Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Open   Studios     is happening this weekend and next weekend.

Spend some time on the next two weekends checking out over a hundred artists, their work and their studios.  The cost for the guidebook which has maps, photos and a picture of the artist's work is $15.

I have a couple free ones.

This year during the next two weekends I will be working on a pair of arched windows They will go over the doors to my studio.

Here is the drawing I am working from. The woodwork will be extensively carved in an Art Nouveau style. The small interior dividers will be lead came.

 I plan to sprinkle a fine indigo frit on a large sheet of glass and then fuse it hopefully creating a gradient from clear and wavey glass at the bottom of the window to an intense prussian blue arcing across the top. I can then cut that sheet up and solder it into this leaded glass window.

Wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Right now I am in the process of creating the rough frame out of salvaged old growth redwood. It's looking a little scary. 

I'm still confident.

My shop floor was custom painted by Jackson Pollock during one of his darker moments.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Open Studios and Jim and Ruth's New Home

Open Studios is Fast Approaching ....

My studio will be participating in Open Studios again this year. Please take this opportunity to see not only where I work but also over a hundred other artists studios in metropolitan Portland.

October 10  -  11
October  17  -  18
10:00 am to 5:00pm

My studio is at 5125 NE 19th Ave
I will have some free tickets for the program there to give away.
Or you can purchase a calendar / ticket at New Seasons.

Jim and Ruth's New Home

Last October Jim and Ruth approached me to help them to re-imagine their 1978 builders "spec" house into a place they would enjoy for years to come.

Here's the story in pictures and a few words...

Here come the before pictures

These are photos of the back of the house.  Now I will take you inside.

you can see I wasn't too interested in image quality.

I produced a design that tore out the back wall of the house and gutted the entire rear of the house.  The front of the house is still historically correct.  We'll deal with that later.

So Satisfying

This, as you can see, is the new rear of the house with a roof line that resolves better the previous roof mash up.
The deck is Honduras Mahogany and the 5' overhanging deck roof is supported by three solid 8"x 8" western red cedar posts.
We extended the left hand end of the house to create a Master Bedroom suite.

The master bedroom has three pairs of french doors on two of its exterior walls opening onto the rear deck and garden.

New simple vg fir cabinetwork, bamboo floors and granite counters.  Lots more windows looking into the garden.

The living room's entire rear wall is 3 pairs of french doors, again opening onto the rear deck and backyard garden.

The center portion of the ceiling is raised and paneled with fir flooring.  This allows for continuous recessed lighting in the surrounding soffet.

Two solar tubes dazzle the room with light. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Pair of Front Doors for my Daughter

My daughter and her family have returned from years of living overseas to reside in Portland.

I am thrilled. 

I designed a pair of doors for her new house that are eight feet tall, five feet wide, and two and a quarter inches thick. 

Lang, my daughter, and I designed a family crest in the style of a Japanese Komen. 

This is what we developed. The idea was to carve it into the center panel on both sides of each door.

It's getting exciting!

After hours of carving and fussing I was able to assemble the doors.  Here they are leaning against the wall in my shop.

Here they are with a finish on them. I opted for a delicate oil finish on the interior (shown here) and a bulletproof exterior finish that is almost clear with a bit of orange / brown pigment.
I started these doors in September and here it is February and they are ready to install.
I'll send pictures of the final installation.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Lovely Woodworking Studio

One of the positive effects of aging is that I am now working on a project for the son of one of my special friends and sometimes client.

Rex and Emily approached me about a design for a very special combination garage and shop.  We started out thinking alot about Bernard Maybeck's work and we were especially taken with the Mathewson House

I've always loved this design and have long wanted an opportunity to play with it.

Here is what I came up with.....

We kept working at the fenestration and we arrived at this.
Lower siding will be horizontal lap, the window sills wrap around the facade to seperate the lower siding from the cedar shingles above. 
Above both doors will be a clear red cedar 12" wide vertical board and batten siding.

The owners are going to build the windows and doors under my direction.

We have the shell built, here are some photos....

 The big pile of trash on the right helps to anchor the picture.

At this stage it takes some imagination..

We're pretty stoked.

 One whole side of the building is set into a low bank with a handset retaining wall.

The view from inside the shop is across their backyard.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Garden Gate Revisited

I continue to work on my garden gates.  Lately I have designed a cane bolt for it. This is a drawing of it in my sketchbook.

I later went on to make a full sized drawing that I took it to my good friend Arnon Kartmazov to forge in stainless steel.  He turned the project over to his partner, a colorful Chech blacksmith Nitzan Lille.  This was the result.........

They both put their stamps into the handle

It works beautifully.
I'm thrilled.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two Gates - Two Brothers

Kevin Downing

Kevin has been my brother and a woodworker all his life.  For a number of years he worked with me in the craft.  He stopped doing it professionally some time ago and is now an important force in the DEQ significantly contributing to the air quality we take for granted here in Portland.

He continues to do woodworking creating great beauty though.

This is for his home. It is western red cedar with a bamboo screen in the gate. 

The rafter ends are painted white.  I especially like how some of the rafters are paired closely together.

The gate posts are cut to fit on the granite boulders of the foundation. There is a 3"x1/2" x 24" steel bar running vertically inside the post, through the rock and into a buried concrete foundation.  It looks so great and it is powerfully strong.


My Own Gate,

You have seen the watercolor of this in a previous entry. Here it is. 
It's a combination of styles with carved almost Gothic tracery in bottom panels and the organic Art Nouveau
top rail.

I'm enjoying hand carving more and more.  The tracery was hand carved as was the little sweeping roof over them.

That top curve became more and more thrilling as I carved.