Posts Tagged ‘scott shangraw’

Our Africa Adventure

July 19, 2019

We recently traveled to Tanzania with some of my family (11 of us total). It was an absolutely amazing trip and we’ll always remember it. We got to have quality time with family and see some incredible animals and scenery. Tanzania is just gorgeous and was much greener than expected and the people were the friendliest we had ever encountered.  Since we went during their winter, the weather was very nice and actually cool at night.

Women carrying baskets on their heads in very colorful clothes.

We started our trip with over 20 hours of flying, where we met up with most of the family in Amsterdam about half way through. It was heartwarming seeing everyone. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in quite some time.

 

Our last morning we took a photo of all of us, our guides and some of the camp workers.

We stayed at several locations throughout our stay, but our favorite was our first camp, where we saw an Elephant and a Cape Buffalo and heard many other animals. These were permanent tent structures with nice little porches and ample room inside with a full working bathroom. That night everyone sat by a fire, had a few beers, talked and laughed.

The first two days we spent in Tarangire National park and Lake Manyara National Park. The animals were incredible and everywhere we turned there was something to see.

Upside down tree with elephant. Of course we’d be drawn to the unique trees.

Our first Elephant sighting was very exciting. Little did we know that we’d be seeing quite a few on our entire trip. They were my favorite.

Zebra cooling off. We also saw a lot of them on the trip.

Giraffe watching us watching him. These graceful and curious creatures were fun to watch.

Newborn Empala. We were lucky to come upon this just minutes after it was born.

We saw lots of monkeys our first few days.

A very large Baboon Troupe of around 100.

Leopard cub looking for its momma.

We moved on to the Ngorongoro Crater, which was one of my favorite days. The wildlife was so abundant down in the crater and we also saw our first lions.

Cape Bufallo

Some family in the other jeep. Roofs raise up for easy viewing.

Our first lion sighting was two young males lounging.

View from the top of the Crater of a large salt lake. It was actually cold and foggy up there at the top.

View down in the bottom of the crater. The crater had grass lands and jungle to explore.

A cute Jackel seemed to pose for the camera

One of the best hippo sightings was this big guy out of the water. But we saw 100’s of them in the water.

Warthog family. So ugly they’re cute.

We then moved on to the Serengeti. On the way we stopped by a Maasai village to see how they lived and buy some of their handmade trinkets. It was amazing how welcoming they were and to see how they lived.

Large family performing for us

Inside of a school for the youngsters.

Balloons over the Serengeti

Our next lion sighting on the way to our camp was these two females in a tree.

Not to far after those two females was a large pride laying on the rocks and then another in the grass.

Our first camp site on the Serengeti. This was more like Glamping with a full bathroom. But it was a bucket shower where someone stands outside your tent while you shower and they fill a tank till you’re done. It was quite interesting. These camps have a good working staff and a chef with some wonderful food.

While on the Serengeti, we saw quite a few of the same animals. But there was one in particular that we were all wanting to see. That was the illusive Rhino. We had been lucky enough to see all the Big Five, Elephant, Leopard (cub), Cape Buffalo and Lion, but the Rhino was the only one we hadn’t. It wasn’t easy, but with some help from other guides we finally saw him or her.

Rhino in distance

We may not have seen the very large migration that you see on tv, due to them being later than normal because of all the green grass. But we did see some of it. Off in the distance there they were. At first it looked like a bunch of shrubs, but upon closer inspection with binoculars you could see them. It was amazing. We were also lucky enough to have some cross right in front of us and run down the road. That went on for about a mile with us trailing behind.

Large Wildabeast Migration

African traffic jam with Wildabeast

Our last morning before flying out was packed with driving to the Tanzania and Kenya border where we took a lot of family photos.

My sister and I reinacting playing monkey when we were kids and my brother being goofy in the background.

Our two guides Arron and Clemence posing. They were absolutely awesome and a lot of fun.

After this, on our way back to the airstrip, we were lucky enough to see our final lion pride (3 males and two females). We sat watching them nap and then slowly rise. However, just before leaving, something made a noise (possibly zebra fighting) off in the distance and they all got up and started walking towards the sound. Amazing how they all seem to come to attention at the same time.

