Simple Flower Beauty Contest

I need your help folks.

Please judge the five Intarsia flowers below and tell me which one you like the best.

All five were hand crafted by Grumpa Joe in Santa’s workshop while Santa held Grumpa hostage and worked GJ’s fingers to the bone.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Flower A, Cedar, Pine, Poplar

DSCN4560

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Flower B, Mahogany, Walnut, Poplar

DSCN4561

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Flower C, Poplar

DSCN4563

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Flower D, Pine, Cedar, Poplar

DSCN4562

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Flower E, Walnut, Oak, Pine

DSCN4564

Vote by taking the Poll below:

An Art Piece Turns Into a Rant

Simple Flower by Garnet Hall

Simple Flower by Garnet Hall

I have not been posting more often because I am preoccupied with an artistic project that consumes my entire energy. Several years ago, I began making Intarsia pieces for my grandkids. Intarsia is a form of artistry using woods of different color, grain and shape. Think of it as a picture made from wood.  At the last-minute I decided to give Christmas gifts that come from me, and not from my pocket. I won’t make it. At a minimum, I need twelve Intarsia pieces to give the people on my list. So far, I have completed one. That means I have to make one piece a day from now until December 19 to make it happen. So far, the first piece has taken me twelve hours of labor to complete.

Yes, there is a learning curve, which I am quickly re-learning from my last Intarsia project.(about ten years ago) but I have a lot of work ahead of me. My body doesn’t like the long hours spent cutting, fitting, carving, and sanding each piece of wood into a work of art. At the end of a session, my neck hurts like hell, my feet are tingling with needles, and my back aches beyond belief.

Most commercial Intarsia Artisans are satisfied to keep their wood pieces flat with only the edges rounded. When I see work of that type, I cringe. My pieces need a three-dimensional reality. It takes time to make that happen.

I lost precious time just finding my carving chisels, my sand-papers, and setting up my band saw to cut precisely. At one point in the middle of an intricate curve, the saw blade stopped dead, yet the band saw motor kept running. I realized that the blade I was using had cut plastic, metal, frozen meat, and many other materials. The points were missing from the blade. I wound up replacing the blade. Thankfully, I had a spare on hand. The blade change took me an hour to accomplish as I had not done that in several years. When I began cutting again the blade wandered off the line causing me to lose time because I had to back up and restart the cut. The guide blocks needed to be readjusted closer to the new blade so it wouldn’t twist off course as much. I used a pencil to trace the design onto the wood. I could barely see the line. Little by little, I am regaining the Intarsia craft skill.

This afternoon, I went to the garage to find a box of wood pieces given to me by a friend from work. He is a furniture maker and uses a lot of mahogany, walnut, and oak.  The box weighs about fifty pounds. He gave it to me in nineteen ninety-five, and today was the first time I looked in it to see what kind of pieces there were for my Intarsia. I counted five different woods of various colors, shapes, thicknesses, and sizes. Some will be useful, but most will not. Some of the pieces may be worthy of wood carving projects.

The design I chose to make is simple. It uses ten pieces of two different color woods to create a simple flower. The most complicated project I have done is forty pieces which required sixty hours to complete.

As the project progresses, I think about the manufacturing process, and the cost of making things. If I were making the minimum wage of $8.25/hour, this project would already cost $99.00. In order to make a profit, pay for the wood, saw blades, sanding paper and such, I have to add another $99.00. The cost of this project to you would be $198.00. If you were to see this piece at a craft show and you fell absolutely in love with it you might pay $25.00 for it.

That is why manufacturers outsource work to countries where labor is cheap. In order to make this piece to sell for $25.00 my labor cost would have to be $1.04/hour. That assumes the materials and tool replacements were free.  Let’s face it folks, I can’t survive on $1.04 per hour. My lunch cost me more than my hypothetical earnings today.

What will we the sheeple of the Divided States of America have to do to create an economy that demands the hourly rate we expect and need to survive? The last input I had from experts was we need to become the information society. We the sheeple need to become the experts of the world who can charge an arm and a leg for the knowledge we possess. There is only one problem, the rest of the civilized countries in the world are on the same track.

Where will the knowledge come from? First there is education, then there is experience, then there is innovation. We the sheeple will not make it with our union burdened education system, and all of our experience went to China and other third world countries, so that leaves innovation. How will we get innovation? From ideas that we turn into products.

The former USA now the DSA is still very good at innovating and inventing. We are still capable of leading the world in this area, but there are fewer people who are able to do so. Wit a pissy-poor education system, we dumb down our young people. By teaching our people to depend on big government we numb our brains to anything but a handout. By dividing the country and demonizing those who become rich from innovation we kill any chance at new innovation.

Our Supreme leader realizes what he is doing, and yet he continues to dumb down the populace in favor of a one party system which will turn us into tax slaves who feed the elite.

Let’s face it, the current élite minds who profess to know how to save the world will be the reason for the end of the planet.

Simple Flower by Grumpa Joe

Simple Flower by Grumpa Joe

The Tree of Life Extends to Heaven

In my last two posts about the Tree of Life, I expressed feelings of  depression. Grief is a funny thing. You think you are over it, but it revisits at strange times. It has been seven years since I last assembled the Tree of Life, and I thought I was ready to move forward with it. Life moves on, and so must I. That is the rationale I used for breaking out the components to begin anew. It is time, and I am actually having fun recalling the “good times” that surrounded the Tree.

My new insight on the Tree is that “Life” extends into the afterlife of heaven. As I march forward on earth, Busia Barb moves forward in eternity. She lives within our hearts and visits during those moments when we bring the Tree to life again.

Another ornament produced in the Ornament Factory is called  God’s Eyes (Ojo de Dios). It is a Mexican Indian craft that my daughter brought into our lives from her Spanish studies. To make one, just wrap yarn around a cross of two popsicle sticks. It sounds simple, until you try teaching a four year old to do it.

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