Gearing up for the Art Jam 2018 this Saturday 10:00-3:00 at Riverfront Park. Since my knee surgery on January 29th, I have been recovering well and right on schedule, but my work was put on hold which makes me so anxious for this event! At the end of my holiday season 2017, someone asked me if I paint my heart decorations on and I realized that I need to explain my process in a little detail for customers to get the whole effect I am trying to accomplish. I LOVE WOOD! and I choose beautiful, hardwoods (some exotic) to highlight the different grains and natural colors. I put an inlay of (I'm discovering) almost anything to embellish the wood on one side and the other side I usually leave plain to highlight the wood.
I also may keep imperfections in the woods to add interest. I love the way the grains swirl around a knot. The 2 long, funky hearts on the left are the only 2 I will have like that this show. The 2 hearts on the right emulate the beauty and the differences in grains.
I begin by drawing the hearts on the different wood pieces. The thickness of each heart depends on what I have for pieces/strips and from the resawn blocks, but I do keep many fairly thick because the side can show the grain well and how it's directed from front to back.
Next, I cut out the hearts on my scroll saw.
After cutting the hearts out, I sand them to almost a final sanding stage, but not the "fine" sanding stage before polying. I never stain or paint the woods, I just apply many coats of polyurethane to bring out the natural color and beauty of each type of wood.
I then figure out what to inlay and draw the idea out on the Mother-of-Pearl (or sometimes I use another interesting wood) and hand-cut the pearl with a pearl cutting saw.
After cutting the pearl or wood pieces, I scribe them onto the heart and then rout out the cavity to accept the pearl.
The final "fine" sanding and many coats of polyurethane finish the process, with a hole for the leather string. All in all there is a huge amount of handwork that goes into these hearts to produce a smooth, cool, shimmering end result that makes these keepsakes.
The smaller raw hearts in this picture will be inlayed with an Abalone dot. I have a mix of wood types: Redheart, Cocobolo, Yellowwood, Mahogany, Bocote, Osage Orange, Spalted Tamarind, Myrtle. They are only $5 and I use this as a lure into my world of wood hearts. Of course, it's first come, first serve and I only have a few of each type. I'll also have some thin giveaway hearts, also in a limited supply.