Love this shot of her looking at us through the grass

One of the large males following her

We took our first bush plane out of the serengeti to the Killimanjaro airport. I was excited about it. Scott not so much. But we made it and can say we did it.

Now that our adventure of a lifetime is over, we’ve arrived safely home, gotten over the jetlag and spent time with our puppies, it’s time to get back to work. The trip inspired Scott to make some unusual creations like this one he’s working on.

It’s carved from a long narrow Claro Walnut log, which is already revealing some gorgeous grain. He carved out the flower shapes that curve around the log and will continue them all the way to the bottom. He will then add hash marks to the inner part of the log and Ebonize it, leaving the flower opening for me to sand. It will then stand on a stone base, making it around 4ft tall. For a little whimsy we’ll be adding some gold leaf balls that can fit in some of the flower shapes. I can’t wait till it’s done and can get photos of it posted on Instagram and Facebook. So be sure to check back in a couple of weeks.

Also in the works is the last of the very large Eucalyptus logs that we got in Phoenix. As you can see it’s still in progress, but you can see that it has very large waves and folds started on the inside. Next he’ll move to the outside, continuing the design by following the waves and folds. The last one he made was very popular and sold pretty quickly, but was a little smaller than this one. This one will be approximately 3ft diameter. These pieces along with many others will be at our upcoming shows in August, Crested Butte Arts Festival in CO and Sculpture in the Park in Loveland CO. To see our full schedule visit our website. http://www.shangrilawoodworks.com

 

 

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Like Riding A Bike

June 28, 2019

Since making the move to creating all Sculpture, it’s been over 2 years since we made any furniture and about 3 years since we made a rocker. But when a previous customer had his home burn down in the big Paradise CA fire last year, thus loosing his rocker, he asked us to make a replacement. We couldn’t say no. Since it’s been a while making any furniture, we were a little slow on the start. But like the old saying goes, “It’s like riding a bicycle”. Some things you never forget. We may have had to refer back to old notes, remind ourselves of certain things and use reading glasses for some of the work (sucks getting old), it all came out beautiful and full filing in the end. When we decided to do the rocker, we also decided to make one for ourselves. I know, can you believe we actually don’t have one of our own rockers. But after we finish it up this winter, we will finally have our own.

Both rockers are made out of the same wood, but different styles. Our clients rocker is the Maloof style we used to do and ours will be the Shangrila II rocker. The wood is Curly Cherry and Tiger Maple. A beautiful combo with lots of figure. And once the cherry ages it will turn darker and be gorgeous. Since I documented the progress for our client, you can see all the stages that go into creating an incredibly hand made rocking chair.

These two pics show the start of creating a rocker. The first one is all the runner slices and stackers cut into thin pieces to be able to bend them into a form, as shown in the second pic.

rough sanding seat and legs

Next Scott has created the seat and all the legs. They are routered and joints cut. He then carves the seat and I rough sand all those parts.

The seat and legs are glued up and he moves on to creating the arms, headrest and spindles. The headrest starts out as a normal board. He cuts it and then flips that cut to achieve the curve in the headrest and it gets glued up. The back spindles are all cut out and ready to shape and sand.

The stackers are glued onto the runners where they will get shaped into the legs once they are attached. The headrest, arms and spindles are all test fit before sanding those parts.

Here the spindles are being test fit again before they are sanded and Scott starts the shaping of the legs into the seat.

The arms are applied and shaped in and then the sanding of the upper part of the rocker is done before adding in the spindles. It’s much easier to do this few step sanding process then to do it when the whole thing is together.

The final process involves attaching the runners. First they are test fit to see where they will sit. Then they are shaped and sanded before attaching them. Once attached and allowed to set for a day, they are then shaped into the legs.

The final sanding is done, taking it to 1500 grit by hand and sanding in between each coat of finish. Several coats of hand rubbed finish is applied and it is all done and ready for the customer.

So just like “Riding a Bike”, we were able to go a few years without making a rocker and pick it right back up to create this beauty for our customer. We hope this one is around much much longer for him.

RIPPLES IN TIME

January 17, 2019

“RIPPLES IN TIME”



Carved from a very large Eucalyptus log to create this beautiful wavy bowl. Scott first used the chainsaw to rough out the waves and folds. Then he used several different grinders to finish up the design and smooth it out. He wanted to show the age of the tree by carving into the ends of the log, showing all the growth rings. He was also careful to incorporate a branch that was protruding out of the log to add to the overall uniqueness of the sculpture.





