Now I need to get the tools out, fire up the old creativity, and start making stuff.

The first batch of wood has exited the kiln and is dry enough to work. A few pieces “exploded” in the kiln – heavily twisted wood is the most visually interesting, but it also has a bad habit of cracking when drying because of the tension in the wood fibres.  I managed to salvage most of it and I am busy making one-of-a-kind candles.

One of the barrels had a surprise inside (no, not wine!). The inside surface of the barrel, rather than the smooth curved surface you normally see, was heavily grooved.  I found out this was an experiment by the winemaker who wanted a barrel with an “extra heavy toast” for a robust red wine he was working on.  “Toast” is the charring  on the inside of the barrel created when the cooper “fires” the barrel and turns the inside surface from nice clear oak into oak charcoal.  This charcoal adds extra character to the wine aging inside the barrel.

The theory was that if you rout a series of grooves on the inside surface of the barrel before firing it, you get more surface area for the wine to meet.  In theory this should should magnify the effect, but I learned from the winemaker that it didn’t really work and they will no longer use that type of barrel.

Interesting lesson, but it means that I have a few dozen staves that I cannot easily work into the products that I usually make.  I don’t really mind because I have some ideas for really unique products that will be enhanced by these unusual barrel staves.

All I have to do is get back into the shop and get to work.

We will also be at the Entertainment District Art Crawls on Friday, July 10th and Friday, August 14th at David Pecaut Square.

Damn. I better get to work …


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