Archive for the ‘woodworking’ Category


Yesterday we made a run over to the west side with the truck and utility trailer to get some birdseye maple from a friend who lives in Maple Valley (SE of Seattle).  Rick needs some of the wood for a job that he hopes to complete before Christmas, and we were running up against winter weather for getting over the passes.  In fact, there was a storm forecast to come in by last night.  We had smooth sailing – bare and dry over Blewett Pass and bare and wet over Snoqualmie.  We left at 8 am and got home around 7 pm.

Ken Richards is an incredible woodworker.  Way, way beyond almost anything I have ever seen.  Check out Ken Richards: The Art of Fine Furniture for a closer look!  He was working on a commission for a client that he estimated would take 13 months to complete.

Rick & Ken Richards with the piece underway

Rick & Ken Richards with the piece underway

When we reached Winthrop last night it was just starting to snow.  There were a couple of inches on the ground when we went to bed.  This morning we awoke to this:

First snowfall for winter 2015!

First snowfall for winter 2015!

Fortunately, in the last week or so Rick finished stacking and storing the extra cord of firewood we had delivered:


And just a few days ago he finished clearing out the center bay of the carport and backed the Airstream into its winter home:


So we are all ready for winter.  Bring it on and we hope for a good snow season and plenty of cross-country skiing!  It is supposed to rain later today and be clear at the end of the week, so I suspect this current snow won’t last, but it’s a start!

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This coming weekend, Rick and I are participating in the 2015 Artist’s Studio Tour presented by Confluence Gallery, Methow Arts Alliance and TwispWorks.  27 Artists. 18 Studios. 2 Days. SAT & SUN, SEPT 19 & 20, 9-5pm.  Profits will benefit non-profit artist programs here in the valley.  The idea is to buy a ticket at Confluence Gallery or TwispWorks, for which you will receive a wristband and map.

2015 Studio Tour Postcard JPEGRick has been consumed with a major cleanup of his shop, which was badly needed anyway.  I have been consumed with weaving and finishing towels down at the guild room, as well as cleaning up my workspace.  Even if we don’t get a lot of visitors, it is a good thing to have an excuse to reorganize and clean!

Last night I finished hemming the other 7 crackle weave towels from the first warp.  There are only 6 pictured here because two of them are quite similar.

set 1f

set 1g

set 1h

Last week I wound and tied on a second towel warp in a different colorway, and have been weaving away on those:

crackle set 2 underway

I took them off the loom yesterday afternoon, brought them home and washed and dried them.  They are stay-stitched and cut apart, but whether I get them hemmed or not for this weekend is kind of up in the air!

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We made a trip to the Skagit Valley and then to Seattle last weekend, to visit family and friends.  While on the way over the mountains, someone sent me a link to the Bellevue Arts Museum concerning an exhibit that is currently on display there.  I didn’t think we would have time to do this, but as it turned out we had about 3 hours Sunday afternoon, after the Seahawks game (Rick’s mom, who is 96, is a rabid Seahawks fan, so he went to watch the game with her while I met with some of my knitting friends).  It was well worth the visit!

The exhibit is called “In the Realm of Nature: Bob Stocksdale & Kay Sekimachi”.   It is a retrospective of the work of Bob Stocksdale, a master woodturner, and his wife Kay Sekimachi, a master weaver.  Bob died in 2003 but Kay is still a working artist.  The exhibit was first shown at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego (Sept 2014 – March 2105) and the only other venue is the Bellevue Arts Museum (July 3 – Oct 18, 2015).  There is a beautiful accompanying book with the same title, which of course we bought, but they allowed photography so here is a tiny flavor of what we saw:

P1000260 P1000263 P1000265 P1000266 P1000267 P1000268 P1000269 P1000270

As long as we were there, we decided to wander up to the third floor to see the other current exhibit.

Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture

September 4, 2015 – January 10, 2016

Counter-Couture celebrates the handmade fashion and style of the 1960s and 1970s. Often referred to as the hippie movement, the Counterculture of the era swept away the conformism of the previous decade and professed an alternative lifestyle whose effects still resonate today.

This turned out to be FABULOUS (well, maybe you had to be there in the 1970’s, which we were).  What a hoot!  Wait a minute, where are those embroidered workshirts that I stitched in the early to mid-70’s?  Trust me, they don’t hold a candle to most of the gems we saw at the museum, but I have never been able to part with them.  Looking in the closet…here they are!

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Done & Delivered

Yesterday we delivered one of the dining tables that Rick has been working on.  It is for our friends’ cabin up in Mazama.  The style is a “Dutch drawleaf” and the method came from a 1977 Fine Woodworking magazine.  He has done 3 tables before using this method, including our own Oregon walnut table.  This table was done with afromosia.   The leaves store under the ends of the main top, and when pulled out the center section drops into place between them.

Higgins table 2

Higgins table 4

I finished a sweater last week.  It is based on the pattern Lightweight Pullover from Knitbot (Hannah Fettig).  This is a plain stockinette stitch sweater worked all in one piece from the top down, starting with the cowl neck and then into raglan shaping.  I used 7 balls of Rowan DK Soft from my stash, which is no longer available.  It’s a brushed wool (no mohair).  I decided the plain stockinette would be a little boring so modified it with a twisted stitch pattern after doing some swatching.  It required a bit of tweaking of the stitch counts especially for the raglan shaping, but I am happy with the result!

