Monday, December 26, 2011

Honorable Mention Winners, Woodworking Business Design Portfolio Awards

Hi Friends, 

 I've got some good news! I was just informed that my "Rosalie Sideboard Buffet" won an Honorable Mention in the 19th Annual Custom Woodworking Business Design Portfolio Awards for 2011! This is the fourth time my work has won that honor, and for that I am very grateful!

 The sideboard buffet was custom designed and made for clients who needed the perfect piece to fit a space in their dining area and function as a serving surface. It features a solid mortise and tenoned cherry frame with three cabinets that seem to float in space. All the cabinet surfaces, inside and out are veneered with the finest curly maple, and the top is a rare book matched set of quilted bigleaf maple from Oregon. This was a delightful piece to make, and it is my pleasure to share with you. I've made a full set of videos that chronicles the making of the piece. Click here to see part one of the series and link to the whole set.

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings,
Andy Pitts

Andy's Gallery on Fine Wood Artists-

Andy's Website-

Fine Wood Artists Member Michael Singer also won an Honorable Mention for his Jewelry and Art Display Cabinet

Michael's gallery on Fine Wood Artists- 

Congrats to Andy and Michael!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Work and Upcoming Show - Craig Thibodeau

Fine Wood Artists member Craig Thibodeau shared with us images of his new work, a beautiful Cherry, Carpathian Elm Burl and Ebony dining set with matching chairs.

He is also showing in January at this upcoming show-

WOOD, A Furniture Show
Escondido Municipal Gallery
262 E. Grand Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025
Jan 13, 2012 through Feb 3th, 2012
featuring about 30 pieces of mixed woodwork from a variety of local artists

For more of Craig's work, please visit his gallery-

And his website-

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Work - Dale Larson

Some new pieces by Fine Wood Artists member Dale Larson.

For more, visit his gallery


Turned Bowls.

photos by Dan Kvitka.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Work by Craig Thibodeau

Two new pieces by Fine Wood Artist member Craig Thibodeau a cabinet and a table, both feature marquetry but in two different styles.

More on of Craig's work can be found in his gallery.

Oak  Leaves and Acorns Cabinet

Size: 33" high by 14" deep by 31" wide
Materials: Claro Walnut, Curly Maple, Birds Eye Maple, Abalone, and various marquetry woods.

Another cabinet in my fall colors marquetry theme, this one featuring White Oak leaves and acorns on a Curly Maple background. The marquetry once again focuses primarily on natural wood tones for the contrasting leaf colors but I did add a bit of dyed green Poplar for the acorns and a few leaves. The acorns also have a small amount of sand shading to help enhance the depth of the acorn and cap pieces. The interior of this cabinet is veneered in very heavily figured Birds Eye Maple and has a small area of Abalone inlay for accent. The handles are once again integrated into the doors and the cabinet is finished with satin Lacquer.

Tulip Table
Size: 84" long by 44" wide by 30" high
Materials: Curly Anigre, Ash Burl, Anigre, Ebony, and various marquetry woods
A large elliptical dining table veneered with Curly Anigre, it has marquetry imagery of two red Tulips on a background of Ash burl bordered by dark green and white squares highlighted with thin Ebony inlay. The base is composed of several bent laminations finished with satin black Conversion Varnish. The table was designed for a client with strong interest in the Ottoman Empire so the Tulip marquetry drawings were based roughly on artwork of Tulips we found from that era.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fine Wood Artists Member John Shrader- Winner Carol Duke Awards of Excellence

Sea Cottage by John Shrader

Fine Wood Artists  member John Shrader has won the Carol Duke Award of Excellence at the Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair July 29-31, 2011 in Bellevue WA for his outstanding woodturnings.

There were approximately 1,000 submissions to the fair for the 325 booths available.  From these 325, only ten were chosen for the Award of Excellence.  The Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair was recently chosen as one of the top 100 art fairs in the country, and drew an estimated 330,000 people to the three day event.

John's work can be found in his gallery on Fine Wood Artists-

His work is also featured in and on the cover of Fine Wood Artists, Volume One-

Thursday, July 28, 2011

News, Shows and New Items

The following Fine Wood Artists members will be showing their work this weekend at

the Bellevue Art Museum Art Fair
Bellevue Square in downtown Bellevue, Washington.
July 29, 30 & 31, 2011
Friday and Saturday 9:30 to 9:30, Sunday 9:30 to 6pm

Michael Hampel - Booth N-05
John Shrader - Booth F-14
Martha Collins - Booth S-14

Stop by to see their new work!


