What's Up?

North Carolina's Bob Trotman  is June's featured artist. Post questions for him in the comments of this post.
Bob Trotman, No Brainer, 2010; wood, paint, wax; private collection

I have done a lot of repair and some festival-going in the last week and a half. A few beautiful mashup things were sold quickly and I don't have pictures. One was an 80's shaped hardwood desk base that I matched up with a vintage sheet of bird's eye maple veneer plywood for the top. The bottom layer of the bird's eye looked like weathered leather but it may have been a severely distressed finish applied very thick? About 40x22, 7-layer finish ply with a drawer pull (type of thing) cut out along one edge - the most unique piece of scrap I've run into in a long time!

On this Formica table, I painted the legs burgundy.
The legs on this vintage 2-level corner coffee table have since been painter burgundy.

Then I built Icehouse II bookcase on commission:
Custom designed Icehouse II bookcase is assembled from reclaimed, repurposed wood sourced locally in Asheville, NC
 Starting with the door (backing), I cut of the bottom to make it even and to clean off a thin layer of woodrot in the endgrain. The worn, graffitied door was beaten apart from the sides of the tool cabinet it once enclosed, so splintered edges were split off with a chisel. I then wire brushed away the loose paint chips and triple-coated it with water-based polyurethane front and back.(4 layers on exposed endgrain) The hinges were busted off to remove this one, but the bent latch is intact and rotates freely. (Icehouse I Bookcase also had hinges)
The detail of Icehouse Bookcase II shows the irregular bead-board backing and moving latch plate.
The side panels are cut from the plywood back of a very strange old stereo cabinet. I may cannibalize the rest and will try to remember to take pictures of it first. I gave bits of the componentry to Susan for the future making of a Bot.

The shelves are the very last of the shelf-stock donated by our neighbor Sam from a library tear-out in the early 90s. (Previously, I guessed they had come from a prior incarnation at 201 Haywood Rd.) I lost the shop countersink for about a week, so I used a flat auger bit in its absence. With a wide pilot, the flat recess created by the auger seems to create a lock-tight effect when the wood screws bite in at the end. So, lesson learned: losing tools leads to innovation. Lose your tools often as long as you are certain to find them again later.
I do not endorse Ali Baba's flat auger bit set.

] j [


JRun presents : monthly art feature : Interview with Ron van der Ende

Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Still Life, 2010 (studio)

I discovered Dutch woodworking artist Ron van der Ende on Empty Kingdom. Soon after, I contacted him about featuring his work on CARPEntryDIEM. He was remarkably open about his passion and process. Following is a portion of our conversations.

Ron van der Ende Flawless 2007 bas-relief in reclaimed timbers 95 x 75 x 10cm (private collection den Haag, NL)
Flawless, 2007
JRun: When did scrap material begin to fuel the majority of your work?

Ron van der Ende: I started restricting myself to old wood as material for my sculptures in 1996 because it boasts a wealth of color and texture, it is readily available and inexpensive, and because it is inherently 'imperfect'. Sometimes it looks like it has been touched a million times. It feels good to make something of value from such a modest material.
Ron van der Ende Axonometric Array 2008 bas-relief in reclaimed timbers, size variable ca. 7m50 x 3m50 x 25cm Built on assignment for WORM alternative music and film venue in Rotterdam (on permanent display)
Axonometric Array, 2008 (studio)
JR: "...touched a million times." I love that idea; some of your work really wants to be touched. So, how did found wood bring you to bas-relief?

RvdE: I vividly remember having my 'eureka!' moment. It suddenly dropped into my head that I could work in this material almost flat to produce a large and light sculpture. I realized instantaneously that it could be done, that it would be possible to do cars and limitless other subjects. That I would not need any detailed technical drawings but just one photograph. And that the result would be unique and spectacular and sell like hot cakes.
Ron van der Ende Fly Over 2002 bas-relief in old wood. 350x210x20cm. Built on assignment for Hogeschool Rotterdam (Rotterdam University)
Fly Over, 2002 (studio)
JR: An influence from photography is not at all surprising, but it never occurred to me. The work plays with flatness and dimensionality, so maybe photography is just hiding in plain sight.

