Sunday, May 25, 2008

Harrisburg Artsfest

The Harrisburg Artsfest is a 3 day-long juried craftshow during Memorial Day weekend and along the Susquehanna Riverfront. The artwork includes pottery, painting, photography, metalwork, jewelry, fabric arts, leather, stonework, knives, brooms, and of course, woodworking.

I spoke with 3 of the woodworkers who were, as I have found most woodworkers to be, friendly people who generously share their knowledge with you.

June Burns, along with her husband, Tony, own Peachie Originals. They collect and use antique scroll saws to create puzzles for children. They also have written 3 books showcasing some of their original designs and how to make them. June was demonstrating with an 1860s treadle scroll saw which is powered by one foot that pumps a pedal. She switched feet while we were talking, because her one foot had run out of gas. During the show, June cut out little shapes to give away and in 3 seconds, she had scrolled a shamrock for me.

Steve Strouse makes Shaker oval boxes in various hardwoods including cherry, walnut, maple, elm, and lacewood, among others. He uses only locally-salvaged wood that comes from storm damaged trees, tree care services, and logs that would otherwise end up in a landfill, including one 143 year old Sugar Maple that had been removed from the county courthouse. On his website, Steve provides photos of his work, lumber preparation, workshop, and young daughter who helps him sand the inside of his oval boxes.

Maker of treenware, Bob DeWitt, of DeWitt's Spoons & Bowls, showed me how he uses a jig clamped in a vise to secure rough-shaped spoons while he uses a drawknife for final shaping. A board with a carved, shallow recess hangs on his chest and effectively wedges the spoon between the jig and himself. Bob uses gouges, a bent knife, and drawknives to shape his bowls and spoons, and upon completion, soaks the projects in water for days in order to raise the grain, sands them with 600 grit sandpaper, and applies mineral oil and beeswax. Finishing his pieces this way creates a burnished-type surface on which water pools rather than soaks into the wood.

Every year, the Artsfest is an impressive gathering of talented people whose attention to detail and love of their craft is evident in their work.

So, what did I buy at the show?
Hey, what's a woodworker without a little bling?

Peachie Originals: (716) 679-4766

Strouse Woodworking: (814) 353-1901

DeWitt's Spoons & Bowls: (814) 842-6042


Mark said...

Hi Guys
Great looking show Kari, nice little piece of bling you came out with. Although I can see a new chisel or something would be more my style.

The spoons look great, I had been thinking of doing a few carved spoons as I have a lot of small chucks of timber left over from my slab furniture. Then I saw your new work bench and spoons - level of interest went up and now after your photos of the Artfest and more spoons, forks etc - Now in spoon overload.

Kari Hultman said...

I know what you mean, Mark. I love treenware, too. Bob left the facets created by the drawknife on the backs of his spoons, which was a nice, rustic touch. I was particularly interested in his jig that he uses to support the spoons as he works. He works mainly with cherry, which of course warms to a beautiful rich, patina over time. He said he lays his pieces outside for a while to give them a head start on darkening.

Fireblossom said...

Wow, how does a woodworker keep her nails so nice?

I am looking at the pictures of things you have created, on the right side of your blog, and I am impressed. Wow! I can't do woodwork (that sound you hear is probably my gf falling out of her chair laughing) but I do love the smells of wood and varnish and all of that. Plus, I always love it when a woman excels at something traditionally masculine.

Sings: anything they can do, we can do betterrrrrrr...



Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Fireblossom! I joke that my nails are zinc-coated....

Non-woodworking friends who visit my shop also say how much they love the smell of wood. You can't beat the scent of freshly-cut pine.

Regarding women doing traditionally masculine activities, like woodworking: the only thing that holds women back is a lack of confidence. I wish someone would bottle the stuff!

Mark said...

Thats a very sexist and politicly incorrect thing to say Blossom, but that's ok, I know I can sow and cook better than a lot of the women I know.

Kari does have great nails for a woodie especialy sporting the bling. Still think you would look better with a new chisel in your hand!

Mark said...

Look at how easily I was led of topic, hopeless. Yes Kari, his carving jig is well set up to give him good control, be able to see what you are doing and get plenty of power into your tools.
One of our big wood shows is on in couple of weeks, Sydney wood show so I will be looking out for anything I can use to carve spoons etc.

Kari Hultman said...

Mark, I can say without ever having met you that you most definitely cook better than I do. ; )

Shazza said...

I like the spoons and stuff! that a little cut I see on your pinky?


Sounds like a really cool show VC - next year...I'm coming with you two!

Kari Hultman said...

Shazza, you are welcome to join us!

Vic Hubbard said...

Boy VC, any chance to show off those model hands:) I'm with Mark, we need a glam shot of those hands working a chisel! I'll take an 8x10 glossy, signed please.

Kari Hultman said...

Hmmm, it has been a while since I last chisel-shopped. Great idea!

Signed autographs reminds me of the time I stood in line for 2 1/2 hours to get a signed autograph of Norm Abram.

Vic Hubbard said...

I went to Las Vegas this last year and got to meet Marc and Nicole (TWW and his babe). See I'm not the least bit sexist:D I also got to meet and visit with D.J.Marks. But, the last day I didn't go, so I missed out meeting The Man, The Legend, The New Yankee,...Norm. Oh Well:( Don't tell my wife Sylvia I said anything sexist, she'll whoop me. Just kidding...or am I???

Kari Hultman said...

Vic, to show your wife just how anit-sexist you are, you should say to her, "Get in the kitchen and make me a pie, woman!" She will love it. Seriously. I wouldn't steer you wrong.

....or would I????

Mark said...

Vic, I don't know about in the States but Australia if you said that to your other half it could land you in hospital!! Kari's looking for a bit of payback there.

Vic Hubbard said...

You think she'd really make me a pie?!?! I'm not fallin' for that!
Thanks for the heads-up Mark.