There is a new article in the Woodworker's Journal E-zine online magazine featuring Fine Wood Artists member Andrew Pitts-


New Work by Fine Wood Artists Jim Probst- The Meander Extension Table in Walnut and quilted Maple. 42"w x 30"h x 84"L Extending to 104".

For more information, visit his website-

Monday, July 11, 2011

Big Leaf Maple- the Big Giving Trees of the Pacific Northwest

These large sprawling trees are a common sight in the South End Seattle, so common in fact, that one rarely takes a second glance.

A closer look is however warranted for these wonderful and important trees in our neighborhood. These native maple trees can be found from California to Alaska, but are at their peak form here along the Oregon and Washington coasts and British Columbia. 

The name Bigleaf Maple (Acer Macrophyllum), or Broadleaf Maple as it is sometimes called, is obvious, since some individual leaves can reach a foot or more across. The trees themselves can top over 100 feet tall and are fast growing, making them excellent for creating shade or for large natural gardens with plenty of room.

Bigleaf  Maples are wonderful hosts for natural plants such as moss and ferns. Seward Park has excellent examples of Bigleaf Maples covered in a green coat of ferns and moss along their trunks and limbs. Crows often nest in the higher branches, which also provide cover for many other native birds, squirrels, raccoons, possum as well as insects. Their heavy leaf fall in autumn may be a bane to those growing a lawn, but it is actually a wonderful enrichment to the forest floor. The plentiful seeds these trees produce are food for birds, squirrels and rodents as well.

Bigleaf Maples have extensive root systems that are ideal for holding on to steep slopes and wet forest floors, just don’t plant them near water mains, as they are known to damage underground pipes. Topping these trees is not only unsightly but defeats the purpose if a better view is desired, since doing so not only encourages twice as much growth, but also produces weaker trees and limbs more likely to break.  It’s better to get a trained arborist in to carefully thin the growth, or to remove the tree entirely and plant something more low growing.

The wood of the Bigleaf Maple is commonly cut and used for firewood, but it is also prized by crafts people, and commonly used in piano frames. The wood is not as dense as sugar or Eastern maple, so it is easier to work with, and the burl, or densely figurative growths found on some mature trees and its roots, is very decorative and sought after for furniture, turning and ornamental uses.

And did you know you can also make maple syrup from Big Leaf Maple sap?  Every February there is a Big Leaf Maple Syrup festival on Vancouver Island.

For more:

More woods:
Acticle writen originally for the Southend Seattle blog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Upcoming Events - Spring 2011

Fine Wood Artists Member Andrew Pitts will be showing at  One Smart Gallery in Williamsburg, VA,  May 14th and 15th, 2011
For more information-

More of Andrew's work can be seen in his gallery-

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair will be held May 14th through the 17th, 2001, in New York City at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Featured artists include FWA members Brian HubelAlison Swann-Ingram and Carl Johnson

For more information, visit the website

The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers (AWFS) is having a fair at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, July 20-23rd, 2011.

For more information, visit the AWFS Fair website

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Work - Deborah and Jerry Kermode

Deborah sent along some stunning photos of their new work with old growth Redwood, salvaged from Northern California. 

Here is more about the unique and beautiful wood used to create these pieces-

"Our current source is old-growth redwood cut in the late 19th century in the Eureka area of Northern California.  Because of the wavy grain often found in the lower section of the trees, the stumps, sometimes as tall as houses, were considered inferior for lumber and left in the ground.  Growth and gravity have created compression, which, when cut, presents as wavy, flame-like patterns.  Some of our bowls show this figure dramatically.  Others show the elegant, very tight, straight grain for which old-growth redwood is prized.

Though these magnificent trees should never have been cut, they were.  Over the 100+ years that these stumps sat in the cleared forest, their already beautiful interior aged and darkened.  What an honor it is to be able to turn this majestic wood!  Our joy and responsibility is in sharing the bounty of the forest, unwrapping this beautiful gift of nature while leaving nature to continue her magic." - Deborah Kermode 

For more of Deborah and Jerry's turnings, please check out their Fine Wood Artists gallery-

And don't forget to check the previous blog post to read more about the AAW symposium, where they will be giving demonstrations.

