Rob Gorrell - Folk Artist

Get your lanterns now. It will be dark soon.

chip carved

Starting on a new Tramp Art Sewing Box.

Rob GorrellComment

I have been wanting to make a new sewing box for a little while now and have finally started working up the design.  The last sewing box I made was this one.

This time I decided to do a box with a simple geometric design of triangles, then a lid similar to the green box.  To get started I drew a simple pattern for the box sides.  After numbering the parts I realized that I only needed two of the pieces, duh.

From here I cut out all the parts for the first layer. To make the pattern for the next layer up I drew lines about 1/4" in on the pattern and cut it down to the lines. Generally the top layer is made the same amount smaller along each edge as the thickness of the layer below.  Here are some more of the parts cut out.

One thing for sure. I need to get different lighting in the shop for photography.

The top is all cut out, notched and ready to paint. Each layer will be painted and finished before being applied to the lid.

Next I will finish notching the triangles for the sides and start painting pieces.  Hopefully I can post some progress in a few days.

 

Monkeys on a Weathervane? I call it "King of the Hill".

Folk Art, Painted Folk Art, Tramp Art, WhittlingRob GorrellComment

For some reason the other day I got to thinking about the old "Barrel full of Monkeys" that we played with as kids. Did you have a set? It was a pretty simple toy, but fun.  At the same time I was thinking about the series of folk art weather vanes that I am working on in the shop. So here is how my mind tends to work sometimes. I am thinking of a new weather vane design and about monkeys, so the obvious conclusion is that I need to make a weather vane full of monkeys. Right? So I did.

Cutting out some of the planning steps, I ended up with a pile of monkey shaped blanks of basswood. I was going to hand-carve each of the monkeys, but decided to save time and effort and power carve them into vague, monkey-influenced shapes.

It was at about this point that I started thinking about how the monkeys would be climbing over each other to get to the top of the weather vane. Would the top monkeys be pulling the others up, or kicking them off the heap? Were the monkeys working cooperatively to achieve the summit, or were they trying to jerk the top monkey off of the peak? I did not know yet.

After loosely carving the monkeys I set them aside and worked on the copper weather vane parts. For the arrow and tail I used some salvaged copper sheet that I had in the shop.  Once the copper was shaped and soldered into shape I worked on the layout of the monkeys. Thank goodness for zip ties and wires. Getting wooden monkeys to fit neatly on a weather vane turned out to be quite a challenge.

Skipping forward again, I finished carving and painting the monkeys and fastened them together using a variety of techniques to get them under control.  For the base I used part of a salvaged pine beam, an old spool of some sort and a few chip carved pieces of a shipping crate.  A few layers of paint, some antiquing of the copper and I called it done.

King of the hill weather vane

In the end I decided the monkey on top was a mean looking dude and is trying to dominate the other monkeys. Maybe I'm just in a mood, but that is the way I see it. What do you think? [polldaddy poll=6717789]

I have listed this creation in my Etsy Store if you are interested in purchasing King of the Hill for your collection.

Tramp Art Church update.

Folk Art, Painted Folk Art, Tinware, Tramp ArtRob GorrellComment

The proportions of this cupboard have been puzzling me for some time now. As it sits without any layers of applied wood, it looks kind of odd. I have convinced myself that the finished project that sits nebulously in my head will balance out as layers are added.  Along the way I have tried some different ideas on the sides and back. This shot shows a couple of ideas that I tried out for the space on the sides.  The problem arises when the door is opened.  Anything added to the sides cannot interfere with the full opening of the doors. In my vision of the project, the doors will be left open.  In the end, both of these ideas were scrapped.  The bottom section is going well and is pretty straight forward.  Here you can see that I have added the carved borders, notched the shelves and added the church door influenced center drawer front.

Tramp art church cupboard with bottom notches

The majority of my time was spent working out the top section.  I am working on combining punched and distressed metallic elements with the traditional tramp art carving.  After I get all the individual parts cut out and notched, I will begin painting the background and etch the metal elements before final assembly.  Here is where I left off:

My point and shoot digital camera had no idea what to do with this setup. I may set this aside for a while because I have had a couple new orders pop up.  Also, there is another piece started that I want to post that involves sea critters and buttons.

As a little preview....

I've started a new tramp art sewing box.

Painted Folk Art, Tramp ArtRob GorrellComment

Ages ago I had started to build a tramp art clock that would have flower cutouts incorporated. As it often happens, I changed the design mid-stream. So I ended up with these flower things cut out and laying in a box for a couple years. Since I sold the little green tramp art sewing box, I wanted to start a new one with a larger box.  Here is the nice fancy cigar box that I started with.

Cigar box for tramp art sewing box
Cigar box for tramp art sewing box

This piece will be have a lift out shelf inside for supplies and a pincushion incorporated into the top. I have not quite worked out how I want to do the top yet.  You can see a few of the flower cutouts to the side. I found this particular floral design in one of Bernard Mason's books from the 1930's. He lists this design as one used by native americans on birch bark basket decoration.

This next photo was taken after the first evenings work. I had the front design pretty well worked out.  I wanted to have the flowers sort of go behind the layers visually. When I am finished there will be another layer or two on the flowers. I am using more of the pine from previous projects for the decoration on this box. It carves really easy as long as I am careful not to over cut and split off the points.

Tramp art sewing box at the end of day one.

The next time I post on this project I should have the front and sides ready for whatever finish I decide to use.

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