Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wagon Train Plaques

These plaques are listed at Worthopedia http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pair-1937-folk-art-carved-wood-marquetry-wagon .   The backs are signed by Russell M. Blood
Isn't it interesting the extent of the variety of items that were made by our parents?  I remember that the hanger was two pieces of leather strips tied in a knot at one end and the two loose ends glued to the edge of the plaque at the top.  Very original. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011


The letter and the vintage pieces are from Nikki Stahn Anderson,  it was a real thrill to receive these items especially with a letter that shows their history.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Knitting Cowboy

This should have been cropped and I may get around to doing it and then fix this post, but for now this will have to do. Do you think the horse is winking?
It is time to get back to this project, so here is my new beginning. Dad did sign this one and it is dated 1983.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cedar Chests

 I couldn't decide which blog to use for this post.  Since it has to do with Dad's woodworking skills, I chose this one.  We all loved Mother's cedar chest that was made by Dad in the early days of their marriage.  Later as we grew up and left  to make a home of our own, he made cedar chests for us or our spouses as well.  Later he tried keep up with increasing grandchildren.  He did not totally succeed with that, but he tried.

As you can see, mine sits at the end of my bed and is the first thing you see upon entering the room.  Right now it stores winter sweaters.  The lid is lifted on a daily basis September through May, with a few times the other three months.
When I show my grandchildren my name with the fancy letters, they are so impressed.  I don't know which font this is, but it was not the plainest nor the easiest.  (Remember the book of letters that our parents used for patterns for various projects?  They would have loved the computer.) 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Bits and Pieces

Here is a log of Dad's time in making seven marquetry pictures of the Tetons:
2 1/2 hours patching bottom part of pictures
3 1/2 hours sawing bottom part of picture
2 1/2 hours sawing bottom part of pictures
2 hours patching
2 1/2 hours sawing
4 hours July 31
2 hours August 1
3 1/2 hours Aug 3
2 hours

I am asked constantly about the amount of time Dad might have spent doing a picture, so I thought this might be of interest.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bits and Pieces

I have found a few of Dad's notes about his marquetry that I thought might be of interest. Some of this will be of interest to Steve, but other notes will perhaps be of interest to others. I have not changed Dad's spelling - what is shared here is as he wrote it.

"For 6 sided Lamp shade Frames, saw table set at 60 degrees. Fence set at 3/8-5/8 from fence does all the cutting - 1" x 5 5/8 cuts 2 strips moulding."

The following list is not dated, but it gives an incredible insight into how many pieces Dad made. However, there are some that are not listed here, i.e. the Norman Rockwell covers he did -the cowboy knitting, Dwight has one, and I am not sure who has any others. Where Dad has listed the date, there is an added value to the list - wish we had more of the dates, although he did note the date directly on some of the pieces I have, and possibly on some of the pieces you have.
List of Inlays:
1 Horse & Barn
1 Harbor Scene - Budd Inlet 18 1/2 x 21
1 Bucking Horse
2 Landscapes 12/15
1 Old Barn 20 x 17
1 New England Landscape 15 x 19
1 Landscape - Fence and gate 20 x 15
1 Ship 15 1/4 x 12 3/4
1 Winter scene 18 5/8 x 18 1/2 - Cabin and Barn
1 Gig Harbor 17 5/8 x 23
Indian with rifle 28 x 20
1 Castle 27 x 34
1 Venetian Scene 22 1/2 x 20 1/2
1 Cowboy 23 x 26
1 Stage Coach 20 x 34
1 Indian & horse 23 x 26
1 Landscape with fence 18 1/2 x 22 3/4
1 Landscape Mountain with small cabin 18 1/2 x 22 3/4
1 Small Winter Scene 10 3/4 x 9 "Silent Night"
1 Indian Head 3/4 " 12 1/4 x 17 3/8
1 Old Rancher 11 x 16
1 Indian Head 11 x 16
1 Mexican Bandit 11 x 16
1 Elk 13 x 15 3/4
1 Mt. Scene - From Country Gentleman made 1936 (13 x 16 1/8)
1 Headwaters - winter scene 12 x 18
1 Haying - Made in Penrose 1936 (16 1/2 x 12 1/4)
1 Mt Sheep Silhouette 15 3/4 x 13
1 Stage Coach 19 1/2 x 15 5/8 Penrose 1936
1 Old Mill 17 1/8 x 13 1/8 1940
1 Riders-Western from Colliers Magazine (Ralston 1940) 21 1/8 x19
1 Cape Cod Landscape with FiddleBack maple frame 17 x 20 1/2
14 Western Silhouettes
3 Covered wagon silhouettes
1 Castle Chilon (14 1/4 x 12 1/4)
1 Indian Head - Birds Eye Background 10 3/4 x 15 3/4
1 Elk Oval 11 3/4 x 9 1/4
1 Mt. Scene for tray unfinished 10 1/4 x 21 1/2
1 Town in the Mountains 9 x 21
1 Mt Scene Same as in trays 9 1/2 x 20 1/4
1 Indian in Canoe 10 1/2 x 12 1/4
5 Teton trays (15 3/8 x 20 5/8) Made in 1964
2 Oval Landscape Trays with boat in foreground ( 11 3/4 x 15 3/4)
2 Deserted house (14 5/8 x 17 5/8)
1 Harbor Scene - Budd Inlet 18 1/2 x 21
1 Mt Ranier (16 x 21 1/2)
5 Mt Scene trays long
1 Mt sheep tray
1 covered wagon tray
1 Mahogany cook book
1 Mahogany box with inlay Silhouette (10 x 12)
6 Walnut Jewelery Boxes with inlay (5 x 8)
26 pair inlay bookends