Monday, March 21, 2011

AAW 2011 Synposium

Here's an informative video of the upcoming June Symposium of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW).

There will be demonstrations by Fine Wood Artists members Allen Jensen, Jerry and Deborah Kermode, and Cindy Drozda, and other well known wood turners, as well as exhibits, auctions, youth programs and more.

The symposium will take place in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Friday June 24th through Sunday June 26th, 2011, at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. For more, visit the AAW website-

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Doug, Doug Fir

Meet Doug. He Built Seattle.
Chances are, if you have an older house in South Seattle, at least some part of it is constructed from Douglas Fir wood. It was readily available, locally milled and grown, and easy to work with. Everything from the framing, to windows to flooring in some older homes is made from Douglas Fir. They even paved the sidewalks and streets with it, before laying brick and other more permanent road surfaces down. 

When the pioneers first came to what is now Seattle, it was a forest, dominated by huge Douglas Fir trees, hemlock and other native species. You can recognize the old wood by its wide, pine like grain of dark orange against a lighter orange or cream color. It’s also a pretty soft wood, a fact that those of you with fir floors like ours are probably well aware of. Like most coastal evergreens, it is somewhat resistant to rot and moisture and has a wonderful smell when freshly cut.

Douglas Fir is not a Fir in the true sense. After long taxonomic discussions between the experts, it eventually ended up in it’s own scientific moniker Pseudotsuga Menziesii. It is a generally fast growing, deep rooted, and a long lived tree, often grown for Christmas Trees and particularly suited to the local climate of wet winters and dry summers. In ideal conditions and left alone a long time, these trees can top over 350 feet, with some unique specimens on record reaching over 400.

Local parks such as Kubota Gardens and Seward Park have some nice specimens of Douglas Fir, but before you run out to plant this native tree in your garden, keep their fast growth and large size in mind. They also have a tendency to shed their lower branches, which in a mature tree, can be substantial logs capable of serious damage to cars, buildings, power lines and people.

More on Doug, our local wonder tree-

Reprinted with permission from the Southend Seattle Blog-

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Upcoming Events and Shows - Fine Wood Artists

The 1609 Artist Invitational:  A Collaborative Show Featuring Seven Local Artists
The public is invited to join proprietors Carl Johnson and Alison Swann- Ingram of Franklin Street Fine Woodwork, Friday, March 11, 2011 from 5 to 10 p.m. to celebrate the collective creativity of 7 artists combined with works by Carl Johnson and Alison Swann-Ingram at their woodworking space, 1609 N. Franklin Street in Tampa.

Participating artists for The 1609 Artist Invitational: A Collaborative Show Featuring Seven Local Artists include: Kim Radatz (mixed media), Ugo Mazzarolo (photography), Marc De Waele (metal sculpture), Lydia Rupinski (printmaking), Ernesto Piloto Marquez (mixed media), Daniel Mrgan (wood burning), Sean Fitzgerald (ceramic). Fine wood craft from Franklin Street Fine Woodwork artisans will also be on display. The presenting artists range in experience from established to emerging artists.  The result is a collegial intimate show in a fabulous, gritty, renovated, industrial space.   
The evening includes live music and performance by the Nuestra Tierra Trio, a donation Bar and hors d’oeuvres.  The event is open to the public.  The work will be on exhibit through March 20, 2011 during business hours.
For more information about the Franklin Street 1609 Artist Invitational please call Alison Swann Ingram, 813.223.3490 or  Visit Franklin Street Fine Woodwork Studios online at  
Arts Alive 2011 Artists Studio Tour

An Artist Studio Tour to raise funds for the Northumberland Public Library will be held on Saturday April 9 from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday April 10 from 12 – 5 PM

The event will feature 19 artists using a variety of media including FWA member Andrew Pitts . the tour covers 15 studio locations throughout the lower Northern Neck. Tickets are $20 (children 12 and under free) and may be purchased at the Northumberland Public Library, The Bay Window in Irvington, Wildest Dreams in Burgess, Material Girl in Burgess, and EVB bank locations in Heathsville, Callao, Burgess, and Kilmarnock, or at any of the studios on the days of the tour.

A brochure with map will be provided, and door prizes of artist’s work, on display at the library, will be awarded. For more information, call the library at 580-5051 or visit the library website at
Or visit Andrew's website


The Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show (PIFS)
March 25-27, 2011
at the Cruise Ship Terminal in the Philadelphia Navy Yard
5100 South Broad Street (South)
Philadelphia, PA 19112
Welcome to the 17th annual Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show!

