today in the garden

peonies, peonies, peonies, broom and buttercups


Red as Blood and White as Bone

I've created this narrative book object for Theodora Goss (one of my current favorite writers) 
for her story - "Red as Blood and White as Bone" (click to read). I'll be presenting it to her hopefully at the Nebula Conference this weekend.

The box, measuring about 5.5" to a side, is constructed of pine and whitewashed. Within the box is a lining of faux black wolf fur and it contains an ikon made from brass, wolf teeth, bone and glass, a necklace of ruby colored glass and a small leather-bound book of the story with leather cord binding.

I hope she likes it. I tried to make it small enough for her to take home with her.


The Lady Astronaut of Mars

This is a new artist book based on the story 'The Lady Astronaut of Mars' by Mary Robinette Kowal (read it here - https://www.tor.com/2013/09/11/the-lady-astronaut-of-mars/).

I've done book versions of Mary's stories before. This one is a surprise for her and will be presented at the 2018 Nebula Awards.

The box is made of maple and cedar (I like how the cedar striping makes on think of the landscape of Mars). It measures 4" x 8.5" x 1.5". The NASA logo on top is metal (actually a lapel pin) as is the clasp and hinges. Inside are 27 antique IBM punchcards from the 1950s that had the text of the story printed on them. I used a 1950s period IBM font for the text and I like the ways the punchcard holes interact with it.

I hope Mary will be pleased with it. I do like her stories. They provide a vivid challenge to a handmade book artist.

click to embiggen


today in the garden

japanese tree peony, viburnum, lilac and bridal veil


Constellation Table 2

Second in my series of 'Constellation' tables - constructed of poplar, birch and cherry - 
and measures 11" x 20" x 30"h.

Grain patterns are very important in this piece. The position of the darker grain on the top is related to the knot in the birch on the apron. The cherry legs have a large tonal difference in their grain and I wanted the effect to be almost one of clouds of a lighter color. 

Grain pattern on the apron also wraps all 4 sides.

The darker pattern on the top and the eye remind me of nebulas and quasars and suit the name of the piece well.


today's bouquet

Rose of Sharon


The Romance of the Telescope

My latest narrative object piece takes its title from a song
by Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark. 

The main object is a silverleafed stone which sits
balanced on a cherry pedestal under a glass dome.

tRofT is about the romance and wonder of the celestial sphere
and of the objects endlessly orbiting within space.

The piece also has something tangental to do with the OMD song lyrics

See these arms that were broken, how they held you so.
Never once did they fail you, they won't let you go.

We're just waiting looking skyward as the days come down.
Someone promised there'd be answers, if we stayed around.

Over decades, now this romance has sustained us all.
Never questioned, only giving what it made us for.

Documentation of one of the studies for the piece can be found here.


today in the garden

within two years my elderberry bush has grown from about 4" high to over 7 feet. today was the first harvest of elderberries i have had. almost like clusters of tiny grapes, these two cups took about an hour to pluck off the branches. I have simmered them with sugar and decanted to bottles of brandy for elderberry cordial. they will now sit for a month in the cupboard to work their magic.

one more fruit to add to the list of all i grow here in the back yard.

today's bouquet

black eyed susans and roses


all my sorrows were conceived of in a single night

Entitled - "All My Sorrows Were Conceived of in a Single Night" - 
this is my newest narrative object to take a fairy tale as its generator.

The original fairy tale "The Myrtle Tree" by Giambattista Basile is markedly different from the usual Grimm's fairy tales one encounters. 

The piece measures 4" x 3.5" x 4" and is comprised of cherry, brass hardware, moss, myrtle leaves, 
a brass key, a brass bell, marble and copper leafing.


today's bouquet

roses, rue and hydrangea 


half table

Constructed of oak with a walnut accent stripe and lacewood, 
this three legged table measures 14" x 24.5" x 28" high. 
Legs are canted 5 degrees.


constellation table

My newest table measures 11" x 22" x 32" high. The top is pine, apron is poplar and legs are makore, a nicely chocolate colored wood with a stunning ribbon effect. The apron has a small marquetry line of makore in it and the grain wraps all four sides.


today in the garden

peonies, buttercup, various kinds of roses, chive blossoms, allium, tri colored willow branches, rue

and yesterday - peony season continues


The Mouth of Celestia

I finally finished the two copy edition of this handmade book today titled:
"The Mouth of Celestia: The Measure of Loss" 

Part of my measurement series of art pieces.

Last year I had gathered weather aged leaves from the cemetery I like to walk in. I was fascinated by how the aging had broken down the cells of the leaves so that they almost appeared to be written on by an unknown hand. An encyclopdia of the universe unreadable/unrecitable.

I wrote the accompanying poem late last year and had the photos printed up yesterday.

7.5" x 11", canson paper, 24 pages with photo prints.

I may yet build boxes for the books to go in and with a small storage space for some of the actual leaves.



This table was done mostly to keep myself busy. 
Certain proportions are based on the golden mean.

I wanted to do a table with more geometric forms and try my hand at a cabinet with sliding doors for the first time. The top is all one piece and cut with miters to provide several cascades with continuous grain. The final cascade provides a small shelf for storage or, if placed against a wall a nook for books.

The cabinet doors were cut from a single sheet of red oak plywood for a dynamic and matching grain pattern.

The bottom of the legs are slightly chamfered for visual lightness.

Materials include:

maple plywood and red oak plywood with peruvian walnut details for the cabinet
white oak for the top
cherry for the legs

It is 31" high, 36" long and 11" wide.


a box to keep my marbles in

this art piece operates on a literal and metaphorical level.

made out of spalted maple recycled from a game board.


today in the garden

privet and dogwood


today in the garden

this, that and all of it


flight 1

I've had this piece in various stages now for several years (and to be honest it is still missing black washers where each of the glass vials joins the wooden sphere to hide the hole edges) but I've brought it to enough completion to show it as finished for now. 

Someone who has an opinion I value thinks it should be hung and it might be eventually. For now it is enough to title it Flight 1 and leave it open as to whether it will be a series of pieces eventually.

It is constructed from a poplar wood sphere, 50 glass vials filled with cuttings from parrot feathers, and wire for the legs and is about 16" in diameter.

Much thanks to Creative Reuse in Pittsburgh for getting in such interesting laboratory glass bits and bobs for me to work with. You can't quite see in the photos but there is a thin gold line painted one the neck of each vial.