Knitbot Pullover Feb 2105

Our weaving guild always has a gift exchange at the February meeting.  This is a chance to pass on some materials, books, tools, or whatever that you have in your stash.  Chocolate is always welcome, too!  We do it “white elephant” style, so a package can be taken away from someone else 2 times before it stays with the recipient.  Much hilarity ensues.



I also got the new rug warp on the loom and wove a black & white rug for someone who wanted an 8 ft runner (she bought another B&W rug of mine at the Confluence Gallery late last year).  I thought I had enough material left to pull it off, but I was wrong – it came out 16″ too short.  I even called down to the Woolen Mill Store in Portland to see if they had any more, which was a really long shot since I bought this particular blanket selvage several years ago.  Oh well, someone will want it some day.

R215 - black & white - 32" x 80"

R215 – black & white – 32″ x 80″

Off to spinning camp on Orcas Island tomorrow!

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We had an inquiry here about the construction of one of the tables Rick made for the various shows in the valley, and it made me realize I had never posted pictures of the two pieces he finished for our exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop.

Entry table with Western Bigleaf Maple live-edge top and shelf, and East Indian black walnut legs:



The legs on this piece were done a little differently than on the bench and small table shown in a previous post.  On those, the maple legs were formed in a V-shape using 2 pieces of wood at each end.  For this entry table, he used black walnut; the end pieces are single pieces of wood and are angled so as to make a parallelogram, with a shelf connecting them.

He also made a lovely little wine cabinet out of clear vertical grain (CVG) fir:


All photos were taken by Teri J. Pieper – Reflected Light Images.

Last week I finally got around to making a flyer for our exhibit to post around the valley.  If you are here visiting, come by the tasting room – it will be there until mid-September.

WW&W flyer

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Over the winter, Rick agreed to make pieces for 3 different shows in the valley this summer, on top of his regular workload.  He was thinking that the first one didn’t open until mid-June.  So it was a bit of a shock when we read the Methow Valley News Summer Guide about 3 weeks ago, and realized that the Garden Art Show at the Methow Valley Inn in Twisp opens this coming weekend – May 12th.

So he went to work on some ideas he has for working with some beautiful wood that has been in the stash for years.  It is Western Bigleaf Maple with lots of character and live edges.  He got it about 10 years ago from a woodworker friend in North Bend, WA, and the friend in turn had it for 17 years (we think).  So the wood was milled and dried for about 25 years, possibly longer. When the pieces were milled out, sanded and finished grain patterns emerged that amazed both of us.

The first piece is this bench, which will go into the Garden Art Show:

bench 1

bench 2

It has a natural curve on one edge, which makes for a very comfortable seat.  There is another matching board, not quite as curved, that will become a second bench when he gets time!

Next he went to work on a small table using two matched planks.  It seemed like a natural thing, since he wanted to retain the live edges and all the character in the wood as much as possible, to have the split down the middle – the live edges approach each other but do not quite meet.  The base is similar to the one for the bench, but the stringer runs at a bit of a diagonal because on each leg, one side is wider than the other, and the narrower side is on the left on one leg, and on the right on the other leg.

table 1

table 2

table 3

This table will be shown at the Inside Out show (“an exploration and celebration of designed interior and exterior space, and the objects and forms we use to define them”) which will run from August 3 – September 21 at Confluence Gallery & Art Center in Twisp.

Next up:  a hall table using this beautiful top, which he actually constructed by cutting 2 boards along a diagonal and then gluing together.  That diagonal looks like a fault line running the length of the top. The 2 pieces were cut off of the pieces used to make the benches –  there was a split (or crotch) and these pieces were separate branches.  When removed from the larger slabs they were about two inches wide at one end and nine inches wide at the other end, with a big knot.  Rick thought they would be waste but then realized he could join them end for end and came up with a nine foot long slab with great grain and shape.

hall table top

This is not the base for the hall table!  Just something to set it on for the picture.  He has an idea, but these things more or less develop as he goes along making them.

The hall table and one other yet-to-be determined piece will be for an exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop (they also have a tasting room at the north end of the Pike Place Market in Seattle).  They will be featuring both of our work there for 12 weeks, mid-June through mid-September.  I am calling it “Wine, Weaving & Woodwork”.  So we both have a lot to do to get ready for that!

So far, Rick has used only about a third of the lumber from this tree so there is still the potential for quite a few more pieces.

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Last weekend Rick finished and delivered a king-size bed for some clients in the valley.  He did a lot of cabinet work for them last year when they expanded and remodeled their second home on a ridge just north of and above Winthrop.  Since then they have had various furniture projects for him, which makes a nice break from cabinet work.

They had a chair that they purchased at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, or one of the outlets.  This is the detail that they wanted Rick to capture in the headboard and footboard of the bed – sort of a “branch” motif.

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

detail of bedroom chair from Pendleton showroom

He roughed out the shape then finished it with carving chisels.  The frame was dyed and stained maple, to match the chair as closely as possible.  The panels are blued pine from the valley (the blue is a naturally occurring color that happens sometimes in standing dead pine trees – he says it is a mildew that comes along when the wood is starting to rot).



There will be two bedside tables coming up soon, using the same wood combination.

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