Horn Man

A year ago I got the bug to make some Christmas gifts. I began a project in late November to make twelve Intarsia flowers for the women in the family. I struggled to complete five in time. The project over whelmed me. This year, I began making gifts in September thinking it would be enough time. Except, the people I made gifts for had aged and I no longer felt comfortable making teddy bears for my grand kids. When I began Intarsia, my oldest grandchild was four. Today that same child is nineteen. When it all started as a hobby, I set a goal to make an intarsia piece for each grandchild. I managed to give my first three kids a hand-made intarsia art piece. Then there was a lull in grandchild production. By the time new kids were born my life had changed dramatically. Four more kids came. Dan was a toddler when my wife Barb had her heart attack, and my drive to make intarsia art faded to zero. Barb died, and three more kids came during my grief. I lost the idea, until last summer when I realized my life calendar is running down. The idea of making Dan a teddy bear didn’t compute because he is thirteen now. The same went for the rest of the kids, they are eight and ten. I took care of my ten-year old grand-daughter last year with a flower. The two youngest are brothers and are avid fisherman, each got an intarsia fish, Brad got a largemouth bass, his brother Ben a stripped bass. So that left me with Dan.

Most Intarsia wood workers are craftsmen not artists. They make the art from pre-designed patterns. I did this for the flower and the two fish. I bought pre-designed patterns and made the art-piece as a craftsman. I decided to design the last work from scratch. I had made enough art-pieces to feel comfortable with the art form and needed to jack up my experience a level.

I thought long and hard about what kind of piece to make for Dan. He is not a fisherman like his cousins, he is a swimmer, and a very good one. I couldn’t imagine how to design a piece of art made from wood to depict swimming. I am not creative enough, but I did vision him playing his trumpet.

I called his father and asked him to photograph Dan while he practiced. I received two photos and chose one to work with. At first, the project excited me, then fear took over. I froze with the fear of actually designing a piece and executing it. For two months, I could only think about how complicated a work I had decided to take on. I procrastinated by making the two fish ahead of the one I designed. My design would be the reward for completing two projects ahead of time.  By the time I got started on the Horn Man it was November which is a short month in the wood shop because of Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations.

I finally began with my grand-daughter who helped me transfer the photo into a line drawing. Once I had the line drawing it took a couple of days to decide where the cut lines would be, which colors of wood I needed, and which direction the grain would run.  Actually, this was the easy part since I have spent over forty years in a business which relied on my visualization and transfer of designs into workable drawings.

With the baby steps initiated, I began to gain confidence in completing the piece. There were several set-backs along the way. The largest cost me too much time. Originally, I decided to make the piece a traditional two-dimensional intarsia piece. There was no way for me to execute a two-dimensional design easily. I needed to shim some parts and to slab cut others to create the third dimension. Making the trumpet was one such set-back. I scrapped what I was doing and chose to make a three-dimensional trumpet, except I didn’t have enough information to make a 3d horn. I spent time on the web searching for images of trumpets and printed out several pages of trumpet details to study.

It became clear that the Christmas deadline could not be met. Lucky for me that Dan lives in Texas and I was going there in January, so the deadline moved to mid-January.

I finished the Horn Man a week before Peg and I were leaving for the West. Just before the final glue together, I felt the piece needed something else and I decided to add the musical score. A month earlier I acquired a piece of wood which was perfect for the music, it is so dark it looks black. The wood was a nightmare to cut. It is so dense I wore out many saw blades before I finished the music lines and the notes. Four days later I finished it, then I scrapped it because it overwhelmed the piece with its size. I was now three days away from leaving for Texas. They say necessity is the mother of invention and I redid the music using some very thin plywood that cut super easy enabling me to finish the music in four hours. The end result turned out to my satisfaction.

The photos tell the story.

DSCF0515

Dan Practices Trumpet

The Photo Transferred to a Line Drawing

The Photo Transferred to a Line Drawing

IMG_0898

Lots Of Loose Pieces With Some Minor Shaping On Some.

Starting To Take Shape

Starting To Take Shape

Facial Detail

Facial Detail

Hand and Valve Detail

Hand and Valve Detail

What's A Horn Without Music?

What’s A Horn Without Music?

The Music is Too Loud!

The Music is Too Loud!

Horn Man

Horn Man

 

4 Responses

  1. what a beautiful work of art!
    Thank you for sharing…
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    • Thank you for the kind words.

  2. Quite a masterpiece. You missed your calling.

    • Chuck; I may have missed my calling but I managed to earn a living. Thanks for your kind words as always.

Comments are closed.

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