Of Heart & Sap

With most of my recent work happening on 3d models, woodwork especially has taken a back seat for a long while by now. The want to return to craft a new piece is rising, but in the meantime I’ll use the opportunity to highlight my previous works here, starting with the Marriage Box and how it came about.

One day, I received a surprising letter in my mailbox. A friend of mine from a faraway country had invited me to his wedding. Sadly my lack of funds prevented me from going on a journey to attend their union myself, but at the least I wanted to send a part of me in my stead. 

So started the storm in my brain to float up a set of ideas which would come together in this little box, representing what a joining of two loving souls is meant to be and also keep safe the wedding bands when not worn.

Both of the main parts are made from the same piece of wood, a board of ash. One of heartwood, one of sapwood. While heartwood might be known to some as the strong, better quality wood and sapwood being something to avoid if you can, this really is only true from a very specific (and limited) point of view. So to me, this combination represents the perfect symbolism. All coming from the same root, all needed by the tree, yet each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Neither can stand upright on its own…

…but joined together, supporting one another, they form something more than the sum of their parts. Ready for their purpose, ready to be filled.

In this design, the lid acts as a connecting element as well as one keeping the contents safe from outside influence. Like a protective hand laid upon the loving partners. It is cut from Padauk, polished to a high gloss and features a pair of gilded, stylized rings, (which once again incorporate the theme of leaning on another). Like the rest of the piece, the choice of materials and finish has symbolic meaning as well as visual intent. 

Overall (in spite of my ever present inner perfectionist) I’m still happy with the design and of course that it was very well received and will be treasured for times to come. Satisfaction all around.

Wrapped up snugly for safe shipping

One thing I wish I did, now that I’m writing this post, is take photos along the way of crafting the piece. I’ve done it for other projects, but it seems the deadline on this one made me all but forget. That it consists of two identical parts, which come together through a visible, multi-dovetail joint when facing another pleases me greatly. Alas, there are only a few more photos to share and showing off interesting joints will be left to the future. Maybe it will motivate me to try something extra crazy, who knows!

Just start.

Get things rolling first, worry about steering them into the right direction after.

The above really is the mindset I’ll have to get myself into (and stay in!). There are so many things I “planned to do” or am “figuring out how to approach best”, that it becomes paralyzing and I end up retreating to work on what feels most safe and comfortable at the time. Currently that would be my backlog of unfinished 3d assets that accumulated over the past years. They are fun to work on and I’ve settled into a workflow to get them wrapped up, ready to be put into various stores.

One of the models I’ve finally brushed up and listed in all of my storefronts.

Yet again, as soon as they are at that point, it’s hard to get myself started on creating the needed promo materials like screenshots, store listings and most of all, picking a price, for what feels like too many different storefronts by now as well. Especially with no real sales coming in from any of them yet. It’s much easier for me to just pick the next model to complete and feel like I’m doing good, actual work that way instead.

Which brings me to the main point. While it is valuable and important for me to save all those projects from in-progress hell, to have product to sell, truth is that what I should do, what I need to do, is begin to build a presence and properly market myself and my work. The one thing I’ve been subconsciously dodging for far too long, for various reasons and in various ways.

Now, thankfully I don’t have to worry about spoilage in this new and glorious virtual world and it also created many new forms of how to make a living (some which would previously have been considered ridiculous). At the same time this freedom adds to choice paralysis. My interests range from drawing, painting and sculpting, each of them digitally and traditionally, to photography, making games, woodworking, all other sorts of crafting, cooking and baking. The list goes on.

My appetite to try new things is big, but it’s also costly in time, energy and money. Those are already spread rather thin as it is and with my failure to turn either of my skills into a proper income so far, I need to focus and keep myself in check.

Or so I thought. Just like I thought that my work spanning such a wide range would be a problem when it comes to building a “brand”. Recently however and especially due to friends and people I’ve met encouraging me in different ways, I have started to consider that maybe it really is enough to be me. That there might be no need for a constructed brand, but that simply showing off all the different things I’ve done and do could be appealing and even fascinating in itself and lead to me making a career out of what I enjoy spending my time on.

Being silly and making people laugh with my art is one of the best parts of it.

So instead of planning out a grand scheme and failing to follow through, I’ll just start. With posts like this, with old stuff, with new stuff, maybe some random thoughts about whatever I have going on at the time. I hope you’ll find value in what I have to offer and keep coming back, even if only for your complementary slice of pie.

Enjoy your piece of delicious Lemon Meringue Tart.
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