On the Eleventh Day of Christmas…

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Eleven ropes a swinging,
Ten birthdays and counting,
Nine, oh so cutesy,
Eight canes, not candy,
Seven snowman monsters,
Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

I think I went a bit off the rails with these snowmen. Maybe a bit too much Martha Stewart, not enough Corbusier.

 

Click here to see the tenth day of Christmas.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas…

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Ten birthdays and counting,
Nine, oh so cutesy,
Eight canes, not candy,
Seven snowman monsters,
Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

Here’s a simple snowman ornament to commemorate the ten years Robyn, Beck and I have been a family. Technically, if you include the nine months Robyn spent carrying Beck around before he was born and the couple of months since his 10th birthday, it’s been eleven years. But why quibble.

Click here to see the ninth day of Christmas.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas…

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Nine, oh so cutesy,
Eight canes, not candy,
Seven snowman monsters,
Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

 

If you are just tuning in to this blog, here’s a quick recap. Every year at Christmas I create a snowman ornament for my wife, Robyn. Read about it here. This year morphed into the Twelve Days of Christmas. We are on day nine.

Cute is the word of the day. Some of these snowmen began their lives as sketches, others sort of evolved in my hands (you can do that easier in clay than wood).

Concept Sketches

Below is… the Snowman Executioner. Dum dum da dummm… Sometimes designs evolve in an unintentional direction. I didn’t set out to create an executioner (springtime usually takes care of the snowman overpopulation problem on its own) and, as you can see, it didn’t look that way on the concept sketch. Oh well, another snowman gone bad.

… and finally, a couple of malnourished snowmen. Remember to feed your snowmen, kids!

Click here to see the eighth day of Christmas.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas…

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Eight canes, not candy,
Seven snowman monsters,
Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

I designed these little snowmen to look like icicles hanging on a Christmas tree. Honestly, they don’t look much like snowmen or icicles. Cigarettes, maybe? Uhhh… just say no, kids!

Click here to see the seventh day of Christmas.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Seven snowman monsters,
Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

Nothing says Christmas like snowman monsters! Some of these are bipolar (from the North Bi-pole, of course).

Glazed, but not yet fired in the kiln
Concept Sketch

 

Click here to see the sixth day of Christmas.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Six scrap metal remnants,
Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

Concept Sketch

If you have ever dallied among the tents of a craft show, you have undoubtedly seen cute, little animals crafted from junkyard scraps. I always admire the contrast created by hard mechanical objects depicting soft organic. So, I took a trip to my local hardware store. This is the result.

…and here are a few of my metal snowmen from year’s past.

Click here to see the fifth (and 1/2) day of Christmas.

On the Fifth (and 1/2) Day of Christmas…

On the fifth (and 1/2) day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Five… more snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

We’re talking tectonic minimalism here. The question of the day is, “what is the bare essence of a snowman?” Do we need eyes, buttons, scarf, pipe, etc. to capture that essence?

The answer: Something round and sporting a top hat appears to be the bare minimum that most people perceive as a snowman. Adding a carrot puts it on firmly on solid ground.

The next question: how many ways can you place the carrot and what does that do to the design?

Finally, does adding color reinforce the design or detract from it?

It’s obviously subjective, but I lean toward the purity of the unfinished, sculptural snowmen shown below.

Something fun to ponder: Notice the visual difference between the two snowmen below. It is entirely due to the position of the carrots. With the carrot positioned at the top, the wood ring appears as a body, while at the bottom it appears as a head. It is so cool that such a minor alteration causes such a major impact!

 

Click here to see the fifth day of Christmas.

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Five… snow… man… rings,
Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

On the fifth day of Christmas, you must have rings. Lords a leaping are expendable, and maids a milking? Seriously? let’s face it, nobody wants the turtledoves, either, but rings are essential.

So, today is about rings.

Glazing the ornaments

 

Click here to see the fourth day of Christmas.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas…

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Four carved from a nut,
Three disc men,
Two simple blocks,
and a snowman family straight from the sea.

Australian Bull Banksia Nut

What do you get when you clamp a nut from an Australian Bull Banksia tree onto a wood lathe? Nothing – until you turn it on and jam your chisel into the spinning nut. Then all hell breaks loose.

The nut has a hard, lumpy skin and a wood center, but between these is a layer of fluffy seed-like material that breaks apart on contact, flying through the air in a torrential blizzard of  skin chips and fuzz. I’m hoping to torch my workshop before I have to clean it.

Good times.

All four of these ornaments were made from a single nut. The three larger ornaments are designed as table decorations, while the smaller one above hangs on the tree.

Click here to see the third day of Christmas.