Better than seeing The Lord in a grilled-cheese sandwich
Every year or so someone sees Jesus in their tea leaves or window fog, but a Northern California woodworker unveiled a miracle of his own at the 29th annual Design in Wood Exhibition, sponsored by the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association.
At first I thought the walnut panels featured in the Joseph Bush’s “Orchard Lover’s Cabinet” were a masterwork of faux graining, but when I opened the doors and saw the same grain on the back side of the panels, I knew this was no paint job. According to show coordinator Bob Stevenson, Bush had held onto the amazing his-hers flitch for 10 years before building the cabinet. The miraculous figure came from the graft between the English walnut and American walnut parts of the tree. I was also happy to see that the claro walnut cabinet’s overall design and craftsmanship lives up to the miraculous panels, with a tasteful base and impeccably fitted drawers and doors. By the way, take a closer look and you’ll see a book-matched heart in the center panel, joining the two lovers.
I’ve probably seen a hundred thousand pieces of furniture in my decade at Fine Woodworking, but I’ve never seen anything quite like these two sequential slices, unmistakeably a man and a woman, as beautifully rendered as any painter could do. It’s enough to start making me look for The Good Lord in my French toast.
There were plenty of other wonders at this year’s Design in Wood show, put on each year by the country’s largest woodworking guild, and housed at the mammoth, month-long San Diego County Fair. In fact there were over 400 entries, beating last year’s total by 100. Seems the bad economy has been good for woodworking, or maybe the pros just have more pieces that haven’t sold yet. Either way, the show was the best I’ve seen in my five years of attending.
Fine Woodworking gave out a special award for furniture design to Reuben Foat for his homage (I think) to one of FWW’s contributing editors, Garrett Hack. Foat’s “Not a Hack Table” is more angular than Hack’s work, but just as elegant, with playful inlay to match its tongue-in-cheek name.
The yearly show at the Del Mar fairgrounds always showcases dozens of tasteful turnings.
But my favorite turning was "Gollypod Family" by Jason Lane. I'm not sure what world he is living in, but I like it.
This rich show also draws some of the best carvers in the country.
I gave Fine Woodworkings special award for furniture design to Reuben Foat's "Not a Hack Table." Every detail is considered in this delicate piece. I'd love to have it in my own home.
I was charmed when I found out that a father and son made this scale car and trailer, named, inevitably, "Life is a Beach." I've heard that Gary and Kelsey Clark are already hard at work on their next replica.
With a working electric motor and an excellent steering mechanism, the car is ready for a small child to climb in and take off.
Under the barbecue lid, I found this grill, spatula, hamburger, and black briquets, like everything else, made from wood.
As Joseph Bush sliced through a miraculous piece of walnut, he saw the picture in the grain change from a man to a woman. They face each other in his "Orchard Lover's Cabinet," with a book-matched heart between them.