Monday, May 13, 2013

How About Sculptures from Reclaimed Treasures

What I really have fun doing is to try and create unique sculptures from reclaimed wood. To me this is an interesting challenge, looking at a piece of cypress that has been eaten away hundreds of years ago by fungus and trying to figure out what it could look like finished. I now have an appreciation for what sculptors go through in their creation process. No, I am not a sculptor, but it is fun going through the process. All of my work shown here is deadhead cypress which I obtained from my friends at Bruner Lumber.

This is the end of a pecky cypress log, sliced to 2 inches and very rough.

And here is the finished sculpture, with a metal base from my friend Mack.

These were quite the visual challenge.

The left one was turned into a lazy susan.

The right one made into a large appetizer platter. Sure these are not sculptures, but then the brain went this way instead.

Back to cypress sculptures:

This cypress piece I found half buried. After the first power wash, it was ready for sanding.

And here is the final 60" sculpture with a metal base.

Pecky cypress round sculpture #1

Pecky cypress round sculpture #2

Pecky cypress round sculpture #3

Pecky cypress round sculpture #4

40" rectangular pecky cypress sculpture #5

And here they are, all dressed and ready for the ball.

When I started doing sculptures, I found that I needed to have an artistic metal person to work with for my bases and other metal needs. Luckily I found Mack Corley who runs Mack Metal Art in Panama City. He did the above bases, a real boring and simple job for an artist like Mack, who does great metal art work for houses - gates, railings, wall mounts, table bases, etc.
Here is my friend Mack with an idea for a plant bracket and table bases in his truck.

And finally, here is the latest cypress sculpture from the end piece of a pecky log. This one is 4" thick and I refer to is as the "boss hog." I reclaimed this from the bottom of a stack of lumber, being used as a spacer.

Well, that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed another tour of Mother Nature's reclaimed treasures. Here's an idea: if you have an old favorite tree that has passed away and would like to keep some of it as a memory, why not have your local tree man cut some to make a table top, stump table, stool, or a sculpture. Then it can live forever.

Remember: "Around each corner lies a new adventure."

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, Florida

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Around Each Corner Lies a New Adventure"

I have been talking about creating unique products from reclaimed wood in previous blogs. Let me take a moment and digress into other types of recycling things into useful and maybe not so useful products. Rather than just throwing an item into a dumpster, often I will look at it and say "what other use can be made of this thing." It might end up in the dumpster anyway, but sometimes the creative juices flow and  bingo, a new "something" is born. However, it still might end up in the dumpster. I have to admit I learned this from my daughter Lisa. While living in Italy, she would pick up old furniture and stuff in many places. Then take it home and create something neat. Then when she moved to America, she did the same thing, along with flea markets and garage sales.  I started my "recycle" career by working with her on some of the stuff to create saleable items. Thanks Lisa for the training.
So, here I go with some good and not so good recycled things to share with you.

Mark and I created drink coasters. I found and cut the logs and he painted them. Sold a few and gave many away as gifts.

Then while at Jim's and Norm's cabins, I noticed some great birch logs. The result was a number of holiday centerpieces that Lisa sold at her antique booth in Atlanta. They don't have birch trees here in the South and they sell well.

5 candle centerpiece with white birch log.

Birch log centerpieces ready for Lisa to sell in Atlanta.

Several years ago, our South Walton beaches went thru a beach renourishment project. We normally have few shells, but with the new sand came a lot of shells. What to do? Well make something. My grandchildren and I had a great time finding the shells and making things when they visited. I found that not only can one make fun things from recycled stuff, it is also a fabulous thing to do with grandchildren. Good memories.

Shell ball with Lucine shells from South Walton beaches.

The grandkids dyed the Lucine shells and made this fun ball.

We had a lot of fun making these shell frames, then putting in photos of the trip.

A lot of poked figures came from making this Auger shell ball.

Then my friend Diana sent me a photo of cut wine bottle candles. This led to another "adventure." Recycling wine bottles by cutting them and pouring wax to create candles. Must have gone thru 100s of wine bottles before I learned the process. Fortunately, my community has a recycle dumpster for glass. I became know as the "dumpster diver." Even have a few scars where I cut myself on the doors. Here are some of the results. A lot of fun.

Cut wine bottles and soy wax candles

Large wine bottles cut on the bottom to form hurricane toppers with poured wine bottle candles inside.

Caught in the act of pouring the candles. If you look closely, you will see the empty aquarium Mark and I used to do "research" on sea creatures - too bad, they all died.

Then Mark and I read about hydro - planters. We decided to try them with recycled cut wine bottles, bamboo  and air plants. He made the plants grow, I killed mine. Sold a few of these also and had fun, but then we moved on to new "adventures." Here are our Hydro Planters.

Me and the two piece planter.

Hydro planters with bamboo and air plants.

Me and Mark with our creations.

It is fun to see how new, fun things can be made out of old, recycled stuff once we open our mind. "This could be that" - "this could be that" - "this could be that."
Here are some of those "thats" that came from a loose brain.

A bamboo serving tray made with a frame that Del made and bamboo harvested nearby.

After seeing small glass fragrance containers with bamboo sticks and oil, I thought this could be a seller. So ahead with a new idea. Wrong. Well, I still have a lot of them. They do keep my garage-workshop sweet smelling however.

Then Ki saw a photo of a copper penny backsplash in a magazine. The result - we have a penny backsplash along with reclaimed pecky cypress from Bruner Lumber.

Fun lamps can be made from recycled or reclaimed materials. Lucky, no electrical shocks, just a couple of cut fingers on these "creations."

One day Ki and Lisa were in a local antique store and saw this old porch post. They loved it and the colors matched our living room. "Sure" some lamps can be made, I was told. Well, can't argue with the two of them so here are the results.

 Floor lamp.

Table lamp.

Then when visiting Lisa, she gave me these "finds" to create lamps. Can't turn down your daughter.

Old minnow bucket lamp. Perfect for a cabin. How many of these are sitting in old cabin garages.

And the old hollow post lamp. Thank goodness they sold, would not have wanted them in my house.

Here's a good one. When I partnered with Lisa at the Atlanta Scott's Antique Market last month, a vendor across the aisle specialized in silver furnishings of all sorts. One item that was popular was old spoons. He had 1000s of them. I showed this photo to my 15 year old granddaughter Bianca and she said "can you make me a spoon ring." Never turn done a grandchild request. So here are the results.

1000s of old spoons for sale at $1 apiece. It was a feeding frenzy. The woman in the stripped shirt asked if I was single. Said no, then she asked if any of my buddies were. Any takers?

And here are the spoon rings for Bianca and Sophia.

Had a scrap piece of cypress so made a mirror out of it. Jane sent me a photo of a reclaimed wood mirror and here we go into mirrors.

Thanks for looking at this latest blog. We had a lot of fun making all these items from reclaimed and recycled stuff. And best of all, a lot of memories came from the process. I love the saying "around each corner is a new adventure." Especially when you are rounding each of Nature's corners.
Let the adventures begin.

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, FL