Eucalyptus is a very hard wood and takes more time to carve and sand. From start to finish this piece took about two weeks to complete. When the finish is finally applied it shows the incredible beauty of both the wood and Scott’s carving ability to bring that beauty out.

“RIPPLES IN TIME” and many other carved vessels and sculptures will be on exhibit this weekend, January 18-20 at the Carefree Fine Art and Wine Festival in Carefree AZ. If you’re in the area, stop by and see Scott and our booth and possibly take one home with you.

Amazing New Carvings

July 11, 2018

We have been busy creating new carved sculptures for our upcoming summer shows. This weekend is Art on the Rockies in Edwards (Vail) Co. Scott has really outdone himself with these new pieces. Here are just a few of those.

“STITCH OF GOLD” was carved from a Eucalyptus log and features gold jewelers wire in a crisscross pattern, stitched through the piece in a few places.

“GONDOLA” was also carved from a Eucalyptus log into this boat shaped vessel with turquoise inlay.

“STRIKE 3” is three tunnels carved into a Mesquite log with the outside textured.

“SUNRISE CANYON” is a Eucalyptus canyon shaped vessel that has slight waves carved into it and turquoise inlay.

“COSMOS” is a tunnel design carved out of Eucalyptus with Red Opal inlay, gold leafing and texturing.

“FLOURISHING” is an incredible sculpture. The wood is Alligator Juniper Burl that is approximately 700 years old. The design resembles a large flower with two small buds. It has waves and folds carved into it, along with Chrysocolla inlay. The base is black granite with carved peach alabaster.

Inside look at “FLOURISHING”

“OLD SOUL” is one of those sculptures that only comes around once. It was carved from an approximately 900 year old Alligator Juniper. The size of the burl is a rare find. Several tunnels were carved into it that join in the middle. It features waves and folds at the openings and much of the natural aspects of the burl were left in place adding to the beauty.

Carving a Masterpiece

June 30, 2018

Creating a Masterpiece such as this can be a challenge. However, some pieces turn out so beautifully you forget about all the challenges that occur during the creation process. This sculpture started out as a very large Box Elder Burl from the Ruidoso area. We dragged several of these beasts with us when we moved here to Candy Kitchen back in 2009. At the time we asked ourselves why are we lugging these all that way and what are we going to do with them. Well they sat and sat for years out in our wood pile area, till finally one day Scott decided to tackle one. It was no small feat and during the whole process we asked ourselves why we were even working with this wood. It’s very hard, has tons and tons of holes, cracks, voids and narly pointy things and the beautiful white doesn’t stay that way once the finish was applied. But as we continued to work with it and found a finish that makes the burl and grain really pop out better, we began to appreciate it more. Of course that was after it was all finished and we saw the final product that the appreciation happened. Our customers that add one of these to their art collection really appreciate them and everyone raves about how beautiful they are. They are definitely big attractions at the shows. So now that we are down to are last remaining burls of this, we are going to really miss it and wishing we could get more. Below are photos of the process of one of the biggest sculptures we have carved out of this Box Elder Burl. We hope you enjoy seeing it morph into the Masterpiece that it truly is and perhaps even want to add it to your art collection.


The start of the carving with the chainsaw

Now it’s up to the grinders to do their hard work. Or should I say Scott do the hard work.

Lastly it’s my turn to take over the sanding and finishing. Talk about going through sand paper. Between how hard it is and how all the holes and voids tear up the sand paper it takes quite some time.

And now for the grand finale. Introducing “KINGS CROWN”.
Look at this beauty all finished up.


Close up of the grain showing how incredible it is.

 

 

If you appreciate seeing the carving process of this piece, watch our video where we take “Fantasy Flight” through the whole process.  Click on YouTube link below

10 Week Adventure coming to an end

March 26, 2016

It’s almost that time. The end to a 10 week long show in sunny Scottsdale Arizona. The Arizona Fine Art Expo ends next sunday April 3rd. Soon all the artists will be tearing down their booths, packing up and heading in all different directions, to their homes. That means long goodbyes to old and new friends, till next year, when we do this adventure all over again.

