Good to be home again

Thanks to all of the people who braved the cold weather and poor lighting to come see me in Toledo last weekend. It was not the greatest venue to depth of the beauty that lacquer offers, but it was a good chance to spread the word about this little known craft. I look forward seeing everyone again and hopefully meeting more new people again next summer!

After spending the following couple of days stocking up on supplies to take back with me, particularly, peanut butter, pretzels and cheese (the real kind), which are all sorely missing where we live in Japan, it was time to go back home. Thankfully, the return flights were very uneventful. As someone who usually spends most of the flight with an image in the back of my head of both engines failing at the same time or something equally disastrous, I couldn’t have asked for more.

It is good to be home again, and I wasted no time getting back to work. The maple leaf bowls I brought with me were more popular that I had anticipated, so I have decided to make several more while I still have the chance. I need to do it while there are still leaves on the trees. We are towards the end of the fall colors, so there is no time to waste. Today was a nice sunny day today, which made it a pleasure to work outside. Lacquer work involves a lot of wet sanding, as each coat must be sanded prior to the next coat. This evens finish, removes the dust and dirt specks and provides a rougher surface for the next coat to adhere to. Before long, I will have to move indoors, but I prefer to work outside next to the stream that runs behind our house. It’s a much better view. Plus, I don’t have to worry about making a mess in the kitchen.

I also made some more progress on one of my other projects. It is a small box that I will finish in black and then decorate it likely with a flower drawn in silver. It has been my first experience applying a base layer of diatomaceous earth and will be my first true attempt at maki-e. Whenever possible a sanding block, whetstone or charcoal block is used to sand the work. The smoother and more even the surface, the better the final appearance will be. When working with high gloss, even tiny imperfections become glaring defects. I suppose, to me, this challenge is also part of what makes it so rewarding.

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