This year our show will be held March 26th and 27th, with a special preview party night March 25th. The PIFS features a great range of work reflective of the diverse creative directions present in the field of artisan-made furniture. There is shaker and arts and crafts influenced wooden furniture, historically based Grandfather clocks as well as contemporary timepieces,  modern functional-sculptural pieces in metal and wood, table top accessories, wall art and much more. The price points span from the affordable impulse purchase to works suitable for long-term investments as future heirlooms.

Exhibitors include Fine Wood Artists member Tom Lederer

For tickets, hours and all the information you need to experience PIFS 2011 please visit the ticket and prices page.

Now in its 17th year, the Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show is the longest running craft show devoted to furniture and furnishings in the US. Please come and join us at the Cruise Ship Terminal in Philadelphia. We will see you there!
Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show:
The Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier 1
Philadelphia Naval Business Center (PNBC)
5100 South Broad Street (South)
Philadelphia, PA 19112
215-387-8591 fax
3605 Hamilton St. Philadelphia, PA 19104

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Shows and Events 2011 - Jennifer Schwarz, Martha Collins

Fine Wood Artists Member Jennifer Schwarz has a show opening tomorrow-

Lavender Moon Gallery presents
“Two Woman Show, EARTH and FIRE”
To view “Cyber-Show” click on the link below:
Pottery & furniture are available for viewing & purchase at
Lavender Moon Gallery, Kainaliu
Exhibit from Feb. 12, 2011 – Mar. 12, 2011
Artist Reception on Sat., Feb. 12th, 4-7pm
For further information call 324-7708


Fine Wood Artists member Martha Collins has several shows and classes coming up-

February 24 -27 Demonstration at the ACC show in Baltimore.
March 12 -13  Contemporary Craft Market in San Francisco
April 9 -10 Wooden Jewelry Class Woodcraft Store, Seattle
April 30-May 1  Making a Quilt rack Port Townsend School of Woodworking  (PTSW)
May 14 -15 Small project class ( boxes)  Woodcraft Store, Seattle
May 30 - June 3  Woodworking fort Women 1
Introduction to hand tools and hand held power tools PTSW
June 6 -10  Woodworking for Women 2  Machine tools PTSW
August 1 -2 Wooden jewelry 1 at PTSW  
August 3 -5 Wooden Jewelry 2 PTSW

Best of luck to these talented woodworkers, please click the links or contact the artists for more information.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Banksia Seed Pod - Australia’s Native Treasure - by Cindy Drozda

 Banksia is a genus of plants that occur in Australia and Papua New Guinea numbering 75 named species. Of these, 61 are found in Western Australia, including the Banksia Grandis, the species that generates the large seed pods.

The Banksia take their name from Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who was on Captain Cook’s ship “Endeavour” that arrived in Australia in 1770.

It was from a subsequent trip to Australia that specimens were gathered resulting in seeds being grown in European glasshouses and 2 new species being named. One of these was the Banksia Grandis named by Carl Wildenow in 1798. 

Although it’s the size of the seed pod that makes it attractive to artists, the name probably refers to the tree’s large leaf size.
Banksias in general occur as plants ranging from prostrate shrubs, to larger bushes, and trees of around 50 feet in height. The Banksias Grandis is restricted to a natural occurrence in only the southwest corner of Western Australia. More specifically, the coastal plain and Darling plateau from a point some distance north of Perth extending over an area about 650 miles southwards and eastwards along the coast and about 100 miles inland at most.

Banksia Grandis grows as either a large shrub or a small tree depending on its location, either on the coastal plains or as an understory tree in the eucalyptus forests.

The cones commonly used for woodturning are the fruit body remains from the flower head spike that blooms from October to January. These cones can be from 4 to 16 inches long. Once the stunning, upright, golden yellow or red flowers fall off, the cone matures on the tree and the seeds develop. Often it is the heat of a forest fire that causes the seed case holes, which give these pods their unique appearance, to burst open and release their seeds.

Banksia Seed Pods are a truly renewable resource, since no trees are cut down to harvest the Pods. Working with Banksia Pods is an adventure, but the results are well worth the effort!

 Article reprinted with permission from author, Cindy Drozda.
More of Cindy's work can be found in her gallery here-