During this years show, Scott was able to create some new and very interesting sculptures. Being with a wide variety of fantastic artists over a 10 week period, allows for some fun collaborations and new ideas. What we take away from being at this show, can’t be found no other place else. Scott and I have lots of plans for some new designs, new techniques and new embellishments with the sculptures. We look forward to seeing how it all works out. Although we’ll miss the friends we have made over the years while going to AZ, we’ll be glad to stay put at home for a while and create for the upcoming summer shows.

Here are just a few of the most recent pieces that have been completed at the show. Scott has really been a busy beaver.

First two photos taken by Ron Kirk

Dazzel zap

“Dazzle” is a popular design that has a wavy vase shape. It was carved from Mesquite and has turquoise inlay.

two tunnels zap

“Two Tunnels” is a tunnel sculpture carved from Alligator Juniper with turquoise inlay. This photo captures a side view looking through the tunnel to the other side.

Below Photos were taken by Rose Photography

3 Ways Thru

“Three Ways Through” was carved from Pink Alabaster stone into the three tunnels. It has Padauk wood attached to the outer rims and used for the base. The stone is fast becoming one of our favorites to carve. Just look at the outcome.

mesquite boat vessel

“Journey” is a new design we just started creating. It is made from a mesquite log, into this boat shape, with the bark carefully left in place, and has turquoise inlayed. It seems to be hovering on this stone base, making it a great table center piece.

Mini Entangled

“Mini Entangled” is a smaller version of a 6ft sculpture we made 2 years ago, standing at approximately 32″ tall. This one is much easier to bring around. It is carved from mesquite into this spiral shape with a few small tunnels. The bark was carefully left in place, which was no easy task on this one. This sculpture has a lot of motion to it.

See Thru

“See Thru” has been a popular canyon design with the hole going through it. This is the first one that has been carved from Ironwood. This piece is very dark and with the hole in the middle, is very striking.

Stars in your eye

“Stars in your Eyes” is a dainty vase shaped vessel carved from Ironwood. The large cracks allowed for Opal to be inlayed, along with multi stones such as turquoise, coral, malachite, lapis, sugalite, melon and canary. Some of them lay in a bed of Variegated Gold Leaf to make them pop. I love the contrast of the brown to the black in this wood and the multi colored stones really make it sparkle.

Creating attachments to your art

November 17, 2015

As artists we create our art not only because we love what we do, but to sell, so someone else can enjoy it. Sometimes there are those special creations that we hold near and dear and are harder to let go of. We’ve had our share of those and every once in a while we may keep one. But most of the time we have to part with a favorite piece, because someone else falls in love with it as much as we did.

The newest pieces we just completed were no exception. The finish barely had time to dry before they were out the door and gone. A visit to a new wholesale account proved that attachments can be fleeting. So those new pieces will find wonderful homes and we’ll move on to create more one of a kind sculptures for more people.

Mesquite burl tunnel

One such piece to not be around long is this Mesquite Burl Tunnel. The incredible burling of the mesquite is pretty rare and such a find. Scott carved two tunnels on either end with a large opening in the middle. This piece had such natural beauty and so many inclusions, cracks and voids, that we decided to not add any inlay. That was definitely the right choice on this piece.

Soon we head to Arizona again for the 10 week show. However, this year we will be heading back to the Arizona Fine Art Expo that we did a few years ago. An opportunity was presented to us by our good friends, painter TJ and Lori Thompson (www.thompyart.com) to split a double booth. He takes the walls and we get the floor. This gallery type setup should look incredible and allow us to really show off our sculptures. Switching back to Arizona Fine Art Expo also allows us to work a lot better, meaning we will be able to build a good inventory for next years summer shows. We look forward to this booth setup with our good friends TJ and Lori and getting reacquainted with all the other artists at Expo. Arizona Fine Art Expo starts January 22 and ends April 3rd 2016 and takes place at the NW corner of Scottsdale Rd and Jomax Rd. For more info on the show go to http://www.arizonafineartexpo.com

Here are a few more of those new pieces

Dazzel

“Dazzle” was one of the pieces just completed. It was a nice wavy vessel carved from Acacia, with the bark carefully left in place and has turquoise inlayed. It resembles mesquite in many ways with the yellow sap wood.

