Crane Cabinets in Ebonized Walnut

Below is a gallery of images of a pair of cabinets built for the bathroom of a couple in Wichita. They are constructed from native (specifically South Eastern Kansas) black walnut, solid and veneered, and white oak. The exterior surfaces were “ebonized” using a process which employs the chemical reaction of an iron solution with tannins in the wood, rendering it black. The design of cranes and bamboo were carved into the surface revealing again the natural color of the walnut in the incised lines. I hired Taylor Johnson to build the casework itself. Using traditional methods, the interior framework is a solid skeleton held together with dovetail and mortise and tenon joints. Taylor fabricated plywood with extra thick shop-made walnut veneer to be able to handle carving without passing through to the inner layers. His focus and skill allowed me to give attention to the design challenges and the artwork and carving and exterior finishing the cabinets. My gratitude goes out to Taylor for his tenacity and dedication to excellence, and also to Steve Hebert, who generously gave his time and energy to brilliantly photograph the cabinets in situ.

Prints of Jacob Wrestling With God

Archival Prints of Jacob Wrestling With God Are Available for Sale!

We have produced two limited editions, one large and one small, reproducing the oil painting I made of Jacob Wrestling with God.  These reproductions were painstakingly digitally edited and then individually printed by my good friend Mike Schultz in his Portland, Oregon studio.  The image is printed on a satisfyingly thick Epson hot press bright white paper using Epson inks.  The colors are vivid, rich and archival.  Each print is personally signed and numbered.

As stated above, we’ve made two sizes of prints, and they are available for sale in our online store, Baumwerkshop.  There is a listing is for the larger of the two, which is 17″ x 20″, and a listing for the smaller, which is 8 1/2″ by 10″.

The original painting of Jacob was made in 2012.  I have continued to be amazed and humbled by the impact the painting has had on people.  I often receive heartfelt messages from individuals expressing to me how the painting has helped them through a difficult season, or has helped to illustrate challenging and meaningful theology.  The image has even found its way onto album covers, book covers, and countless church bulletins.

As a result, many have expressed a desire to have a reproduction of the painting available for sale.  This is the first time I have attempted to produce and sell reproductions of any of my paintings.  I hope that the final product is a blessing to you.

Trestle Table in Black Walnut

I delivered this table to my client’s office last week. It is good to finish a piece and be able to celebrate it. In spite of this I tend to experience a wide range of emotions and second guessing when I finish a job. One thing that never changes though is the gratitude I feel at the opportunity to be a woodworker, one who engages the authentic witness of the trees. They always have a real story to tell about our God and His majesty and faithfulness.

Trestle Table in Black Walnut

Discovering Design

The discovery of the life within the wood and the relationships they form is exciting to uncover. The early decisions are heavy. Every other act in the process is a response to these chalk marks as they try to hear and echo this walnut tree’s voice.

Underpinning Art with Discipline

The romance of the craft is backed up by countless hours of “mundane” work- the discipline that builds skill, and makes up the real life of labor. Days are spent creeping up on this scribed relationship and the foundational joinery. It’s a blessing to work, and to rest in the presence, at the same while striving towards the goal. Don’t mistake me, I’ve only had enough meager success at it to know it’s possible. 

Technology – Joinery

One side of the natural edge was curving away on bottom edge so I had to cut a shallow rebate in order to have a solid joint as well as cleanly scribed edge. This edge was reinforced with dominoes. The opposing edge curved towards the bottom edge and could be cut square. For it I made a floating contoured spline from Baltic birch. Assembled dry all is tight and solid.

Visualize and Establish Form

Finding a way to visualize the elements in a design is an engaging challenge. Krenov spoke of “composing”, and I’ve adopted his method and language -clamping up and mocking up relationships as the process moves forward. I don’t recall if he used tape, but I recently switched from using blue tape to white tape to mask off shapes- the difference is remarkable. 

Labor – Engaging Harvest

The last bit of joinery for the individual trestles is the horizontal rail completing the “H” form, which will eventually carry the longer rail that will join the two trestles together.