RvdE: It felt then (and it feels now) like I have stumbled upon a continent of possibilities that is mine alone to explore. And twelve years on, there is still so much opportunity to develop and grow.
Ron van der Ende Vostok 2006 bas-relief in reclaimed timber, 130 x 130 x 14cm (private collection)
Vostok, 2006
It allows me to use both painterly and sculptural solutions. Because of the 'illusion' it tends to draw people in, also people without any existing fondness for art. Also I always liked the idea of a fixed vantage point for anybody looking at a sculpture because it is a big nono with the crafts teachers. In fact it is the same with the use of colors. I'm a bit of a rebel in my own modest way!
Ron van der Ende Shipsection 2003 bas-relief in used wood, 185x195x16cm, (corporate collection Rotterdam)
Ron van der Ende Bathyscaphe Trieste 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 110 x 84 x 12 cm (private collection Rotterdam, NL)
Shipsection, 2003 (artist in studio) & Bathyscaphe Trieste, 2010
JR: Where do you collect most of your scraps?

RvdE: Most of my material I find in the streets. I find it myself or my friends call to report a dumpster/skip with interesting materials.

JR: Have your material sources changed over the years?

RvdE: It has shifted a little bit to buying materials at specialized stores because not as many material is being thrown away as a couple of years ago. People are making their own fake Piet Hein Eek furniture with it. Sometimes I buy stuff from the internet, like in 2008 I bought a lot of two hundred and fifty antique doors. That makes a full truckload!

JR: Have you developed relationships by collecting scraps from practical woodworkers or other artists?

RvdE: Not really. The scraps have to be old you know. 

JR: I know some old woodworkers here in Asheville. Maybe I will send you a few of their scraps.

Ron van der Ende Plymouth Custom Suburban 1969 2000 bas-relief in used wood, 205x95x16cm (corporate collection Barendrecht, NL)
Ron van der Ende G.A.Z.21 Volga 1962 2000 bas-relief in old wood, 190x110x16cm (private collection Rotterdam)
Ron van der Ende Capri 2002 bas-relief in used wood, 180x125x16cm (private collection Rotterdam)
Plymouth Custom Suburban 1969, 2000; G.A.Z.21 Volga 1962, 2000; Capri, 2002
JR: Some commentaries have attributed a dark industrialism to your work. Is this an atmosphere that you intend to project?

RvdE: Mostly I'm dealing with sculptural qualities. I do not want aesthetics or style to be dominant in my work. And there is a conceptual side but not as 'words intended to justify the work', more as a strategy for possible associations. This becomes especially interesting when pieces are made in a deliberate combination. I used to work in themed series in the past. Series of cars for example, a set about polar exploration or space flight. But in recent years I've started trying on seemingly illogical combinations to great effect. In the end though, every single piece will have to be strong enough to survive in the world individually.
Ron van der Ende DS II (Pallas) 2008 bas-relief in reclaimed timbers, 100 x 61 x 10cm
Ron van der Ende Phoenix: Rise ! (Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am) 2011 bas-relief in salvaged wood 260cm x 95cm x 18cm
DS II (Pallas), 2008 & Phoenix: Rise ! (Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am), 2011 (studio)

Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Ron van der Ende On Re-Entry (Burning Log) 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 262 x 87 x 12 cm (private collection, Seattle, WA)
Still Life & On Re-entry (Burning Log), 2010
 JR: Maybe it's too obvious, but did you play around with On Re-Entry (Burning Log) and Still Life? You know, having them speak to one another at an exhibition?

RvdE: I have not had these pieces together in a show, unfortunately. Mostly my work sells on the first exhibition they are shown in, so not much opportunity to make combinations like that. It's a shame in this case. Both these pieces have a life and death angle that would have made for a nice combination.