Ironwood Tunnel

This Tunnel vessel was carved from AZ Ironwood. A long tunnel was carved through the piece and a small bowl shape was carved on the top. Then the large cracks that filled the piece were filled with turquoise. Yes that is the natural color of that wood. It’s incredible.

turquoise stone vessel

This was just one of the smaller pieces from our new “Topper” designs. We started creating them to reach a larger audience of collectors with small to medium sized vessels. These hollowed out vessels have different features incorporated like, gold leafing, copper or bronze patina and stone inlays. The toppers vary from a stone, gem, geode, rocks and more. This one was carved from Mesquite, has turquoise inlayed and the hand made topper has a turquoise rock on it. We have fun with these pieces, adding some kind of unique artistic touch.

Flame

“FLAME”
Some of you, from Face Book, might remember this Oak Burl in the beginning stage, when we were getting your opinion on whether to load it with turquoise or just slightly add it. Well I went in between and did a fair amount of turquoise, but didn’t totally load it. I think the finished piece speaks for itself. It’s GORGEOUS.

We’ll be working on creating some very exciting sculptures in various sizes, along with a good assortment of small to medium vessels over the next two months. I’m sure time will fly by before leaving for AZ, so there are no plans to do anything, but work work work.

The Art of Creativity

June 29, 2015

CREATIVITY. Some are born with it, some work very hard to try and achieve it. Scott was blessed with a very creative mind and works hard to constantly improve his skills and keep the creativity flowing. Being creative and thinking of new designs and ideas seems to come easy for some, like Scott. That is why he enjoys carving the sculptures. He is always thinking and talking sculpture. It definitely consumes our lives. But we are glad we chose this lifestyle for a living. Not many can do it. It is definitely not easy. But nothing worthwhile in life is easy. You have to work hard for it. Mold it. Feed it. Sacrifice for it. That is what it’s like being an artist.

scott working resize

So how does Scott’s creative process start? From a LOG. He can look at a log and have an idea in mind of what that log will soon become. He very rarely sketches his ideas. He just thinks of it and starts working. He then picks up a chainsaw and sets out creating that design. When the rough process is done, he switches over to grinders. The above picture is a 6ft tall sculpture that is currently in the carving stage. It was a very large mesquite log that Scott picked up from a woodturner friend in Scottsdale. The log was so large and heavy, he had to rough carve it there, before loading it on the trailer and transporting it back home. The sculpture will have several tunnels with large wavy openings carved into it and will stand on a cement base. It will be completed in time for the Sculpture in the Park show, in Loveland CO, August 8-9. It is sure to be a real spectacular piece.

Vision resize

Even though some artists are born with the creative bug, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to work hard for it from time to time. It does take practice, patience and discipline to keep those creative juices going. That is why we have so many logs on hand, that range in the type of wood and size. Sometimes the design jumps out at you like when Scott saw the Ironwood log that would soon become “Vision” (Pictured above), he knew instantly what he wanted to do with it. He carved down the branches that were coming out to create tunnels and carefully incorporated the yellow sap wood to make it wrap around the tunnels. It turned out spectacular. But there are other times when he can stare at a log and not have any idea what he wants to do with it. So it sits till one day that vision finally forms. And we have quite a few of those waiting logs. Yet other times he has an idea in mind and sets out hunting for that perfect log to create that idea.

SS_20150324_53_e

“NESTLED” above is one of those, “I have an idea, let me find the right logs”. It consisted of several pieces that are specially carved to nestle into each other. The main pieces are made from mesquite. Then there is a small juniper and ironwood piece that snuggle in small openings. Multi stones were inlayed to add a lot of color and two gold leaf balls add some whimsy. Scott has plans to do several of these out of different woods and in various sizes. He also wants to do wall sculptures that are similar in design. We are always striving to improve and stay one step ahead.

So being creative does take work and constant practice to perfect your skills. Even if you are born with the creative bug. It can also be very satisfying and rewarding and we wouldn’t trade the life for anything.

Carving Alabaster

July 3, 2014

Image

The Alabaster Stone in large 90# blocks, ready for something creative to take place and reveal the beauty within.