I’m grateful for this job, this material, this process. I heard a song that had a line which proclaimed “I am the record of His grace”.

A new print and BAUMWERKSHOP, our new online store

A Witness, the Heavenly Counsel, 2018 linocut print by Jack Baumgartner

Baumwerkshop

Marketing my work has always been precarious territory for me.  At a fundamental level, I am much more interested in making my work than trying to sell it.  Philosophically and morally, I struggle with the slippery slope of salesmanship and authenticity.  Authenticity as a word has already been pretty much trashed by our cultural trend towards filtered-authenticity in order to generate likes and sell products.  I am certainly guilty of it, myself.  Likes are addictive.  But it all leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.  It is hard to not feel like marketing breeds a certain level of dishonesty that we have decided to be ok with as a society. 

Usually my work is both deeply personal and (I hope) deeply spiritual.  I struggle often with the feeling that I am prostituting both myself and the things of God when I set out to peddle these visual representations in the marketplace.  I don’t really have a satisfying resolution for this uncomfortable feeling, except for the opposing weight of the reactions of “my” audience, expressing a desire to share in these things.   

do want to sell my work and provide an income for my family and finance future projects.  It is a part of life and a part of growing, of being fruitful.  It is part of work, which is a divine invitation.

I have a calling to make art and what I hope are beautiful objects, and useful pieces of furniture.  I have a calling to make that work accessible to the culture I am a part of.  I want to try to do that in as straightforward a way as I know how.  This new web store is an effort to do that. 

You can get to the store by going to https://baumwerkshop.com, or you can select the menu of this sight and click on “Purchase Work“.  I really do hope that you will visit and let me know what you think.  I also really hope that you might purchase something, if you see something you like.  There should be some exciting new things showing up there in the coming weeks.

Thank you, for supporting me and following along on this journey.  God is good.

  • Jack

    

The Sacred Process

Is labor a sacrament?  The invitation of the Eighth Day?  A sacred collaboration with the living God?  I can’t help but to note that the call to labor in the garden came before the curse of toil.  I am certain that labor is about more than just earning my bread.  There is something deeper there, not just for the artist, but for the ditch digger and the roofer, the farmer and the nurse.  “Whatever you think, it’s more than that…”  ISB.

summer woodwork - 6

 

summer woodwork - 1

summer woodwork - 2

summer woodwork - 8

summer woodwork - 3

summer woodwork - 4

summer woodwork - 15

summer woodwork - 14

summer woodwork - 12

summer woodwork - 11

summer woodwork - 13

summer woodwork - 5

summer woodwork - 7

summer woodwork - 10

summer woodwork - 9

summer woodwork - 19

summer woodwork - 20

summer woodwork - 21

summer woodwork - 22

summer woodwork - 24

summer woodwork - 23

summer woodwork - 26

summer woodwork - 25

summer woodwork - 27

summer woodwork - 29

summer woodwork - 28

summer woodwork - 17

summer woodwork - 16

summer woodwork - 35

summer woodwork - 18

summer woodwork - 30

summer woodwork - 32

summer woodwork - 31

summer woodwork - 33

summer woodwork - 34

Mule Resophonic Witness

I recently completed work on the handmade certificate of authenticity for Mule Resophonic Guitars, shipping him the first Batch this past week.  I hope you enjoy the finished piece and a few photos of the printing process.

Mule Resophonic Witness, 2018 linocut, printed with sepia ink on French’s paper

The block after numerous printings becomes a beautiful object.

The first batch of prints sent off to Matt Eich, now to be included with every guitar he and his team build, including the name of the customer and the number of the guitar written in the banners at the bottom of the print.

inking the block

Tthe trusty and bespattered 4″ speedball brayer.

A detail of the inked block.

Registering the paper on the block and press bed using a simple jig.

The delicate task of lifting the print from the block post printing.

print and block side by side

Examining the proof for flaws

The much reworked original drawing of the design.