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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Art Materials (Stuff #5)

This post is about wood; you don't have to be a sculptor, carpenter, or woodworker to have a reason to seek out wooden objects; painters and alike have good reason to keep their eyes peeled. Also, you don't need to go to a wood supplier to get all that you need; even-though, places like Rockler Woodworking and HardwareJapan Woodworker, and Woodcraft can supply you with much of what you need. Panels from frames can be painted on, cabinet doors are pre-made panels with frames, sides of furniture also, backs of old cabinets are often left quite intact even with the rest falling apart, and tops of tables and dressers are usually a nice solid piece of wood.

You can learn more by reading Wood on the Tools and Techniques page of the Encaustic Resources Pages.

Buying local is always the best way to go; that and there is usually a wood supplier around most places & oddest places. FSC wood is good, or if it is really local you will know why the tree was cut in the first place; maybe even exactly what tree it was. Houses get built, roads laid, storms topple, and trees rot; sources you need not feel bad for salvaging wood.

Local wood suppliers often carry local wood; also odds & ends that normally would be scrap. Like this piece of walnut I bought from the scrap box at the local Woodcraft here in Albuquerque NM. Part of an encaustic series on landscapes that I am working on- and is long overdue; hope to post on that at some point.

Speaking of that project, I've been using turning stock, like this black palm (see below), often 'green' stock which can pose a problem. If you not aware, wood is typically kiln dried; moisture is drawn out of the wood in a controlled environment. What you buy from the lumber store will stay relatively the way it was purchased with kiln dried products.  However, turning stock is often green wood; wood that has not been completely dried or dried at all. Green wood is great for turning a bowl on a lathe, but not so good for many other projects. As the wood dries- checking, cracking, splitting, twisting, and warping can all occur; particularly if the wood dries really fast. This environmental effect I actually like, and I am working to incorporate that in my series; also a effect that I am not necessarily choosing to be a part of the piece- yet keeping it in mind.

Wood comes in many different species and from many regions of the world; from Gabon ebony to longleaf yellow pine. I stress this point: that if you must have a certain species to get exactly the look you want, and there is no other option, pay attention to the practices of the company or business that it is purchased from. Also I have been incorporating veneers (a thin covering of wood typically placed over lesser valued species; common on the surfaces of plywood). I use the veneer when I want a more exotic look; I am able to afford more species and veneer is less damaging on the environment. It does not make since to damage what I am trying to protect. You might be asking yourself: why use it at all? Well, think about fair trade coffee; buying properly managed wood products from reputable companies, through organizations that pride themselves on sustainability and providing employment to people who need employment- just makes sense. You won't be able to completely eliminate the harvesting of wood, but you can pick who you buy it from; support the companies with good practices- thus eliminating the alternative.

Thanks for Reading

1 comment:

Art instruction DVDs said...

This is such a great site! I like the way you set this up! Great content and images as well! Thanks for sharing this! Great art works!...Daniel

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