JR: Do you have any details or construction shots from those two endeavors?
Ron van der Ende On Re-Entry (Burning Log) 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 262 x 87 x 12 cm (private collection, Seattle, WA)
Ron van der Ende On Re-Entry (Burning Log) 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 262 x 87 x 12 cm (private collection, Seattle, WA)
Ron van der Ende On Re-Entry (Burning Log) 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 262 x 87 x 12 cm (private collection, Seattle, WA)
Ron van der Ende On Re-Entry (Burning Log) 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 262 x 87 x 12 cm (private collection, Seattle, WA)
On Re-Entry (Burning Log), 2010 (construction, details, studio)
RvdE: I did not have any of the Still Life piece, but some nice shots were made by the "Happy Famous Artists" Collective. You should ask their permission though. Tell then I sent you! They can be reached through their blog.
Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Ron van der Ende Still Life 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 180 x 102 x 12cm (private collection NY NY)
Still Life, 2010 (details via Happy Famous Artists Collective)

JR: You showed "Perishables" at the Armory in NYC in 2011 and, sadly, we missed it. Do you have any upcoming shows in the US?

RvdE: I'll have a solo show in the spring of 2013 with Ambach & Rice Gallery in Los Angeles.
Ron van der Ende 727 2008 bas-relief in reclaimed timbers – 310 x 140 x 16cm (West Collection, PA, USA)
Ron van der Ende KO Valkyrie 2010 bas-relief in salvaged wood 212 x 130 x 15cm (private collection Rotterdam, N.L.)
727, 2008 & KO Valkyrie, 2010

JR: I would also like to include this video if you are happy with it:

RvdE: Sure. It's in Dutch though... I would translate but I'm terribly busy right now. At one point I tell the cameraman that I am sawing "a very tricky little piece of wood."

JR: Thank you very much for speaking with me and my community. It was a pleasure to get to know your work.

RvdE: Of course. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Ron van der Ende
Ron van der Ende Checkout2 / Kassa2 2005 bas-relief in reclaimed timber, 187 x 112 x 14cm (private collection Amsterdam NL)
Checkout 2 / Kassa 2, 2005

(June's featured artist is North Carolina's own Bob Trotman. If you have questions for Bob, please leave them here,
in the comments)


A Promise Is a Promise: Where's My Update?!

Top two reasons it has taken so long to deliver: a yard sale and a stolen bike. But I don't want to talk about that.

The corner bookcase is great for creative display of toys, books, objects and art.
So there it is, the corner bookshelf, nestled in the chaos of Hip thrift. I do believe it will be more comfortable once it has been claimed by a new owner. Keep in mind, it won't look like this anywhere else; the concept is a blank slate.
The corner bookcase is light and sturdy and is easily disassembled for transport.
The open design makes it ideal for the creative display of toys, books, objects and art.

Meanwhile, I have been doing a bit of painting.
The brushwork here is inspired by the dappled light I experience when painting outdoors.
Dry brushwork on the side of a bookcase.

Four chairs have been painted to match the tree table. Three are shown. Photo credit: Amy Williams
Here are new chairs to go with the tree table. Three are pictured from the set of four.

On a warm March morning, I went to a secret location with the artist Penish Wrinkle and we snagged some wonderful graffitied* tool cabinet doors.
Found in Asheville's River Arts District, this tool cabinet door has been distressed by time and marked by graffiti.
*Graffitied is not a word yet! But I believe that one day it will be.
A repurposed door will serve as backing to refurbish the crooked, wobbly bookshelf.
This is the backside of the door, which is being repurposed as the backing for a crooked, wobbly bookcase that I picked up at an estate sale.
Shown at Hip Thrift, the wobbly bookcase is now solid as a rock and looking spiffy.
And now it is solid as a rock and no longer crooked. I wire brushed the loose paint and heavily glazed the entire door, front and back, so it is a safe piece despite its delinquent origins.

The bookcase for vinyl sold yesterday and two different parties are now very interested in the tree table. It feels great to be productive! Thanks to everyone for your support.
] j [


Corner Bookcase is here

The twelve slats from the futon frame are marked for layout and assembly.
After using the six odd boards from the reclaimed futon frame for my personal experiment, it's time to move on to the production piece.
The twelve members to the right are used to assemble the newly designed corner bookcase.

