Friday, November 30, 2007

Finished the "Holy Family rework" project

I finished the project over lunch today. The pen turned BEAUTIFULLY. At first I was concerned with some cracks in the wood, but all of that came off "outside" the diameter at the thickest part of the pen blanks.

One side.

The other side.

For a fun reference, compare the next two pictures. The first shows the approximate relationship to the original damaged piece. The pen (Joseph) could have been placed a little more upright. Also I am not sure about the grain orientation on the pen, but you get the idea.

The original damaged piece.

Finished the "Holy Grail" wine bottle stopper.

Can you believe it? I completed something.

It is so shiny that it is hard to make out that it really is hollowed inside, like a drinking vessel.

Monday, November 26, 2007

From "Holy Family" to "Holy Grail"

Here is the finished wine bottle stopper "finial". It is a grail cup. Appropriate for the top of a wine bottle, wouldn't you say? Didn't bother with more pictures, but it is, indeed, hollowed inside as if it were a miniature drinking vessel.

The stainless steel stopper has been ordered and I should get it in a week.

Holy Family rework

I have a good friend who had a little problem. She had a figurine of the "Holy Family" which was carved from Jerusalem Olive wood. Her dog got to it and left teeth marks and bit off Joseph's head, which was then lost. She loved that figurine. I love the wood. She didn't want to just throw it away and I thought I could make something out of it. Joseph seemed to be long and wide enough for a pen and the rest for a wine bottle stopper.

So, after she got a replacement figurine she reluctantly parted with the original. Of course, she called me a "heathen" for what I wanted to do, but I reminded her that it was a BLOCK OF WOOD. It could have originally been carved into anything. I then called her an "idol worshipper" and she gave in.

Here is what I've done so far.

Original damaged figurine.

Cut apart with bandsaw.

Useable parts cut and drilled.

Wine bottle stopper mounted on lathe.

Started turning it down.

Continuing to remove what it once was.

Now just a block for final shaping. Need to decide how to make it look.

I still need to get a pen kit and a stainless steel wine bottle stopper part to finish these off. But it's easy work from here on.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


What a great opera that was.

We got to the theater with about 20 minutes to spare before the pre-show lecture that they call the "Operalogue". This was given by the former president of the GSO Opera Company...a fellow by the name of G.W. "Trey" Aycock, the third. (I was reminded of a literature class and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot..."In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.") "The third" was accompanied by his 5 year old opera expert son named "Grant" (Could this be GW the 4th ?) Grant was very well behaved, but his Transformer toy wanted to perform one of the tenor arias..."Questa o Quella".

The lecture was not what I expected, but it was ok. In the past these lectures did not focus on the scene by scene goings on in the opera. Rather they set the mood of the composer and the times he lived in. His frame of mind, his rivals and inspirarions. "The third" ran out of time before he got through his interpretation of Act II. He used the same joke twice...asking "the fourth" to cover his ears when he mentioned a certain aspect of Gilda's character (virginity).

Anyway, TONIGHT, 3 days later, I recalled that I have a book called "Opera 101" by Fred Plotkin. I pulled this off the shelf and started reading his discussion of "Rigoletto". Guess what I found. I'm sure that some of you have guessed that "the third's" description sounded very much like Fred's. So much so that I am willing to bet that "the third" read it over and over before giving his talk. BTW, he's a lawyer.

Well, after the Operalogue we made our way to our seats. The opera started shortly after. It was tremendously appealing, visually and orchestrally. The stage designer did a beautiful job. The vocal parts and acting were top notch. I got chills listening to the "Caro Nome" sung by Gilda. The "La Donna e Mobile" was terrific (but Pavarotti used to show off, holding some of the notes longer). Of course, being a Verdi (or even a Puccini) opera, it was not over until the "heroine" died. She was not a fat lady in this one.

If you have never seen an opera, "Rigoletto" is pretty much a perfect first opera. It has great characters, great emotions, human weaknesses, joy and sorrow, lust, etc. And all without a lot of time spent dragging it out.

Afterward we had an invitation for a little snack before hitting the road. There were some finger sandwiches, crackers, brownies, and punch. The pizza flavored crackers opened my eyes and I hope to find them in the store. Nobody knew the name.

We made our way to Carrabba's for dinner. Boy was THAT good. I even locked eyes with a 20-something cutie pie at another table...twice. She smiled and shook her head as if to say she would rather be with me then with the guy she was with. All I needed was a good aria to serenade her.

Both my mom and I had a wonderful time.