Rob Gorrell - Folk Artist

Get your lanterns now. It will be dark soon.

carved fish

And now, Fish on a Stick.

Painted Folk ArtRob Gorrell1 Comment

Maybe it is a throw back to the days when I was more production oriented than I am now, but usually when I start making something I cut out parts for several items at once.  Along with the thin blanks that I used for Dork Fish and Punk Fish, I cut a 3 inch thick blank from some soft pine that I have salvaged. It was a scrap from a log home construction site.  At first I was planning on making a weather vane, complete with compass points. But when I got to this point I decided I liked the idea of it being on a simple cedar log stand.  As it neared completion my wife kept calling it the "fish on a stick", like Jeff Dunham's "jalapeno on a stick".  After a while the name Fish Stick just kind of stuck.

I am a beginning carver, so this is a bit primitive. But I am happy with the outcome. He is pretty beat up, with beer cap eyes and tin can fins. I added several coats of acrylic paint that I distressed to show colors through the layers.  The heat gut got a work out on this project.  If you are using a heat gun be very careful. There is a fine line between blistered paint and wood project smoking.

I think this is the end of the fish for a little while. I have some other tramp art projects in progress and am trying to get my newly aquired antique blacksmith forges repaired and ready to use for the summer.

This project  is for sale in my Etsy Store.

>When you've made a Dork Fish, Punk Fish must follow.

Painted Folk ArtRob GorrellComment

>Usually when I get on a kick to make something I will cut out parts for a few of the item. Part of the reason I do this is my more production oriented past with rustic furniture, and partly because I figure at some point I will screw up part of the job and have to start over.  Every now and then things go well and I end up with sort of a series of variations on a theme. In this case it is a fish series I guess. When I was making Dork Fish I kept thinking of this box of old nails used to fasten wooden plaster lath that I had been hoarding for years.  The idea of using the nails to make wild hair on something kept rolling around in my head. Then, while looking through some old guide books for England I saw photos from the punk period and, as they say over the pond, "Bob's your uncle", Punk Fish.

So after some more folk art style carving, paint distressing, and so on, here is Punk Fish:

I have to admit that we did not see anything quite like this in London, but it's a big city, we could have missed it. Oh, and if you are planning a trip to the UK, check the Iceland Volcano situation....
Here is a close up of our man Punk Fish:
This item is in my Etsy store .

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>May I present, Dork Fish.

Painted Folk ArtRob GorrellComment


 I finally finished the Dork Fish and took some decent photos.  In a previous post I described some of the construction of this project. It is made from all salvaged and reused items.  The fish is carved from salvaged poplar, the fins are parts of tin cans and the bobbers and lures are found.  The background is made from re-worked beer caps,  which I hate to admit, we made available ourselves.

Is calling a fish a dork politically incorrect? He doesn't seem to mind.  He has his pocket protector, pencils, glasses and is ready to go (sorry).

Here you can see some detail of how I put the project together.  The total dimensions are about 17 x 31 inches.

Dork fish is for sale in my Etsy Store .

>The Dork Fish is almost finished.

Painted Folk ArtRob GorrellComment

>After many delays the Dork Fish sign is almost complete.  I have spent a few evenings tinkering with the painted finish and think I am getting close to being satisfied with it.  Using acrylic paints, a heat gun, the kitchen freezer, and various scrapers, I have built up layers of distressed color that I was hoping would sort of look like plaid pants on a fish........not quite there yet.

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>The Dork Fish - continued

Painted Folk ArtRob GorrellComment

>I cannot draw. That is a sad fact, but I can't. There is a serious disconnect between brain and pencil going on when I try. So I pulled out Folk Art Weather Vanes for a fish pattern and adapted it to my dork fish. From here I made a rustic wood frame and background from some poplar that was given to me. I also cut out the fish shape and roughly carved the blank into a fish body of sorts. The fins will be added later.

The new thing I tried for this was to flatten beer caps with a hammer and burn the finish off the caps. They came out in various stages of burned. Next I nailed the caps to the background to try to simulate water and waves. It looks pretty cool to me at this point. I will have to decide later on if I want to add any paint.

So here is where the project is right now:

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