Each of the twelve remaining boards measures 51-3/8 x 2-1/2 x 3/4 (inches).
Four members compose the basic frame for each half of the corner bookcase.
Two similar panels are constructed as above, and interlocked below.
The two basic panels are blocked out together to rest for square and fit.
The back half of each shelf is then attached.
The detail shows how the panels interlock after the final two members are added to each panel.
This detail shows how the two pieces of the frame interlock.
The Corner Bookcase via the sawdust filter...
The connection is made with dowels so that the case can be split apart and transported.

The first bookcase, made from the six odd-sized members, illustrates the idea of giving objects plenty of space within the shelves.
If you give the objects enough space, as above, there will also be room to hang small art pieces within and around the two frames. I will move the Corner Bookcase into Hip Thrift tomorrow, so look for the update.

] j [


A Very Lightweight Bookcase: Rough Design

Against the near wall in my workshop are 18 boards reclaimed years ago in Brooklyn from a broken futon frame. It sure did take a long time for this bastard wood to tell me what it wanted to be: a complete departure from my previous pair of bookcases.
leaning against a wall of my workshop are 18 boards reclaimed from a broken futon frame. The nearest 6 boards were used to build a functional rough design.
Using only the four short and two long boards, I set myself to the task of making an experimental bookcase for my own use.

This model is low and long and close to the ground, well suited to my "Spartan living style" (as described by motorcycle fabricator Norm Plombe).
The rough design is finished and placed, without books.
The shelves are rather narrow and bouncy, and the bottom "shelf" is the floor itself. These factors make the prototype unsuitable for mainstream consumption, but perfect for my meager needs and open spaces.
Here, the finished rough design is shown filled with most of my book collection, down to less than 20% of its prior typical size . . .

Using the remaining twelve regular boards, the upcoming shelf will more than double the weight of my experiment. It will also measure twice as tall and nearly twice as long, gaining stability by wrapping completely around the corner. After framing it I will decide on the use of backing, which would bring another material element into play. I hope instead that my design can allow the bookcase to fit snugly against the wall.

] j [


A Tale of Two Woodpiles {and the Hip Horse}

I will start the tale with the Horse. Now that my role at Hip Thrift is becoming more tangible, I have been granted occasional use of a new used van for the hoarding of the woodpiles.
A dead tree is prepared for its next life as furniture and sculptures.
Last week, someone finally brought down the axe on an old rotting tree in their front yard. And I swept in to pick up the pieces. Pun intended; it's one of those days.
As layers of bark were peeled away to aid in seasoning the dead wood, a crystallized grub was found wedged between the layers.
This is a weird crystallized dead grub.
Another grub is very alive and chewing through the yummy soil-like portions as the dead wood slowly decays.
And this grub was quite alive. Which brings me to a burning question: how can I be sure that this beautifully eroded wood is ready to work once it has been seasoned? I thought of cutting it into small enough pieces and cooking out the critters in my home oven. I also thought of bartering with a local reclaim outfit to use their kiln in exchange for the lion's share of the wood. Has anyone tried to do this on their own? Please leave comments!
This ratty chair was also found on the scene of the crime. What sayeth this forked tongue?
The larger pieces have decayed to just the right state to produce interesting burls, so I am very eager to start seasoning it. I even wonder if some aggressive chainsaw slicing might be good enough for removing all of the little buggers . . .

Now the coolest part of this story is how I met the creator of the Bottitudes. It's her tree in her yard. I always get permission before scrapping, so when we got to talking Susan shared her creations. Look for these funky little raku-glazed bots soon at Hip Thrift.
Susan Lee created the Bottitudes, and this is the mothership.

My son is with me on Spring Break and the next story got him all excited. I have been scoping out construction jobs and scrap piles and finally corralled the boss on this one down on Waynesville Ave.
The foreman of this construction project has allowed CARPEntryDIEM sole scrapping rights on this job site. Hooray!
The foreman is more than happy to let me raid the scrap pile for the duration of construction.
Don't worry, this young man is learning the valuable ways of scrapping, and he is paid a living wage of root beer floats.
And my son is more than happy to get down to it and load some scrap! Call it shameless child labor if you'd like, but does get paid . . . in root beer floats . . .

Whether it be dead trees or seemingly useless piles of scrap, we are on the lookout for wood. I will be sure to put it to good use!
] j [