Java Canyon Table: The Back Story
Working as a boat carpenter most of my life and owning two vessels… SERENA and TANSY LEE, I felt the need to branch out into Art Furniture. For me, “the urge to be creative without bulwarks on creativity”, was appealing… dream up whatever you want, build it… I’m in.
I saw a wood and glass combination coffee table that was stunning and inspired me to try and utilize similar materials and method to create my own my custom coffee table.
The technique is reversing the live edge of the wood and placing it inward, then the river is ‘let in’ (routed down 1/4 inch) for the thickness of the glass. The glass creates a natural river look… resulting with a shoreline perception of really clear water displaying an interesting and realistic sub terrain.
I liked it a lot. Enough so, the search for the right wood to create my own nature-themed table was on. I visited my favorite lumber yard knowing they would have something that would get my attention. And they did.
After taking inventory, I noticed a piece of Carob that was standing on its own in the corner, pretty rough looking, broken in one area, split and ragged looking in another… It was understandable why people passed over it, being the last piece in their ‘lot’ of Carob.
The colors did intrigued me as there was a lot of deep red and bright yellows, all which seemed pretty rare. That’s when ideas began to form and I knew I’d have to succumb to the voice I heard inside me…. “buy me, you won’t be disappointed”, and so I did. The board with it’s warm reddish colors was like the Grand Canyon and the live edge raucousness was that of the of the canyon walls… it was easy see the theme of the ‘Java Canyon Table’.
I noticed later in the local Woodcraft magazine, where competitions were plentiful around the nation… but, the biggest and arguably the most prestigious was the San Diego / Del Mar Fair… so there was the challenge, and it was on.
When the results were in, ‘Java Canyon’ scored a mere 69 /100 with the judges, didn’t place anywhere, although it did have the poll position as you entered the door at the ‘Design in Wood’ venue.
Now, when I was in school a grade of 69 was a D+… (I was used to seeing a few of those in High school). As I retrieved the table at the end of the Fair, a lady handed me an envelope in the closing out procedure and said, “Congratulations, you’ll like this!”, I said what for? She handed me an envelope that was titled, “People’s Choice, 2015″… (It even had a check inside).
I must say that was the most rewarding D+ I ever got. The public validation in this form of art was something I never experience before and it felt nice and also sparked the desire to try again.
African Java Gold
What I learned at last year’s competition was that color was a major factor in viewing and first impression’s usually stay with people. So, I had my woods selected in my mind and a design came into view as and found some outrageous ‘Quilted Maple’…
I thought they would make attractive boarders, as they had the Giraffe, Cheetah patterning that I thought would help characterize the African theme.
I would use my boatbuilding handrails design for the outer frame and it would have two rivers this time, with a spill over area.
The curved elephant legs added strength and stability which is tied together with curved solid brass roundbar.
The paduk lamination represents the life blood of Africa. As of this writing, the ‘African Java Gold’ table is on display at the ‘Design in Wood’ venue San Diego / Del Mar Fair and in the poll position for the second time in a row.
It was my high school days of turning a bowl and other things I remembered as being fun.
So I purchased a lathe to turn belaying pens for a customer, and memories served me right, I still enjoyed the process of taking a blank stick of wood and removing the fat until something beautiful happens.
Here’s some various art pieces I’ve worked on over the years.
I turned all the basic stuff like, wine stoppers, eloquent pens, ice cream scoops, potato peelers, high end brushes, then an original creative piece that I called, “Cocobolo Vase with a Jacket of Spokes,” which is a candle holder / kerosene light holder.