Recently we started carving Alabaster stone. We’ve been wanting to try it out for some time.  Although it can be carved and sanded with the same tools, it has proven to be more challenging and quite a bit messier. Just like “Pig Pen” from the Peanuts cartoon, a white cloud follows us when we work with it. Scott has found that he unfortunately can’t use the chainsaw on it, due to the aggressive nature of it because the stone will break apart much easier. So it takes longer to use the grinders to carve intricate designs. And due to the hairline cracks that may exist in the stone, he has to be careful during the carving process or the whole piece will just crack wide open. We are enjoying the new medium and the different element it allows us to show. Scott’s creative juices can really flow and grow carving the stone.

Image

The color variations in the Alabaster is incredible. The above bowl was made from the Pink Alabaster and has Ebony wood on the rim. This was one of the first pieces Scott carved. He created some curves and gentle waves to bring out the beautiful colors. The Ebony wood rim adds an incredible contrast between the colors.

grey alabaster vessel

This piece was one of the most recent created. It is a Grey Alabaster. The stone was odd shaped, so this canyon shape was created. The grey stone has a different array of colors going through, like, green, tan, white and grey.

purple heart and alabaster

This was also carved from a small piece of the Grey Alabaster and has Purple Heart on the rim.

three ways through

This beauty was carved from a large block of the Red Alabaster and has Bubinga wood attached to the tunnel openings and used for the base. Three tunnels were carved out of the stone creating this incredible sculpture. The red of the Bubinga shows off all the red tones in the stones. You have to see this piece in person to really appreciate how beautiful it is.

Year of Big Orders

December 22, 2013

This year has been a year for bigger orders for us. After arriving home from our 3 month adventure at Celebration of Fine Art in April, we took off on an order for 12 Greek God chairs and 2 Shangrila II rockers. All were made from gorgeous black walnut. This order went to a beautiful new home in Midland TX. Here are some magazine quality photos the customer sent of all the chairs around their two tables and one of the rockers. We feel honored to have our chairs in this Texas sized home that is so lovingly decorated by its owners Matt and Kristina.

johnson chairs

This shot shows all 12 chairs around their two round tables. I love those gorgeous doors in the background.

johnson chair

This is a photo of a single Greek God chair out of walnut

johnson chair set

This photo looks like it came straight out of a magazine with a great shot of the entire room with the chairs in the background

johnson rocker

Here is one of the rockers downstairs. I love the rug underneath and the backdrop of the stairs.

solomon at johnson house

This is their great dane Solomon, looking so handsome with the chairs behind him. I just had to include this photo.

Our last big order of the year was a bedroom ensemble that went to Breckenridge CO. Breckenridge is our favorite CO town with all its quaintness and beauty. The ensemble consisted of a king size bed with night stands, two bent wood rockers with an end table, a low back chair and to be delivered in the spring is a custom desk. Everything was a combination of black walnut and tiger maple. It was such a striking combo and sure to be a stand out in this mountain home. Even though we had our challenges while working on this order, between getting sick and the very cold weather slowing us down, it went out the door last week and made it to CO in time for their Christmas family gathering. Here are some pictures that the designer, Cindy Gray of Interiors by Design in Breckenridge sent us.

bennett bed complete

This is the King Size bed out of black walnut with the tiger maple on the inset. The two nightstands are on either side of the bed out of the same wood.

bennett bed and nightstand

Here is a side shot

bennett rockers

The two bent wood rockers and the little end table sit facing the fireplace. Such a cozy setting.

bennett low back chair

This is where the desk will go with the low back chair.

bennett rocker and end table

Here is a nice shot of a rocker with the bed in the background

Now we can get down to getting ready to leave for three months in AZ to exhibit at Celebration of Fine Art. There is lots to do in such a short amount of time. But we’re looking forward to going, seeing old friends and customers and being in a warm climate. We’ll see how our two baby boys do out of their home setting. They should make lots of new two and four legged friends. The show starts on January 11th and goes till March 23rd. We plan to have many outstanding furniture and sculpture pieces at the show; along with creating many new sculpture pieces while we’re there. So if you can make it to the show, stop by and say hi and see what we have available. I will also be posting on our blog and facebook throughout the show, if you want to keep up on what we’re creating.