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Conclusion (for now) of Photos of Russell M. Blood's Marquetry Posted by Dwight Blood

Well, I finished the project, at least for now.  There are a few pictures with color casts or backgrounds that I don't like, but they'll have to wait for further fixing.  I'm glad, however, that I had this opportunity to take all of the pictures that have passed down to me off the walls where they have hung and study each one carefully and reproduce them in photography.  Without preparing this family archive of Dad's woodwork, much, if not most, of his incredible work would be lost to others and never seen or appreciated.  This task has brought home indelibly to me the incredible talent that Dad had and his lifelong devotion to wood and wood craftsmanship that began during the heart of the Great Depression in the 1930s and continued until his death in 1993.  As a youngster, woodcraft projects in various stages were always under way.  Even though Dad made our family living as a farmer and dairyman, his true love was art and marquetry.  Some how he found the time though working a grueling lifetime of hard farm work to generate a continual flow of work. 

When Dad died, we six siblings cast lots and drew numbers to see who got which pictures.  We all coveted the castle masterpiece that Ann was lucky enough to get, but the method was more fair than in olden days when I managed to fix the best easter egg transfers and valentines so that when my turn came around I was more lucky than others.

The greatest legacy we children received, besides the love and nurturing we received through difficult and some times heart wrenching years of our growing up , is our share of the inlaid pictures.  When they hang on the wall forever, they sort of become a part of the scenery and we take them for granted.  Then, when we take them down and oil them and study each one carefully for pattern and wood grain and fit and incredible artistic talent and craftsmanship, we are blessed once more with an acute awareness of how much Dad's talent meant to each of us.  He had hoped to make a living with his woodwork.  He would be incredulous if he realized how much some of these pictures are now worth.  Of course, none of them will ever be sold outside the family because their personal worth to us and to our descendants far outweighs any monetary reward we could ever receive from them.

And so my Dad sitting on the white stool in front of the scroll saw that somehow he managed to acquire even during the Great Depression and cutting out intricate pieces of inlaid picture after inlaid picture is an indelible part of my growing up.  And the legacy of the pictures I now possess is one of the most important gifts I have received in my life.

Small Mountain Scene with Moon

This small picture, measuring  5 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches, is an example of numerous small pictures that Dad made.  I think probably he was using up wood scraps and also that it was fun for him to play around with something different and relatively simple.
These two pictures of mountain scenes with trees and a stream make a beautiful pair to hang side by side.  Each of these pictures measures 15 x 12 inches and were made in 1968.

Trees by a Mountain Lake with Boat

While one of Dad's least complex pieces, this inlaid picture of a peaceful mountain lake is one of his most popular inlays and portrays an idyllic scene to which everyone can relate and long for.  Measuring 10 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, the picture is undated though you can see that Dad burned his name on the bottom of the oval.

The Pony Express Rider

The Pony Express Rider was one of Dad's most popular designs.  He usually paired this picture with the companion Cattle Roundup picture below.  The pictures I have were made in 1976 and measure 15 x 19 inches.

Riderless Horse in Mountain Scene

This inlaid picture of a riderless horse in a mountain scene was the second most difficult picture to get a decent shot of.  I'm sure more expert people know how to get a true square in a light box with a large picture, but I haven't figured that one out yet.  The picture measures 18 1/2 by 26 1/2 inches and was completed in October 1990.  Dad gave me this picture for some reason that escapes me now but which I wish I had noted on the back of the picture.  Again, study the wood grains and veneer patterns to appreciate what a tremendous accomplishment the making of a picture and work of art like this is.
This inlaid picture of a tree with bare branches on a snowy day with an ice-clogged stream is another of the most familiar images in our family.  Dad made many duplicates of this picture and it has always remained a family favorite.  The picture measures 12 x 18 inches and is undated, although Dad burned "Garland Wyoming" on the back.

What was involved in taking these photographs of my Dad's inlaid pictures

I have four sisters, and they tend to be bossy at times, and to hand out numerous instructions at other times.  Liz started this blog as a way to provide an archive of the incredible body of artistry through inlaid veneers that our dad created during his lifetime.  Ann, who tends to know a lot of stuff, opined that it was no big deal as she whipped out a light box and took a batch of photos, I presume, in a half hour or so.  It took me a bit longer as I had to make a big enough light box to accommodate the stagecoach picture which is nearly 36 inches wide.  I said a couple of words along the way, but nothing that Dad would not have approved of.  In my case, I bought 5 sheets of foam board by hazarding visits to the Hobby Lobby and hunted up a couple of shop lights at Lowes.  I used white foam board tape to put the miserable thing together.  The photos were shot with a Canon 7d camera which I confess I do not know how to use but intend to learn how it works in the near future.  My wife has been appalled at the mess my den has been in for the past 58 years or so, more or less, and now she is sorry that I took over the entire family room in the lower level of our house for my artsy craftsy stuff, as attested to in the above photo.

I will have a few more things to add later to the blog.  Each of my children have several pictures, some of which are not duplicates of what I have shown here.

I suggest that siblings who have comments on the pictures do so under "edit posts" rather than the comments section, which many people never look at.  Especially, Steve, and maybe Liz, you may have comments on veneers and technical aspects of how these pictures were made that should be of interest to anyone who looks through this blog.

Small Wall Plaques

Dad made many, many of these and similar small wall plaques over the years.  The care and effort that went into these small inlaid pictures was just as skilled as were the large inlaid pictures.  Note especially the beautiful veneers in the bottom plaque just above.